I asked some of the guys at work the other day how they go about buying clothes. Not surprisingly ease was one of their top criteria – and because they are looking for ease they tend to buy the same brand time and time again. Why? Because they know they will find the style they like, the quality they want and that the clothes will fit their body and budget. And it is not just the guys in my office who buy this way – all of us are more likely to throw familiar things into the trolley when dashing round the supermarket than experiment with new products and brands – a case of deciding between beef or chicken rather than adding ostrich and venison into the mix. This is because the act of choosing new products and brands takes time and effort mainly to avoid making the wrong decision (how do you cook ostrich? Will the family like it?). Therefore it is easier to go for what we know. It removes the responsibility of making a decision.
This fear of making a decision espeically when you are asking them to do something different can greatly affect sales targets in many types of businesses and I don’t know a sales person out there who has not suffered from losing a deal to ‘no decision’ or sticking with the incumbent supplier. If a prospect can survive without your product or service however compelling your proposition is they will do so unless you take away the pain involved in the decision making process.
Couple of things to keep in mind – do not scare off any potential customers with a marketing message that overloads them with too much information upfront. All you will be doing is warning them that the decision to buy is going to be complicated. And during the sale concentrate on the roadblocks that will stop them from buying by working with them through the process - then as soon as a reason not to buy raises its head you can deal with it immediately and move on. If you concentrate on you, your products and services rather than concentrating on the prospect and their needs and concerns it is easy to miss the signs of a ‘no decision’. Don’t let them walk away without making a decision to buy.