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Do you suffer from decision paralysis?

Nancy Roblewsky

Do you suffer from decision paralysis?

Over the years, I’ve talked with hundreds of business owners and the single biggest thing I’ve encountered with the majority of them is the topic of this week’s post:  decision paralysis.  The ability to not make a decision in a timely fashion is costing business owners money and damaging their business but they don’t see it this way.  

No decision IS harmful

Not being able to make a decision is hurting their business and depending on their current situation, it could be costing them hundreds or thousands of dollars.  By not giving a yes or no, they are keeping things the same and that means whatever problem they have (which was significant enough for them to seek out a solution for) is still there.

It’s not going away and might even be getting worse as time goes by.  Maybe, if they were to add up all the potential sales they are losing, it might spur them into making a decision faster.  The problem is that we’re talking about potential sales and there’s no way to put a definitive number on that.  The worse part is the number is probably much higher than what you (or they) might guess.

No decision is a decision

They are so afraid of making the wrong decision so they make no decision at all and this is a decision.  They have decided their business is not important enough to set aside some time to properly analyze the situation and see if the product or service will benefit their business and fix their problem.

They have chosen not to make this a priority and have declared they have better things to do with their time.  Now, I believe they make this choice unconsciously and it’s their fear of making the wrong decision that ultimately drives them to do nothing.

How do you handle indecision with potential customers?

All business owners should step back and look at the situation like a potential customer from their own business.  As a salesperson, what would they say to a potential customer once they have presented a solution to them?

For example, a person is having furnace problems and you have recommended they install a new gas furnace rather than fix their current furnace.  When that person starts making excuses and stalling, what would you say to them to complete the sale?

Help them do the math

If you are a good salesman, you would probably point out that while they are spending more money now to install a new furnace, they will save money every month as it is more efficient than their current furnace.  You would also probably do the math and tell them HOW much money they would be saving over the course of a year, 5 years, etc.

Setting a deadline can be helpful

I truly believe the longer they wait to make a decision, the more stressed a business owner becomes.  As with anything, the first step is to recognize you have a problem.  Once you know you have a problem making decisions, come up with a way to make the process better and easier for you.

For example, set a deadline for yourself.  Give yourself a reasonable amount of time and promise yourself you will have said yes or no by the deadline.  Make it official by putting it in your schedule or calendar so you can’t forget it.

Sometimes it helps to tell other people about your deadline as they can help hold you accountable.  Of course, you need to be serious about it and not let yourself off the hook.

Do you have all the information to make a decision?

Make sure you understand the service or product and if you have questions, make sure the salesperson answers them.  If they use industry jargon, insist they explain in terms you understand.

Not having the right information will make the process harder for you and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.  Once you have your information, then you should check your budget to see if this is affordable though that is something you should have already done.

Our solution to the problem

In our business, we help business owners make a decision by giving discounts on our pricing that is only good for a limited time.  It motivates them to WANT to make a decision as they like to save money.

It’s helpful as they know what’s at stake and if they are truly interested in our services, they make it a priority. I look at it this way-we are helping the business owners by giving them a great reason to say either yes or no.

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Published: December 19, 2017 • Last Updated: March 12, 2020