Why do customers decide not to do something? How can you overcome customer indecision? How do you move someone past “maybe” and “I’ll think about it” to saying “no,” or—even better—saying “yes?”
Matt Dixon and his team studied 2.5 million recorded sales conversations. They found that 40–60% of all opportunities are lost to no decision. And these are opportunities where the customer goes through the entire sales process, which can take weeks, months, or sometimes years. Why does this happen?
Matt shares his research on the matter—and what you can do to overcome indecision—in this episode of Negotiations Ninja. Check it out!
Outline of This Episode
- [1:40] Learn more about Matt Dixon
- [2:47] Why is indecision part of the equation?
- [7:45] The two root causes of no-decision losses
- [11:50] Don’t ignore the status quo but…
- [13:07] When indecision rears its ugly head
- [15:49] How to combat indecision
- [19:25] Put your money where your mouth is
- [24:16] The JOLT method to overcome indecision
Why is indecision part of the equation?
Most salespeople engage their customers in their status quo. Maybe they use a competitor’s product or a homegrown solution. Maybe they even use your product, but you want them to upgrade. The first step is to get them to agree to take the next step and embrace the vision. The last step is to buy something.
But the no man’s land between stated intent and taking action is where good deals go to die. After the customer says they want to move forward and begin the process, many start to get cold feet. Salespeople have been taught that people get cold feet when:
- You haven’t convinced them that what they do today is costing them
- You haven’t demonstrated that your solution is a compelling alternative
- You haven’t shown them that the change is worth it
Salespeople tend to paint a rosy picture and try to re-convince the customer of how life will be if they buy their solution. If that doesn’t work, they play on fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The goal is to scare the customer into action by convincing them of the cost of their inaction.
Matt identified that almost 75% of salespeople revert to these tactics. But 84% of the time, this approach backfires. They make it more likely that the customer will do nothing. Why?
The two root causes of no-decision losses
Indecision losses have two root causes. The first is that you haven’t beaten the customer’s status quo. They prefer what they do today and don’t think your solution is a compelling enough alternative. But that’s only 44% of the no-decision losses.
56% of the customers are indecisive about changing the status quo for three key reasons:
- They might be convinced to move forward, but they don’t know what version of your platform to buy. They’re worried that they might choose the wrong thing, and it becomes irreversible.
- They don’t have enough information. They feel like they haven’t done their homework and aren’t far enough down the learning curve yet.
- The customer feels like they know what to pick and they have done enough homework, but they still don’t feel like they have an assurance of success.
When it’s a big decision, they sweat the fact that there isn’t a safety net. If things go poorly, the person who authorized the purchase is the first to go. These three things drive indecision.
When you treat every indecisive customer like a nail and beat them with a “status quo” hammer, it will make things worse, not better. They’re scared about taking action. How do we help them become more comfortable with making a decision?
Don’t ignore the status quo
The status quo is a powerful enemy in sales. Salespeople lose to the status quo all the time. It has a powerful grip on the customer’s mind. Customers don’t want to change if they don’t have to. It always comes with a cost.
You need a playbook to beat the status quo and overcome indecision. But the two are not the same. Overcoming indecision is about dialing down the fear of purchasing. So what does that look like? Listen to the whole episode to find out.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Matt Dixon
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