5 Customer Service Responses for Long Lead Times (Video)

Shawn Casemore • No Comment
Posted: April 17, 2023

Exciting news! Your client has said to you, “yeah, let’s get going”. There’s only one problem: They want to start right now.

Let’s talk about customer service responses (for long lead times).

If your client says, yeah, I’m ready to go right now. How do you respond?

(0:40)
Now let’s get into it.

All right, so your client has said, let’s get started right now, but you’re panicking, at least inside. (Hopefully you don’t show the client or customer you’re panicking.)

But here’s the thing. What if you’ve got a product that you sell that has a long lead time? Maybe it’s eight weeks, maybe it’s six months, and they want to get that product or that piece of equipment here now.

Or maybe you’re selling a service that involves coordinating all sorts of other people, which can take weeks and yet again, the client wants to start right now. How do you respond to this objection?

customer service responses for long lead timesI’m going to give you five different ways to canned responses. You choose which makes the most sense in response to their situation, but here’s the key:

You do not want to divert to saying, “Well, I’d love to get started now, however…” OR, “You know, we can’t get started because we have such a long lead time.” That is not where you want to go.


There’s energy, there’s enthusiasm. We want to run with that and keep that high so that we can keep this deal moving ahead.

So let’s jump in to tip number one.

Customer Service Responses That Keep Momentum Going

Customer Service Response #1: Ask Questions

(1:37)
Again, this works whether you’re selling a product or a service, but you can get started right now and here’s an example of what you can say.

You can say something like, “I’d be happy to get started. I just have a few questions as part of our onboarding process. If you have a few minutes now we can jump right into them.”

If you’re panicking thinking, I don’t have any questions, Sean, that’s okay.

Come up with some typical questions:
When a new client is brought on board, what are the typical things that you need to learn about them?

  • Maybe it’s a formal company address. 
  • Maybe it’s the people who will be involved in this, this project. 
  • Maybe it’s key contact points, 
  • Maybe it’s payment terms, 
  • Maybe it’s financing. 

Depending on what you’re selling, there’s always some information that naturally tends to flow once you ink the deal.

So simply have some questions ready to address that.

Of course, if you ask the questions and they don’t have an answer immediately, that’s okay. You’ve begun the process of moving this forward so it addresses the client’s concern about wanting to start right now.

Let’s jump into tip number two because there’s another way you can approach this.

Response #2: Arrange a Conversation

(2:36)
Tip number two, maybe questions based on what you’re selling don’t make sense, or maybe you don’t believe that there’s enough there to make your client feel comfortable that you’re actually moving things forward.

keep the momentum goingAgain, think about the typical steps that happen when a new customer or new client comes on board. Oftentimes they’ll have to speak with someone to discuss how things are going to progress and to allow that internal department or person in your company to ask them some questions. 

All you need to do is identify who those people or that person is, and when the client says that they’re ready to go right now, you can say, “Great! The first step we typically take is to have you speak with our (fill-in-the-blank).”

This could be production manager, finance, you name it. So you insert their department and their name and you say, “I’d like to introduce you and get the first call set up. Do you have your calendar available? Gimme some dates and times. I can coordinate that today.”

So again, we’re showing a client or a customer that we’re moving things forward by taking them on the first step. That’s the underlying message.
I want you to understand that in most cases, our clients or our customers really just want to see some momentum. They don’t necessarily expect you to deliver at that very moment unless you’re selling something that’s really simple.

So if you can demonstrate by your actions, your behaviors, and the language you use that hey, we’re now moving ahead, that will often satisfy that need.

Let’s keep going with the tips on what to do when your client says, “Let’s get started right now”.

Customer Service Response #3: Confirm Delivery Details

(4:17)
Okay, these first couple
customer service responses examples are really focused around maybe more of a service or some kind of process that doesn’t require you shipping a product immediately.

So let’s talk about you’re selling a piece of equipment, something that has a six month lead time and your client says, “This is great, I want to get started right now.” Here’s a canned response you can use: 

You can say, “That’s great! The first step, believe it or not, is to really identify the shipping method you’d like to use and a few key questions around shipping so we can coordinate this. As you might imagine, this is a large piece of whatever it is, piece of equipment, press, you name it. So we’ve got to make sure we have all this ready to go for when we deliver.

