A while back I spoke with a young salesman named Ted who lamented that he got too many think-it-overs and most of those vanished into thin air right after his best presentation. In our discussion, I learned that Ted was recently engaged. It took him two months to pick out the ring; he went to six stores and negotiated the price over three visits to the final store. When Ted’s prospect says, “Looks great, I just need to get a few more quotes and give this all some thought,” what do you think happens? Right – Ted thinks, or even says, “That makes sense to me, that’s what I would do too.” Ted gets stuck and does not move his prospect towards a decision. Ultimately he gets that free lifetime subscription to his prospect’s voicemail.
If your prospects are having trouble making buying decisions the problem might be you – salespeople tend to tolerate their own buying behaviors from their prospects. In recent columns we looked at learning from failure, managing risk, and overcoming procrastination – all from the perspective of improving our own decision making processes. Here are some benefits of effective decision making:
- Increase in self-esteem. Whether you are right or wrong, you’ll feel better just by taking ownership in a decision.
- Development of decision tree mentality. You learn that decision making is a process, not a single event. You make a decision, evaluate, and then make the next decision.
- Breaking of paralysis and inhibitions. Procrastination results in no changes, status quo, and paralysis. Making decisions to leads to action and moves you forward.
- You own yourself. When you make a decision, you own more of yourself; you are taking charge of your life. Also, you will learn that there are few bad decisions.
Let’s analyze decision making and discuss the process of making the best and most effective decisions. Here are some things to consider:
- Understand the BIG PICTURE. Be very clear about what it is you want to accomplish in the long run, but don’t go at it with tunnel vision.
- Set goals and recognize the need to risk. If you have written goals, you are part of your own plan. Otherwise, you are part of somebody else’s plan – your choice.
- Develop a Plan; Evaluate the Risks; Let it sink in. If you set goals and take some risk, you will experience some fear. Own the fears but don’t cave in to them. Rather, ask yourself if the risk is acceptable using the worst case scenario; if not, this is the time to turn back. Otherwise, move ahead and commit totally.
- Act Decisively. If you have worked the process out correctly – ACT. GO; MOVE: GET THE JOB DONE. This is the true key to motivation: Get moving, get the momentum and you gain power. Too many people sit around waiting to be motivated – as if some chemical reaction will take place and get them magically started. The only thing that can motivate you is you.
- Have the courage to fail. You will probably fail in some part of your plan. Don’t blame others. If you really own your decisions; you’ll own the successes and failures that they bring.
Remember that it is almost always the decision maker that makes the decision work or not work – not the choice. You can make decisions – better decisions – and you can make them work. If you are not feeling “up to it,” no amount of concentration or wishful thinking will make your dreams come true. Things in motion tend to stay that way and things at rest do too. When you stop spending so much time THINKING IT OVER, and start making decisions, your prospects will too.