Your Clients Have Decision Fatigue, You Caused It and It's Killing Sales

People want enough information and few inviting options, not endless emails and irrelevant choices.

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By Jason Forrest

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Prisoners up for parole have the highest likelihood of being released based on one surprising factor. It has nothing to do with the potential parolee's ethnicity, behavior, length of sentence or severity of crime. It has nothing to do with the prisoner at all and everything to do with the time of day they appear before the board. The phenomenon, explained in detail in this "New York Times" article shows that early in the day, people have an easier time making decisions, while later in the day, they delay them due to what's known as decision fatigue. That means parolees with the earliest appointments are most likely to find their way to freedom.

Here's the kicker savvy salespeople must recognize: information overload is making potential buyers tired and possibly delaying their purchase or commitment.

Related: Not Good at Sales? Here Are 5 Easy Ways to Get More Clients.

To take pressure off potential customers:

1. Step away from the eblasts.

It feels so helpful and supportive to send loads of relevant information to potential buyers. But without a clear, intentional strategy, it can be more like throwing a strand of spaghetti against the wall in the hopes that just the right listing will land at just the right time. The last thing your buyers want -- the last thing any of us want --is One More Email.


There is a big unless here. A well-developed and strategized campaign, customized for each recipient can make sure that spaghetti strand lands more often and unsubscribe rates stay low. Plan your campaigns ahead of time and test your strategies. So at least until your strategy is clear and you have systems in place to test results, step away from the eblasts.

2. Sell freedom first.

What buyers want more than anything else is a better life. That may be packaged in a new home, a robotic vacuum that gives them more time, or a shorter to-do list. Customers may ask for certain things, but what they want more than any of the stuff they're asking for, is just to be done with it. So instead of getting them more to do items (or cluttering their inbox, as above), always aim to clear their inbox and take something off of their plates. Take pressure off by being an adviser.

Related: 7 Ways to Close More Sales

To whatever extent possible in your field, learn every detail of what a buyer wants and personally present only the most appropriate solutions. That way, buyers don't feel burdened or overwhelmed by choices. Like the parole board who is tired and procrastinates because they don't want to risk sending the wrong person back into society, buyers will procrastinate too.

3. Remove obstacles.

Apple has made it remarkably easy to spend loads of money at their stores. You can walk out with a $2,500 computer in under eight minutes. I know this because I've done it. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Nordstrom Rack. I made it through the mountains of clothes and after spending way too long trying everything on, I even found a whole shopping cart I was ready to buy. But then the line. Dear God, the line. It was just so long and I couldn't handle it. I was no longer willing to endure all the hoops they were making me go through to give them my money. I abandoned my overloaded cart and they lost what could have been a $2,000 sale. If they had taken a simple lesson from Apple or even Chick-Fil-A, they would've had two to three clerks with square readers walking down the line and checking everyone out in 10 minutes. They made it too hard for me. People work to make money so they can buy things to improve their lives. The last thing they want to do is work to spend money.

Related: 3 Insanely Easy Ways to Double Your Sales

Details lead to decision fatigue and decision fatigue kills sales. Don't give buyers another item on their to-do list or another email in their inbox. Instead, take on the role of an adviser and take everything you possibly can off potential customers' plates. Cut through the decision fatigue and make it easy, easy, easy for buyers to buy.

Jason Forrest

Author, Speaker, Coach

Jason Forrest is CEO at FPG, a national sales training company. He is an award-winning executive, the author of seven books, and the creator of cutting-edge sales and leadership training programs.

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