Dec 01, 2016

How Procrastination Affects Your Sales – 2

This is the last in a three-part series on “Procrastination”. See There is No Such Thing as Procrastination and How Procrastination Affects Your Sales

In this post I’m focusing on: How You’re Causing Your Prospects to Procrastinate
Now, that might be an odd thing to say because, who would cause their prospects to delay in making a decision? If you read the prior two posts on “Procrastination”, you already know people don’t really procrastinate. Their subconscious mind is weighing out how much energy is going to be used for the options with which it has been presented. The more energy that your mind will be required to expend on a particular option, the less likely you will unconsciously be willing to act on it. The more complex the issue is, the more data that must be processed, the more new information being brought into the picture, the less likely a prospect will act on what is being presented and will choose a less energy-robbing activity. Here are some examples:


Most salespeople either are taught, or have somehow come to believe, that more is better when it comes to options. They believe that if they have enough options available that there will be at least one that will match their buyer’s needs and wants. The truth is, when too many options are presented your buyer will choose the option of “I need to think about it”. As a salesperson, you may think the buyer is stalling or they don’t have enough information. So, what do you do? You talk faster and give them even more information, thinking this will help. It doesn’t. It creates what is called a Paradoxical Reaction, meaning, it creates a reaction the opposite of what you intend. Just think of when you shop on websites like Amazon and Alibaba. You search an item and several hundred, maybe even several thousand, options display. You have page after page to search through, even after filtering by price, ratings, etc. So, you either close your eyes and point at an item to purchase it, or you decide to “think about it”. This is how your prospects can be feeling; overwhelmed with information and choices.

Before I get into how to minimize and avoid creating opportunities for your potential customer to delay making a decision, I want to address two of the major industries in which I’ve helped salespeople be successful; Financial Services and Real Estate. These two industries have similar challenges. Within each option they can offer their clients, the options have options to choose from. In Financial Services, when a customer is offered a type of investment or insurance, there are multiple choices to make within each type. In Real Estate, each home has a plethora of pros and cons, based on the likes and dislikes of the buyer(s). In both industries, it is imperative to narrow the options down as quickly as can be accomplished and still fulfill the needs of the customer. In most industries, I tell salespeople to narrow the options down to three. In Financial Services and Real Estate, I recommend getting the options down to two, if possible. The reason is what I shared earlier, within these two options there will be many other options to choose.

So, how do you minimize, or eliminate, your potential client from delaying making a decision? As I’ve just stated, it’s by minimizing their choices. When a salesperson takes the time to fully understand the wants, needs, goals, and values of their customers, the time spent upfront doing so will pay huge dividends by allowing the salesperson to recommend the right products or services for their customer to choose from. So, rather than having a huge number of options to narrow down, the salesperson has just a few, which means they can get the options down to the last 2 – 3 rather quickly and precisely. Then, because the customer has conserved their mental, physical, and emotional energy up to this point, they still have a reserve to expend on making the final decision.

Too Much Information

Because of the very nature of the position, sales attracts people who usually like to engage others in conversation and relationships. They like to be the center of attention and perceived as the “expert”. This can be a good thing. It becomes a negative when the salesperson lets those things become more important than the customer and their needs. You see, being the “expert” to many people means being able to spout off all the great things about their product/service, their company’s history, their own background, the success stories of current customers, etc. Don’t get me wrong, these are necessary to some degree. And, the way to determine if the right degree of sharing of information has been exceeded is to observe the customer’s body language and demeanor. If your prospect’s eyes gloss over, if they begin to yawn, if they are looking at their watch or the clock, if they point their legs toward the door, these and other behaviors are signals that they want to get away from you. You’ve exhausted their mental energy, their emotional energy is transitioning from positive to negative, and their physical energy is waning. I would be willing to bet money that a prospect displaying these signs will not only delay in making a decision, they won’t buy from you…ever. It’s like the old saying, “(People) may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel. (Carl W. Buehner)

So, be observant of your prospect’s behaviors and body language. You don’t have to get into a deep study on those topics, you just have to care enough about them to pay attention. We all have an intuition that sets off alarms when we’ve lost the attention of the person with whom we’re speaking.

Set your ego aside. It may make you feel good to be the “expert” and espouse a wealth of information and tell story after story, but, what do you want? A big ego? Or, a big bank account?

If you have any questions about procrastination, or other topics on Leadership and Sales, please contact me.

Change you thoughts. Change your life…quickly!

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+++++++++++++++About Dr. Edward Lewellen++++++++++++++++++++

Dr. Edward Lewellen an expert in creating methodologies for people to learn to use their mind; their beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors, and put them back in control of their lives and become top-producers. He is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.

Author of The 90-Second Mind Manager