The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 months ago

227. Keys to Overcoming Customer Indecision w/ Matt Dixon


“While the customer’s preference for the status quo is, no doubt, a significant obstacle

that every salesperson must overcome if they wish to sell anything,

there is a second, more challenging obstacle that remains even after the status quo has been defeated: the customer’s own inability to make a decision.”

That quote is pulled from the introduction to The JOLT Effect: How High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision (linked below). It's an exceptional new book co-authored by today’s guest, Matt Dixon - Founding Partner at DCM Insights.

This episode covers:

  • Where does customer indecision come from?
  • What are the causes, consequences and outcomes of customer indecision?
  • Why it’s important to focus in on customer needs
  • What is the Jolt Effect?      

More information about Matt and today’s topics:

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes, and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the Customer Experience Podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. While the customer's preference for the status quo is no doubt a significant obstacle that every salesperson must overcome if they wish to sell anything, there is a second, more challenging obstacle that remains even after the status quo has been defeated, the customer's own inability to make a decision. I pulled that quote from the introduction to The Jolt Effect, How high performers overcome customer and decision. It's an exceptional new book co authored by today's guest, so we'll definitely be toucheding on the causes, consequences, and solutions to customer and decision, among other topics. Before The Jolt Effect, he co authored The Challenger Sale, The Challenger Customer, and the Effortless Experience. He's a founding partner of DCM Insights. The Customer Understanding Lab. Matt Dixon, Welcome to the Customer Experience Podcast, Ethan. That's great to be with you. Thank you for the invitation. Yeah, congratulations on the launch of the book. I love to read, Um, thank you for making sure I got a hard copy into my hands. I really prefer to read and old school that way too. I I like the old school hard copy as well. Yeah, so we'll dive into I have a lot of questions. I'm over ambitious typically in structuring these and for folks listening, we are not going to detail the books such that you do not have to read it. In fact, we might not even get into the deep guts of it at all. Um. But I have a number of questions even around the nature of the work, how you approach it, the through lined through the other research that you've done. But we're gonna start, Matt. We're we always start, which is Customer Experience. When I see that, what does it mean to you? So I uh so, Ethan, I have the lamest um inspiration for this, and I think any of your guests has brought to the show, which is I was watching a wedding crashers with my kids and there's a line in that movie if you remember, UM, I think it was, Oh gosh it one of the one of the main characters give some a toast advice which in his advice would say something like true love is the soul's recognition of its counterpoint in another um. And I was thinking about this, and so i'm, i'm, I have recalled bias and recencly bias from this. And so I was thinking about your question, which, as I told you, is such a brilliant question, but very disarming because I spent a lot of time studying customer experience a customer sport, and nobody's ever asked me that question before. So it's it made me struggle a bit. Um. And so, but that that line from Wedding Crashers came back to me, which I was thinking about it. The customer experience, I think, is really the counterpoint to the to everything we do in our business. So everything from our our marketing, the message our brand sends, our sales experience, the sales messaging for for better or worse, everything that happens with our product, how people perceive our pricing, um, what happens after they buy a product and they need our help and then when the product needs to be replaced or it's time to think about something new, how we factor into the customers thinking at that point. And so I really think it's it's almost like this mirror reflection of every single thing we do in our business. Um, the customer experience is the reflection of that, and hopefully it's a good reflection, right, But sometimes, as you and I both know it's we get a little a little frightened by what we see in the mirror. So there's some things to go fix. So yeah, sometimes people don't even want to look. Sorry, they typically don't. I think, Yeah, I really like that. I guess the closest I've heard similar to that, I'm thinking of my conversation with Elizabeth Dixon UM, who among other things, does strategy and service design at Chick fil A and and Hers, was expressed a little bit differently, but it was that, Um, the customer experience is the outflow or the overflow or the outpouring of the customer experience or the culture that like what's going on inside is is kind of bleeds out, and that that becomes it's kind of emotional. The interaction with that bleed out becomes the emotional residents that then is manifest as the experience in in recollection or hindsight. Now I'm gonna ask for a do over on my definition, but it's it's fantastic because Um, ultimately a couple of follow ups, I guess at the at risk of not meeting my my own goals for the ground recover here. Um. You know something I've observed to is that you know, when we're doing customer experience work, all we're doing is seeking to influence the customer experience that the customer experience at actually belongs to the customer. The brand is actually defined by the customer. When we're doing branding activity, all we're doing is seeking to influence what people...

