Jill Konrath


Jill's Jottings: Fresh Sales Strategies 

Get More Free Sales Resources

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

[Video] For Faster Decisions, Be a Decision Guide


Are you involved in a complex sale with multiple decision makers? If so, they probably don't make decisions too often with regards to what you sell. When you're dealing with today's crazy-busy prospects, the decision itself can be overwhelming.

They may not have all the right people involved. They may not fully understand everything that has to be taken into consideration. They might not know how to differentiate from the competitors. They may not understand how to put together a business case to justify the decision. They may not include all the right info in an RFP.

But you know all this stuff. That's why it's important for you to stop selling and focus on helping facilitate the decision process itself. Find out what's prevented them from solving the problem before. Or, you could share a road map that outlines the steps that people need to go through to make a decision -- and who needs to be involved. And, if you notice things that they're missing, have a frank conversation about it. Tell them know how your other customer dealt with the decision.

Don't push your product or service. Instead, help. I mean it. This about helping your customers make the best possible decision for their business. If this is your intent, they'll feel it. When you're a decision guide, people trust you and will want to work with you. It's that simple.decision guide

Question: How do you help your prospects through the decision making process? Share with us!

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.


Jill - As always, great insight. 
We follow your counsel and first put ourselves in the buyers shoes. Following a tip from Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) we take one hour and outline every question a buyer would need to make a decision. We break them into three groups (Critical, Important, Less Important) and work to make sure we first have content/information that answers the critical questions. That could be our own or from a third party. That "map" is there for all the sales people to use so they can quickly and easily share the relevant content.
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 6:15 AM by Cliff Pollan
Yes. Control the process and not the buyer! If there is an interest, I use a "Sequence of Events." This is a mutually developed list of items that both parties need to come to a decision. It has go-no-go steps along the way. The process begins by asking the prospect, "What steps do you think you would have to take in order to make a decision? Would your legal group need to see the contract? Would you need to see a demo? Talk to other of our clients? These go into a simple table with dates and we work off the process with ether party having the ability to stop or withdraw. It helps the client and the sales person stay focused. The results: A CEO of a $3B company signs a $300K deal in sixty seconds after seeing the SOE. His comment. You've been thorough and I'm glad to see everyone on my team has weighed in.
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:05 AM by Lee Stocking
It's common practice in my industry for vendors to bid one project at a time. It occurred to me that I might be of better service to the client, and my company, if I explained RFP's to them because they lots of projects. I suggested that I submit an outline to my client of an RFP that she could provide her top vendors and see for herself what her annual savings might be with a cloud-based, integrated purchasing system. My client was floored at the potential savings. Because I was there at the beginning, and there with a detailed, fully customized system, and because my prices were attractive, my company secured a significant contract that's been renewed year after year. Think BIG! when you customer calls you in to bid a job. How can you provide greater savings, greater value, and secure more business in the process?
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:00 PM by Bill
As a sales leader of the #1 team in Canada i am only there today because all of my reps are true consultants. We separate ourselves miles above our competitors because we do not pitch or sell. We help and we become invaluable to their decision making process making them feel at ease to award us the business and let us handle the transition. SNAP selling taught my team alot and they have all become expert strategizers.
Posted @ Friday, September 21, 2012 2:49 PM by Jason
I love all your additional insights:  
@cliff: great idea re: listing all the questions your buyers make at each step of the decision process -- and then prioritizing. 
@lee: excellent idea re: keep the decision process moving along.  
@bill: thanks for sharing the example -- and fun to hear about the outcome 
@jason: congrats on your great year. It's a testament to your coaching as well as your long-term focus. I'm glad to hear SNAP Selling was a part of it!
Posted @ Sunday, September 23, 2012 11:57 AM by Jill Konrath
Spot on as always. I think this comes naturally for women! I couldn't "sell" any other way - it would be disingenuous to do so.
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 7:35 AM by Mary Elizabeth
Absolutely loved this segment, as it speaks to the very crux of convictions and commitments. If you earnestly help customers learn/understand and make decisions that are best for them... they will find a reason to do business with you. A good Salesperson doesn't sell, they help!
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 7:50 AM by Kelly
Good video post. 
One of the thing I try to find out during discovery is not only issues they know and don't know but do they have sufficient knowledge to think about the insight I am going to discuss. 
It is no use bringing an insight to a customer if they can't thunk it for whatever reason. What they do is shut down and either reject it or send you to someone (which is a polite 'no').  
So quick decision is all about getting the customer to think about his problem the way you do. This is tough and what's make a salesman great at his job.
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 7:51 AM by Jay
Sales Training?
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 11:11 AM by Tim
Hi Jill, enjoyed the video, helping the buyer to buy is something teams over here in Europe are working on.  
However our research shows B2B buyers are typically weary of salespeople that want to help them. Not sure if that is something you have seen? That helping role is only seems to be conferred on a minority of b2b sales professionals.  
Have a good evening.  
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 11:49 AM by John O' Gorman
Wondering if could you help the decision making process with a Ben Franklin technique?    
Draw a line down the center of a page. In the left hand column help your prospect list ALL of the positive reasons why they should move forward and make a positive decision. Then let them struggle with the right hand side, all of the reasons they shouldn't move forward.    
Even though I've never tried this in practice, could you work with your sponsor and pre-print that left hand positive side, distribute it to the key influencers or other decision makers with the right hand side left blank.    
And ask them to fill in all of the reasons why not to move forward.  By the end of the Ben Franklin exercise you should have accomplished 2 things.    
#1. Have everyone's objections on paper (perhaps better than trying to read minds and agendas) and   
#2. A physical list of all the positives on the left hand side of the page that looks way more impressive than the few things they come up with as negatives.    
But then, what do I know? LOL   Ben Franklin might work very well to move the process along, because you have done all of the work and directed all of the positive things to influence the decision, and in many cases most would not take the time to list all of the negatives to overwhelm the positives.   
It's kind of a mental game. Bigger left hand column outweighs smaller right hand column.  You be the judge, it's probably worth a try.    
PS Feel free to use either the right hand column or left hand column for the positives, it's a free country. LOL But let me know if this might work Jill. Okay?   
Right … Good … Best … Easy … Needed … Solution … Priority   
We'll  handle all of the details for you. This agreement requires two quarts of you blood and your firstborn child.   
Authorize here ________________.   
PSS Note to Jill: Always enjoy your videos and insights! You're the best!
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 4:10 PM by Ron Schmidt
Hi Jill,Thank you for your email,enjoyed video and books,I love you and your insight。 
Fashion has become my passion,if possible,I will love to design for you,Please visit my website:www,mccarthyfashion.com,and give me some advice,However,hope the McCarthy's brand to meet with the buyers and dealers and public. 
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 9:52 PM by weihua
Hi Jill,Thank you for your email,enjoyed video and books,I love you and your insight。 
Fashion has become my passion,if possible,I will love to design for you,Please visit my website:www,mccarthyfashion.com,and give me some advice,However,hope the McCarthy's brand to meet with the buyers and dealers and public. 
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 9:56 PM by weihua
Thank you Jill on this reminder to focus on Buyer Facilitation. This is particularly important in my complex B2B sales. You are a trusted advisor and I have always enjoyed the work you do and the smart timely advice you provide. Much appreciated! 
PS. I found Sharon Drew Morgan's Buyer Facilitation as an addition in depth resource to extend on this business development theme. 
Posted @ Saturday, September 29, 2012 11:01 AM by Dick W.
Post Comment
Website (optional)

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics