Deals lost due to indecision can tank your win rate. Whether the customer was concerned about price, a competitor had a better offer, or they got cold feet, it’s a significant loss for your organization.
Using insights from the JOLT Effect, learn how to use a playbook of sales behaviors to help you overcome buyer indecision and get deals done. These behaviors will easily fit on top of your current sales methodologies and practices.
Judging the Level of Indecision
In a world where most deals are stuck in the “no decision” category, high-performing salespeople must know how to turn customer indecision into positive decisions. Unfortunately, profoundly entrenched business advice tells salespeople to double down on their efforts to convince customers they’re missing out on a massive opportunity by not buying now. But this approach increases buyer indecision and hurts win rates.
It is not surprising since indecisiveness is linked to higher levels of neuroticism (which is characterized by feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and general negativity). It’s also been related to procrastination and avoidance behavior. Indecision is also associated with slower and less accurate information searches. In one study, indecisive people took longer to find the correct answer and looked at fewer information cells in an eye-tracking experiment.
While a bit of indecision can help us weigh options and make good choices, too much can be detrimental. For example, it can take too long to decide which menu option to order or what to cook for dinner, and in the process, you may miss out on a delicious meal or a great deal. In other cases, if you spend too much time thinking about something, you might miss out on something else, like a new job or a house.
Offering a Recommendation
The JOLT Effect is a practical playbook for closing the gap between customer intent and action. It incorporates four key sales strategies (judging the level of indecision, offering a recommendation, limiting exploration, and taking risks off the table). Using these tactics, salespeople can ensure customers have everything they need to move forward, overcome buyer indecision, and ultimately close more deals.
High-performing salespeople are adept at identifying and addressing their prospects’ concerns before they become insurmountable obstacles. They also understand that buyers have varying levels of comfort with ambiguity and provide guidance that matches their needs. Moreover, they avoid overwhelming their prospects with too many options. They also offer a safety net by addressing unstated objections, managing uncertainty about the future, and setting realistic ROI projections early on.
They also help their customers decide by highlighting the negative consequences of inaction, such as lost opportunities and revenue. Furthermore, they use tools that allay outcome uncertainty, including money-back guarantees, try-before-you-buy offers, and flexible payment terms. Lastly, they suggest that their new customers start small to determine how much they value the service and then proactively add on services as needed. This approach helps avoid sticker shock and keeps the conversation focused on delivering real impact. This approach is efficient when used with transactional sales.
Limiting the Exploration
If a buyer feels that the decision process will take too long, it may seem like the best option is to do nothing. That is why salespeople must focus on narrowing the choices and limiting the exploration. The best way to do this is to offer a recommendation. It will signal to the customer that you believe one of the options is better than another and will help them overcome the JOLT effect.
When dealing with customers who are reluctant to make a decision, it is helpful for salespeople to highlight the advantages of changing to a new solution. For example, a customer worried about the cost of switching can be reassured by pointing out that they will save money in the long run.
It allowed us to identify the impact of a prior on decision-making and differences between directed and random exploration, measured as increases across the horizon in selecting the more uncertain option and in behavioral variability.
Taking Risk Off the Table
The best salespeople know that the most significant source of lost opportunities is the prospect’s response to a decision process: “I need to think it over.” To help them overcome this, they give prospects a vision of a better future and a reason to move forward.
A common mistake that average salespeople make is to oversell the ROI of their solution in the early stages of a sale. It is based on the belief that buyers exhibit maximizer tendencies and will not resist such high-end projections. However, research shows this isn’t true and can backfire by lowering win rates. Instead, a much more effective strategy is to take risk off the table by not mentioning any such projections or, at most, only referring to the possibility that a solution will be successful.
By embracing the JOLT playbook, salespeople can minimize risk exposure and nurture customer trust to increase win rates and long-term business outcomes. Recruiting salespeople who can execute these behaviors is critical to building a top-performing team that can effectively tackle buyer indecision and propel customer relationships to the next level. Look for candidates with resilience, a strong work ethic, and the ability to engage customers with storytelling abilities that leave a lasting impression.