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Flat-Headed Squirrels

Sales Consulting AustinWhat happens when a squirrel runs into the middle of the street and can’t decide whether to turn right or left?  You guessed it!  Such is life for indecisive squirrels.  It’s the same for indecisive sales professionals.

Decisiveness, according to Webster’s, is the power or quality of deciding. This is such an enormous quality for top revenue producers, that the lack of decisiveness alone can be the factor in deciding against a candidate for a position or for deciding not to engage a candidate or company in coaching and training.  Why?  Look back at the definition, and the word “quality”.

The quality of a person’s decision making is crucial to success in sales.  The lack of strong decision making for the salesperson comes from:

  • Fear of being wrong
  • Over-analysis (aka Analysis Paralysis)
  • Fear of upsetting the status quo
  • Fear of change
  • Poor self image
  • Belief that others know more than we do

This results in:

  • Poor negotiation skills
  • Poor conflict resolution
  • Little to no ability to implement changes
  • Difficulty adapting to new situations
  • Inability to move a prospect through their own decision about whether or not to buy from us.

Let’s focus on the last issue.  Great salespeople don’t just  have the ability to make their own decisions well.  They also know how to help the prospect make a good decision.  This goes far beyond a few standard sales questions such as “Who is the decision maker?” and “How does your company make decisions like this?”  It means a sales person has the strength to move a prospect (who may have a flawed decision making process) to a conclusion in a timely manner.  Any of us who have sold for any length of time knows the old adage “Time Kills Deals”.  This is 100% true.

When a salesperson has under-developed, very protracted decision making, he/she will let the prospect get away with murder.  Murder of a sales process is accomplished with the following weapons:

  • “I need to do more research, and I will let you know”
  • “I need to run this by a few people.  Why don’t you call me next week?”
  • “I know you’ve redone the proposal once already, but could you re-do it again and change ___________?”
  • “I need more time.”
  • “What happens if_______________?”
  • “I’ve got to check with my wife, husband, lawyer, banker, accountant, podiatrist, family dog, grandma, etc …………..”.  (You get the idea!)
  • “Let me think it over.”  (This is the big gun.)

Ah yes, the BIG gun! — Perfectly vague, innocuous and 100% effective against sales people with Poor Decision Making.  Why do these excuses and stalls work so well?  Because, for sales people afflicted with PDM, they all make sense!  It’s because this is EXACTLY what they do with small and large decisions in their own lives.  It is therefore IMPOSSIBLE for sufferers of PDM to hold prospects accountable to timely decisions.

And since we’ve already established that time kills deals, timing is everything! In the end, a lack of a decision is a decision. — Ask any flat-headed squirrel!

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