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How You Might Be Unintentionally Obstructing Your Prospects from Deciding

In business development, it's crucial to understand not just what drives prospects to make decisions but also what might unintentionally hinder their decision-making process. Often, sales professionals and subject matter experts engaging with prospects may unknowingly create cognitive barriers that impede prospects from moving forward. In this blog, we'll delve into the brain science behind these obstacles and how to overcome them to facilitate favorable decision-making.

1. Too Much Information

One common mistake is bombarding prospects with too much information. While it's essential to provide relevant details, an overload of data and intel can lead to decision fatigue. In fact, it doesn't make you look smart but rather unfocused. The brain has a limited capacity for processing information, and when overwhelmed, prospects may default to disengaging / ghosting, delaying decisions, going with an "easier" option, or opting for "no change", aka the status quo.

2. The Curse of Knowledge

The "Curse of Knowledge," where the seller's or SME's deep understanding of the domain, product, or service leads to assuming that the prospect's level of understanding matches theirs, can be a significant barrier. When prospects don't fully understand how your offering addresses their specific needs or how your expertise solves their problems, they are less likely to make a decision in your favor.

The brain craves clarity, familiarity, and relevance. Not connecting to these three dots will lead to indecision or even rejection.

3. Complex Processes To Appear "Thorough" or "Sophisticated"

Complexity in your buying or implementation processes can create cognitive load for prospects. When decisions feel overly complicated or require too much effort (mental or otherwise) to navigate, prospects may opt for simpler alternatives or delay making a decision altogether.

For instance, asking prospects to go through pages of dense reading material in between sales interactions can overwhelm them and thus delay your calls. Simplifying and streamlining the ways in which your prospects learn about your offerings can significantly reduce cognitive load, making decisions more manageable and appealing to executive-level buyers.

4. Putting the Onus on Them To Not Seem "Pushy"

Putting the burden on prospects, such as expecting them to figure out the value proposition, "sell" internally on your behalf, or jumping through hoops to confirm interest, can hinder decision-making. If prospects feel overwhelmed or that their status might be at risk by engaging with you, they are less likely to proceed with you.

Overcoming Unintentional Obstacles

To mitigate these unintentional obstacles and facilitate better decision-making for prospects, consider the following strategies:

  • 1) Streamline and prioritize information

  • 2) Gauge your prospect's level of understanding, then tailor your communication to match their reality.

  • 3) Use relatable examples and analogies to simplify complex concepts and ensure clarity and relevance.

  • 4) Provide clear, step-by-step guidance on how prospects can evaluate your offerings and make decisions.

  • 5) Limit the options and choices you present to the most relevant ones to minimize cognitive load and decision fatigue.

By understanding the brain science behind decision-making and addressing these unintentional obstacles, you can create a more conducive environment for prospects to make informed and confident decisions that will be mutually beneficial.


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