Question from the Field: Fresh Perspectives on Dealing with Paralysis by Analysis?

I received this question during a webinar and was not able to get to it during the call. Here is the answer now.

Colleen, any  fresh perspectives on dealing with customer’s paralysis by analysis?

You bet I do!

First remember that paralysis by analysis is the seller’s problem, not the buyers. Why do I say this?

  1. Decision makers decide. Influences analyze. If you are suffering from “paralysis by analysis chances are you are not talking to the real buyer. Time to re-assess your process. Find the person who will make the decision and talk to them.
  2. Often sellers fixate on these stalled clients because they have no one else in their pipeline. If you have a healthy pipeline of 3-4X what you need to succeed, you can let this prospect go and focus on others who are serious about buying. Or, focus on prospects where you have the right relationships with the real buyers.
  3. Creating urgency where there is none, is impossible. Be upfront and ask the prospect what is holding them back. If there is no urgency, put a follow up plan in place and turn your attention to a real prospect who wants to buy now. (see #2)
  4. Offer an incentive with a deadline. Incentives don’t have to be discounts but they must be something of value specific to that prospect. An additional training session, a seat on your advisory council, reduced maintenance payments… Just make sure the incentive has a firm deadline that you absolutely stick to. If the incentive does not create a compelling reason to act, perhaps this prospect was never really serious. It could be that they just can’t say no.
  5. Speaking of which…..paralysis by analysis might be a “no” in disguise. Some prospects hate to say no and prefer instead to delay, stall, hem and haw because they feel bad about rejecting you. Test whether this is true by taking the deal off the table.  Try:

 Mr. Prospect thanks for taking the time to review our proposal. I have enjoyed getting to know your business. While I think we can help you (X)  I get the sense that you are not ready to move forward now and I certainly don’t want to become a follow up pest! How about we stop the process and let our proposal expire and when you are ready to reengage you can give me shout?

This question creates action. It will either:

  • cause the prospect to act right away – serious buyers will not want the offer taken away from them or
  • cause the prospect to agree with you and walk away.

Either way you win. You either have a new customer, or you win back your time to focus on someone else.