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How Buyers Decide - a lot like how you decided on book reports in high school!

The similarities to how buyers decide which projects to pursue is stunning!

· sales,decision science,neuroscience

It's an interesting question, right? From the hundred books you could choose from, how did you decide?

It's an analogy Zendesk Sell rep Tommy Tushaus shared with me a few weeks ago. In the business world, buyers frequently face an oddly similar choice. Every company has at least a hundred things they could fix or improve at any given moment, but only have the bandwidth to focus on a small percentage at any given time.

How do they decide? While you might think they simply look for the largest ROI or the biggest impact projects, turns out that’s a very small part of their inherent prioritization. It's a poignant example of how we make decisions based on feelings, not logic, and how we’ve got to think waaaaay beyond our ROI calculators and case studies.

Thinking back to high school, when asked to choose from a list of books from which to write, I remember my process. I would go down the list of potential books to choose from, and try to predict which one is going to result in the shortest, least painful path to the highest grade / recognition.

I would do my research. I wouldn’t just read the inside flap / back cover. I’d research beyond the claims of the author. Which one is the shortest? Which one has Cliff’s Notes already written? Which one will I have enough interest in to be able to put together a compelling report that my teacher will score highly?

Given our understanding of how the decision-making brain works, I'm confident most of you took the same path.

So, thinking about the list of problems a buyer could potentially solve for at any given moment, they are likely thinking the same way. Which problem can I solve via the easiest path to the highest reward and recognition?

Do you think about your solutions that way in terms of how you’re positioning to your potential buyers? While you might think buyers simply look for the largest ROI / biggest impact projects, they don’t! They're not simply using your ROI calculators and perfect, 5-star reviews.

It's a balancing act for the buying brain. How can I achieve the greatest result (recognition and rewards - bonus, promotion) for the lowest investment (time, effort, resources, budget)? Which has the lowest risk of being an abject failure?

It's time to rethink your positioning with this empathetic lense in mind: Buyers are looking to prioritize the value of their time - just like we did in high school!

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