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How to Combat Indecision

how to combat indecision

According to Matt Dixon’s research, 56% of customers are indecisive about changing the status quo for three reasons:

  • They don’t know what to buy. They’re worried that they might choose poorly and make an irreversible decision.
  • They don’t have enough information and want to do more homework.
  • The customer doesn’t feel like they are assured success.

Some customers struggle with multiple pieces of indecision. “I don’t know what to pick” or “I haven’t done enough homework” come up earlier in the sales cycle.

Salespeople love doing demos. They love showing off the bells and whistles. But at some point, the customer has to pick something and move forward.

The fear that someone might be held back and not get what they’re paying for rears its head late in the game. The customer has to jump off a cliff without a safety net. How do they have the assurance that it will work out? So how do we combat indecision? 

How to combat indecision

Convincing the customer that there is a positive ROI to the solution is difficult. You have to show them that their pain can be eliminated. You have to solve a business problem that they have or bring to light an opportunity. It’s less about the rational agreement and more about the self-efficacy that it’s actually achievable.

The worst thing you can do is lead with gaudy ROI projections. It might feel good to talk up your best ROIs (3–4x). But if the reality is that they’re likely to see a 2x return, it’ll be easier to sell. And if you can get the 3x, you’ll look like a hero, and they’ll want to upgrade, etc. Over-selling expectations put too much pressure on you.

Secondly, what can you incorporate to make the purchase less risky? What can be a safety net? It could be anything from opt-out clauses and prorated refunds to more nuanced things like creative contract structuring, executive sponsorship, layers of professional services, or a roadmap to success. Share how you’ll achieve value together.

Put your money where your mouth is

Should more sales teams promise success? Money-back guarantees, opt-out clauses, and prorated refunds are more common in simple purchases. If you’re selling a complex solution, you invest a lot of time in proof of concept. It doesn’t make sense to do an opt-out clause. However, sometimes there’s no better way to instill confidence than offering an opt-out clause.

Matt interviewed a company about the biggest deal they sold. It was a large manufacturer about to close a five-year five-business unit deal and roll out the solution. They got to the 11th hour. Over coffee, the incoming CEO announced that she couldn’t sign the agreement. She wanted a guarantee.

The problem was that they were convinced that the platform would deliver value in four of their business units. But the fifth business unit faced unique data challenges that would lead to integration issues. The fifth business unit was also the cash cow of the entire enterprise. The CEO said that if she signed the contract and it didn’t go well, she wouldn’t be around to see the contract play out.

So Matt’s contact offered a different solution: To sign the same five-year contract for four of the five business units. The fifth business would operate on a one-year cancelable for a convenience term. If they got through the year and liked what they saw, they would re-up for the rest of the term. As a show of good faith, they’d give them the same discount level and not penalize them.

So they rewrote the agreement. Then, they proceeded to knock it out of the park. The CEO was convinced, and three months into the contract, they trued the contracts up. There was no real loss. It was a contracting structure that allowed the CEO an out.

Listen to episode #369 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast to learn more about overcoming indecision in outside-the-box ways.