...think and feel and say about And the same thing even about employee experience. The culture belongs to the employee. Um. And when we're doing employee experience work or we're trying to build culture, all we're seeking to do is influence what people experience that they think, feel, and behave. Differently, is do you buy that? I do? Actually, and you know the other thing, your your comments just that Nathan, it made me um as reflecting back on some of our work around the effortless experience. And and even if you look at the other work we've done in sales as as part of the sales experience, which of course UH influences the customer experience as well. And I think the um one of the things that struck me for a very long time is that companies that everybody talks about being customer centric, we're putting the customer at the center. But yet things like sales or customer success or customer support or even broader c X management are just riddled with conventional wisdom and and and you know, things that have been passed on from leader to manager to frontline UM, salesperson, service representative, you know, retail store clerk, you name it, and nobody's ever stopped to question this stuff. But we all do it in the belief that the things that we do are right for the customer. But we actually never stopped to think about, well, what does the customer actually want? Where are they in this whole equation. UM, we don't bring in the data, we don't test our assumptions, we don't question these these sort of pillars of conventional wisdom them and pass on for many many years. As you know, in the effortless experience. We talked about this idea of surprising and delighting and wowing people when things go wrong, and when you test that with data, it doesn't really stand. It doesn't stand up to the test of data, and it begs these really big questions about hold on a second, what does the customer actually want when the product or service they bought from us isn't doing what they expected to do. What kind of experience do they want in it? It provides this kind of reset, and I think that's that's been a thing that's kind of rippled through all of our research has been this bringing data to there to test a lot of these things that have been passed along for generations and companies in the name of being more customer centric. But it turns out when you actually test them scientifically, they don't really stand up to that data test. Yeah, I love it. You actually addressed in number a couple of areas that I wanted to go, which is this theme of you know, busting myths and you know, counterintuitive and challenging conventional wisdom and some of these other things that have been attached to your work and perhaps even what I regard as just a shallow, superficial criticism that I'm sure you've heard, like, well, Matt Dixon has never been a salesperson. That's not what any of this is about. So I I and so I and I will be asking specifically about the research process, mostly because I was really interested and impressed by it, and I think it will is when we get there in a couple of minutes, it will validate for listeners everything you just said. So we carry all this baggage about, you know, and it's in it's best practices. It's tribal wisdom. It's this you know, um in a in a hiring content acts like we use the who method here at bomb bomb and so you know, some of their language for conventional wisdom around interviewing and selecting and hiring is like they call it voodoo, right, It's so it's it's just just been passed out. It's just how we do it, and but it has no scientific basis really good. But you know, before we go much deeper, I'd love for you to to have the opportunity and then just give us some context about d c M insights. What do you all do, who's your ideal customer? What are some of the problems that you're solving for them. Yeah, we were a little bit of a strange outfit. So we uh and I mean that in the how's that for a value proposition or brand? So we're I think of us as sort of an insight production studio. So we're not making superhero movies, but we're making business insights and so what do I mean by that? We'll talk today about The Jolt Effect, which is our newest book. UM. We started that research about two years ago. UM. We had an underwriting sponsor, a conversation intelligence company called Tether. They underwrote the whole research project. We we did the research. Tether obviously got a lot of benefits from a thought leadership and kept position, brand awareness standpoint. We sold the book to a publisher. We've now turned that into a subscription product on the back end, and we've actually taken the I P and licensed into a series of companies that do things that we don't do, like UM multi lingual sales training, verticalized sales training in different different market segments. We don't have a facilitator bench, not what we do. There's some awesome companies out there that do this work. And so we've licensed the IP to them Windlass Survey provider Primary Intelligence as a company we just announced a partnership with. So we we come up with these ideas, We cook up these ideas and then we incubate them and then we kind of deliver services, some ourselves and some through partners, and then we go on to the next idea. We actually have another idea in progress right now. We're doing a global study um sponsored by the cloud uh Cloud company in TAP. We're doing a global study of partner business development effectiveness in professional services firms. So we're talking about lawyers, accountants, investment bankers, management consultants. This is an area where there's I...

...mean, you think there's a lot of conventional wisdom in business to business sales, there's even more in professional services. And it's a place where where big firms have always struggled to figure out what makes our top rainmakers who they are. So we've launched this study called the Rainmaker Genome Project. It's a global study to understand what the best partners do differently for in a from a sales perspective, to find business win business, deepen customer relationships, create recurring revenue streams with clients, and our plan is to then turn that into content that we can then turn into a suite of services, and then we'll look for the next project. So so our customers are varied, right, So it's we're doing work on behalf of big big tech companies. Companies have unique technology, data sets or market access um, and then our customers then on the back end, if you take Jolt Effect as an example, it's heads of sales, enablement c ros, sales managers, sales people themselves. So I love it well, I can't tell you how pleased and impressed I am of your your team's ability to put a business model around this. I mean, what you're doing is so smart. I love it. Um. It's an important dynamic UM for all of the industries that you're serving in general, to have, you know, to take advantage of today's tools, to partner with the people building them in order to help us all be better. I also love the kind of the sub line on it, the customer Understanding lab um as you were seeking to try to organize language to capture this kind of breadth of your approach or or interest aias I guess, I mean, um, how did that language come to be? Yeah? You know, we I think if you look at any of our work, I think it's all rooted in a deeper understanding of what customers are looking for and and even more to the point, changes in the way that customers um engage with companies. So if you think about the one of the books we wrote years ago, the Challenger Sale, was really a story of how do the best sales people engage customers in the world where customers today have tons of information. They don't engage sales people early. They engage them late. They make up their mind about what they should be doing. They already are benchmarking you against your competitors, and they even know about how much they should pay for your solution before they ever asked for a demo or for a phone call. Like that's a very different world. And what we found is in that world, the best sales people focus less on asking the customer what's keeping you up at night, which is something they did for thirty or forty years and sales ever since Neil rackhamo it's been selling. Today's customers are today's salesperson challengers um. They are affected by bringing the thing that should be the keeping the customer up at night, bringing that new idea the customer couldn't learn on their own. So so, but again, it all starts with what's changed in the customer landscape that then necessitates a change in the way that sales people do things, or in the case of effortless experience, the way that we as c x OR or support leaders um manage and direct our teams. In the case of the John defectis we'll talk about here in a moment. The big changes is this rise in no decision and losses and and and what does that mean? And you know, as as researchers, I think we've always been you read about this in the book Ethan. We followed the lead steers, which is we you know, we didn't invent challenger, We didn't invent um effortless, we didn't invent the jolt effect. The best, the best people out there who already spotted this change in the customer environment and then adapted their approach to be more effective. In light of that, they figured out that they may have used the terms that we use. We gave language to it, and we researched it and documented it, but we didn't invent it. So it's all about sort of ethnographic research and going out and understanding what do the best companies do and effortless spears were the best sales people do? And challenger and the jolt effect and how do we distill that into a playbook that everyone can can get better from. Yeah, really good. Uh, kind of a high level question before we type into indecision dwelling in front of it for so long here, but it's just it's really interesting. It's a it's a privilege to have you here. Um. You know, when I when I think about challenging, when I think about um, jolting relative to indecision, and it's it's an acronym, folks, So we'll probably get into what that stands for. Um, what do you see as I mean, they seem like very human problems and so, you know, just just high level, give me your your thoughts or your observations around you know, humans and bots or humans and tech in general. It's obviously you've been you know, since the outset of the Industrial Revolution, and perhaps even earlier in agricultural economies, we were struggling with what are the right jobs for people, what are the right jobs for machines? How do we pair them together? To make both of them better, etcetera, etcetera. UM, you know what you're talking about is very um, these are very human issues, and we'll kind of get into them because there are a lot of psychology and behavioral economics of course through all your work, but especially I noticed in the Joel and that's just because I just recently read it, so it's top of behind. But you know, how do you how do you think about that? How are you advising people? Or you know, what kinds of fear based questions are you getting? Um?...