If I can ask you a few questions, we can make sure we get this all set up so we’re ready to ship. Will that work for you?”

So again, notice we’re creating momentum, we’re responding to the client or the customer’s request to get things moving right now.

Let’s jump into response number four.

Response #4: Provide Interim Options

respond with a loaner(5:14)
Now let’s say in that last example, you are delivering a piece of equipment or it could be something that’s mobile, it could be something that’s a, a tool, a machine they’ll have in the shop floor. And again, they’re looking for this right now. Maybe you’ve tried some of these examples, but your customers come back or your clients come back and say, “No, no, no, I want it delivered right now.”

Okay, well you can’t probably deliver it at that very moment and if they’re not accepting of you creating some momentum, you need to have in your back pocket some options that you can get them started right now. What does that look like?

  • I’ve got a client, for example, that sells equipment to their customers and they found there was always a demand to have the equipment faster than they can build it. So one of my clients started creating inventory, which I know is a no-no, but as long as sales keeps the demand going, having a piece of equipment in inventory makes a lot of sense. I have a client that does that.
  • I have another client, totally separate industry, but again, is selling a big piece of equipment that they ended up taking a used piece of equipment from an existing customer, they gave them a trade-in value, they refurbished that and they offer that as a loaner.

So again, if their customer is saying, “I want to get started right now. I need this right now.” They’ve got this loaner that they can say, “Well, we won’t have your piece of equipment ready for six months. However, we have a loaner we can install next week. Let’s talk about how to get that coordinated.” 

If your response that suggests momentum is not working, what you can do is work internally to have something set up that you can provide your customer right now.

And I would say the most difficult situation for you is if you are providing a piece of equipment, something that has an extremely long lead time, how do you satisfy the need right now?

While I’ve given you two examples and I’m sure if you start showing this demand that you’re having internally, you’ll get a lot of buy-in to making these small investments to put these together.

Now with that said, I’ve got one more tip I want to share with you, this is number five.

Customer Service Response #5: Be Prepared to Provide What the Customer Needs

arrange a meeting(7:09)
The last couple tips I shared, or really, if you’ve got a piece of equipment or something with a long lead time, kind of a physical item that you have to deliver, let’s go back and talk about one more tip.

If you have a service, and again, similar to point number four, let’s say that your, your discussion, you’re having, your suggestions on creating some momentum for your client are not working.

They’re saying, “No, no, no, I want some people.” (Let’s assume it’s a serviceman.) “I want some people on site tomorrow.” How do you get that going if that’s not really possible?

Well, take a look internally at your process. If you’re selling something that requires people, resources that need to be available, can you have one person connect with them remotely for a brief call later in the afternoon?

All we need to do here, especially in a services environment, is show our client that we’re moving things forward. And if your language and your suggestion on initial steps isn’t working, then you need to be prepared to bring a person, maybe even remotely for a quick meeting.

It can be as simple as a 20 minute virtual call where they ask a few questions of the client and that will satisfy the client’s need to know things are moving along.

If you are in sales having a proven method by which you can get to the point where your client saying, ”Let’s get started right now.”

I mean, let’s be honest, this is not the worst problem in the world to have, especially if you’ve been in sales for a while! Sometimes it’s getting attention is a challenge.

Alright, I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips.

One last resource for you: If you’ve been in sales for any period of time, introducing changes to how you’re doing things such as what we’ve talked about today can be a challenge. It’s for that reason, I created what I call the 30-Day Sales Action Planner.

You can grab your copy through the link for no charge. It’s my gift to you as a way to try and help you plan and introduce changes that will help you be more effective.

So make sure you click that link and grab your copy right away.

Prepare Your Customer Service Responses

What I’d like you to do next is give some thought to how you can use these strategies we’ve talked about and be more influential with your conversations.

Let’s be honest, this objection that we’ve talked about could derail your entire deal. We want to make sure we’re influential in our customer service responses and how we speak to our prospects to make sure that any objections such as this one or others don’t stop the deal from moving ahead.

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© Shawn Casemore 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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