I have been thinking a lot about the decision-making process lately. From the moment we wake until our heads hit the pillow we make hundreds of decisions daily.
Some are simple, easy and personal – how many times to hit the snooze button before getting up, what to wear when we get up, what to eat for breakfast. Some are moderate and influence others – which way to go to work, how should you prioritize your daily list, how will you handle your commitments. And some can be very complex and affect many, requiring a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons, building strategies around potential outcomes, and even possibly affecting what the physics “Chaos Theory” calls the ”the butterfly effect."
In Retail, we have all heard location, location, location is the key to decision-buying success, and there are many strategies designed to decide where to place a business. Starbucks prefers to build shops near each other so they compete and then one cannibalizes the other. In most other sales and particularly B2B, I would argue that, “timing, timing, timing, is another mantra we should preach. Timing is truly the factor that gets sidelined too often but is so extremely critical to making a decision.
In business, the challenge and opportunity is to prime the pump or get the buyer ready to buy. The key to timing is nurturing the buyer through the buying continuum, allowing you to capitalize on the decision and tipping point by owning the moment of the sale. The buying continuum looks something like this.
So here is an explanation:
- (Status Quo) The starting point where we sit until something is brought to our attention.
- (Awareness) Now we are aware, we categorize its importance (Priority) and then do a little ad hoc evaluation (Research).
- Once we have determined the importance, we move into the consideration phase, weighing the pros (Options) and cons (Objections). Finally, we make a choice (Decision) based on what we’ve learned. Whether we buy or not, we justify the decision in the end.
And here is a real example: (Status Quo) I am walking down the street and suddenly see a Sushi Boat Restaurant (Awareness). My stomach growls (Priority), I check my watch, look in my wallet and go in and sit down (Research). The little fish go around in the moat and I look for the tuna and check its freshness (Options, Objections). I see a nice piece and eat it up.
So along this path to decision, the goal is to understand the timing by actively affecting the critical checkpoints along the way. If you can do this well, then you can influence the direction one takes at the fork in the road…or the chopstick.
What are key checkpoints for you in the decision making process?