I don’t enjoy shopping and it’s all my mom’s fault. It felt like every weekend was another shopping adventure. Saturday mornings while my sister and I did our chores, she surfed the flyers for sales, coupons, etc. The driving to multiple stores, wandering up and down the aisles, comparing prices, features and benefits was mind numbing to me. Only to end up back at one of the first stores to get the thing she had to have.
And Christmas and back to school shopping? Don’t even get me started.
Last week a sales person, let’s call her Jessie, asked me for career advice. It was a very long exchange, and reminded me of what it was like shopping with my mom. (Don't get me wrong, I love my mom and I love helping sales people.)
Jessie had been a BDR for 3.5 years, 2.5 of those at a different company and the rest at her current company. And doing well too, she hit quota 9 months straight, even beating quota by 246% one month. She creates content, mentors her own team, and takes her craft seriously. But there was no upward mobility for her at the small company.
So she started looking to see what else where else that upward mobility might be. And she got an offer at a growing company who is looking to hire someone who can be promoted in 8 months.
But then she, like my mom when she went shopping, had a hard time deciding whether or not to take the position. It’s a longer commute, new customers and products to learn about, different tools or lack of (like LinkedIn Navigator) and having to use 1 screen instead of 3 at their desk to name a few, there is a lot at stake here...
How you buy is how you sell.
When I shared with Jessie the logic behind how you buy, or make decisions, is how you sell, she said "Yes, that's me!" According to research from the Objective Management Group of over a million sales people across all industries, if you buy like my mom it makes you empathetic to procrastinators, price shoppers, comparison shoppers, researchers and price objectors who stop and start, stall, put off, outright lie, make excuses, need to extend trials, etc... Whatever the reason given, you will agree with it and spend a lot of wasted time following up. Yet the business is still lost or delayed extensively.
But why? Why do we have such a hard time making decisions? New research from Duke University suggests that a lack of “intellectual humility”,or the fear of being wrong paralyzes us. What if we make the wrong choice? Those who are willing to be proven wrong are willing to accept other views and perspectives and make changes. Own, embrace, share and learn from your mistakes.
4 Techniques to improve your decision making
1- Get clear on what you really want. Eliminate the distractions of multiple options. Jessie was fearing the wrong choice. And so she starting making her pro/con list that included the commute, the 3 computer screens she won’t have...then she had to talk to me, and I am sure several other people for advice, further delaying the decision. My advice to her (more than once) was to ask; Is the challenge and mobility really what you want? If so then none of the other stuff matters. Buy another screen for yourself and a LinkedIn Navigator account. If it does matter that much, then maybe that’s not really what you want. Nothing grows inside a comfort zone. Don’t worry, no one makes perfect decisions all the time.
2- Decide what you need to decide before you research. As one client recently said to us; “Price is just the cost of admission to get what I want.” When faced with too many choices and options, our brain freezes. It’s the difference between an 8 page menu at Cracker Barrel and a 1 page menu at a bed and breakfast. Limit yourself to a few criteria when making a decision.
3- Start small. For example, the next time you go out for dinner, challenge yourself to choose in less than 2 minutes. When you shop for a major purchase, limit yourself to 3 options to choose from and set a deadline. Does that make you anxious? Ask yourself, on a scale of 0-death, what is the worst that can really happen?
4- Practice self awareness and mindfulness. In a 2013 study from Central Michigan University, researchers found that 15-minutes of mindfulness meditation can helped people make smarter choices by counteracting deep-rooted tendencies. The brief period of mindfulness allowed people to consider the information available in the present moment, which led them to make better decisions that led to postitive outcomes in the future.
Are you trying to decide how to develop and master your sales craft? Having a hard time deciding or don't know what to ask? Check out our eGuide: Is sales coaching right for you?