Let Me Think About It

Description:  Let me think about it.   For retail salespeople, these are the worst five words in the English language.  Negotiators will also find them extremely powerful.

Reluctant customers have been using this phrase forever.  In prehistoric times, some Cro-magnon gatherer probably told his hunter counterpart, “So you want me to hand over this entire basket of  delicious berries that took me four hours to collect in the hot sun for that one scrawny rabbit?  Hmmm.  Thog have to think about it.”  The reaction you get may not be much friendlier.  “Let me think about it” is the passive aggressive version of a nuclear bomb.  It destroys everything but is very hard to defend against.   What is your aggressive counterparty going to say?  “No – don’t think about it.  I want you give me an impulsive, unconsidered response right now.”

Let Me Think is a powerful stalling technique — provided you can back it up.  If you can return to your HQ without a signed contract, then this is appropriate. But if he calls YOUR bluff and lets you walk away without modifying his offer, then you may be back to Best Alternatives.

Intent:  It sounds like a delaying tactic, but it’s usually considered to be a NO. The purpose is to pressure him to improve his offer, but it’s pretty strong medicine. Don’t use this one unless you plan on walking away — especially if he has a unique asset that won’t be available after he disposes of it (to someone else).

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