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Your customers are making lousy decisions

right-decision“As anyone who has ever seen groupthink in action knows, any number of otherwise intelligent people can come to agree on nonsense.”

According to the above quoted recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “…¬†almost three-quarters of companies have no formal corporate-wide approach to making major, complex decisions.” In other words…

Your customers are making lousy decisions.

In yet other words, most decision-makers have gotten as much training in making decisions as you in your role as sales manager have gotten in managing a sales team –¬† Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah.

So there’s an opportunity here to differentiate – to increase the value of doing business with you.

Chevron, for example, tweaked a major project. By eliminating the sexy, high tech aspects, they realized 50% of the original expected value of the project at 25% of the cost. (Stop and think about that for a minute… They doubled the Return/Cost ratio!)

Would a sales pro become a hero with an account by doubling the Return/Cost ratio for a customer? Of course. Is it easy to learn, and then teach a customer decision team Decision Quality/Decision Analysis?” No! It’s hard. Realy hard. And it takes time. Lots of it.

That’s why nobody but you and your team will get the competitive advantage from doing it.

Think through these basic “must haves” of good decision-making:

  • An appropriate frame, including a clear understanding of the problem and what needs to be achieved.
  • Creative, doable alternatives from which to choose the one likely to achieve the most of what you want.
  • Meaningful information that is reliable, unbiased, and reflects all relevant uncertainties and intangibles.
  • Clarity about desired outcomes, including acceptable tradeoffs.
  • Solid reasoning and sound logic that includes considerations of uncertainty and insight at the appropriate level of complexity.
  • Commitment to action by all stakeholders necessary to achieve effective action.

Read about and study decision-making. Start with a web search for Decision Quality (DQ) and Decision Analysis (DA). There’s a ton of stuff out there. Initiate discussions with customer executives about your fascination with DQ & DA. Build credibility. Sell more!

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