Decision Fatigue – Took A While To Decide About This Post

So I looked at the menu and chose the turkey with quince jelly – well it is nearing Xmas. Hmm list of starters – oh well won’t bother – that will save thinking about it.  My chum arrived later and stared at the menu. The waitress came. He was still staring.  Then he decided he wanted a starter … oh no, I better have one too. Here’s the pub by the way.. (or rather the sign).

hare-and-houndsStill he hadn’t chosen. Grr.  What is going on and why is this really important for 21stC BizDev?

This guy is an important figure in his world with a unique way of healing folks who the system keeps saying are ok but who nevertheless suffering multiple undiagnosed symptoms. He wears other hats such as qigong teacher, father, husband and many more.

Is he indecisive? No.

Am I indecisive.  Ermm (desperately resisting the temptation to say “I am not sure” ;-)). No.

Wikipedia has some good points on decision fatigue. Judges make worse decisions later in the day. Or safer ones before lunch (bad news if you are up for parole). Shoppers lose willpower after going round the whole supermarket which is why sweet things are near checkout – we have used up all our willpower resisting buying things already.

Most challenging of all for BizDev is that when those circuits of the brain that make decisions are all hot and fried the status quo – the doing nothing looms large. Research by Iyengar and Lepper

“found that people who had more choices were often less willing to decide to buy anything at all, and their subsequent satisfaction was lower when they had been confronted with 24 or 30 options than when they faced six options”; which “suggest[s] that choice, to the extent that it requires greater decision-making among options, can become burdensome and ultimately counterproductive.”

I could have told them that from seeing how we chose so slowly (or in my case tried to avoid chosing) in a pub 🙂  Interestingly this research was from 2000 … since when – especially perhaps post social-media looming large – I can only imagine that the “six options has been reduced”.  After all this menu had about six starters and six main courses.

The antidote to this – perhaps the common theme of 21stC BizDev – has to be KISS – keep it simple stupid.  Don’t make one hundred page presentations.  Don’t offer zillions of options. Don’t give a dozen reasons why this is the right one for them.

Has decision fatigue affected any of your sales pitches recently? Has an apparent “no brainer” for a client got put to one side in their obvious state of overwhelm?

Do you KISS?  A BizDev chain that goes from a clear product with a clear benefit, a clear marketing message arousing interest and then a clear agreed reason it fits them based on hearing them out first?


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