You know, when am I gonna when? When is my job going to be automated? Automated by a bot? Yeah? Take on, take that on however you wish. I think it's it's really interesting to look at customer services a great case example, you know, self service box AI. Machine learning is super powerful, but the effect, the net effect of it has been for companies that it's basically siphoned off all the easy issues. So customers don't typically call anymore about what their back account balances, if their flight is on time, where their packages change, their address, things like that. We can do that with technology, UM and certainly being able to pick up a lot of those manual things. There's uh those I would say routine and simple issues has been a big benefit of self service. Now. What happens then is that the stuff that people need to talk to a human being about, well, those are the more complicated issues, the ones where context matters, where there's a bit of nuance as to what's going on, and that what it's done, I think is a it's made the job of the service professional harder because you don't don't get any softball questions anymore, but what it's really done. This has allowed us to focus in on the thing that our people are best equipped to handle, those those really complex issues. Think about sales, so we'll talk about um the jolt effect here. There's a lot that customers are doing today to learn on their own. There's a lot of digital buying happening. There's a McKenzie study recently that said, I think that customers are comfortable B two B customers comfortable spending upwards of fifty to seventy five dollars without ever talking to a salesperson, which is astounding when you think about it, right, it's those are big purchases for for an organization, but customers are doing a lot on their own. But the stuff that a machine can't do is the kind of stuff we talk about or can't do yet, I should say, is the stuff we talk about in the jolt effect, this idea of overcoming in decision and actually helping our customers navigate through their fears to get to a better place. A machine, a website, you know, box apps, you know. Digital is really great at overcoming the SAS quote, beating the SAS quote, showing you the r O I, showing you proofpoints, allowing you to do a self demo, product led growth, all that good stuff like have at it. But the really hard stuff that you need, a human to human connection. What I think it does is it really digital really helps focus our people on the place where they are the the only tool in the bag to solve these problems. And so I think in some ways it it liberates us. It's not a it's not a scary thing about machines stealing our jobs. I think it liberates us as human beings to do the things that only human beings can do really well done. Uh. Two pro tips for listeners. One, create off ramps. Anywhere there's friction or failure, create off ramps to a human because whether it's the work that you've done digitally that isn't satisfying, or whether it's a unique human that isn't sufficiently satisfied by what you've done, you know, an offer ramp to you. There's so much buying this one or two human to human questions away, like like UM and and then the other one. This reminds me that the whole thing reminds me of a conversation I had with a professor named Dr Roland Rust who wrote a fantastic called The Feeling Economy where he talks about these strengths of humans and UM, the fact that we're going to continue to need this and the skill sets UH needed to be successful or changing. So let's jump into Joel. We've kind of teased up quite a bit. I just want to share with you great read, really clear message. UM. Fantastic job of setting up the primary learnings from this incredible research in the beginning, and then reinforcing them and then peeling deeper into UM causes and solutions throughout practical takeaways and things that you can do immediately. Although I don't think that that's what a book like this is about. UM. But but it's still in there. UM. Use of quotes, right, So this is based on calls, like millions of sales calls, and so great use of quotes for like, what does this actually look like? What does this actually sound like? I try to do the same thing when I'm trying to blend qualitative and quantitative data into a into a summary, is like, this is what this sounds like? Here are three examples. I really identified with that, UM and really fun to read in addition to being impactful. UM for folks listening, just give us should hop off now before that Joe available. UM, I guess let's start with UM, even before getting into the research process or the basic premise, like the key findings. What what were you seeking like when you set off, even before the research design and facilitation and all of that, and going through all the things that you found by having machines read millions of sales calls? UM, what were you seeking? Like? What was the genesis of this? What were you seeking to find? Seeking to answer, seeking to validate, or seeking to break? Yeah, a great, great question. We you know, um my co op, my, my research colleagues over the years and co authors, we've always said this, UH have always had this refrain, which is, every time we find an answer, it feels like we actually find more questions and we're just sort of the blessing and the curse of research. So, you know, and Challenger...

...was the story, as we talked about before, of customers doing their own research and buying on their own and putting in a box, enforcing a compete on price. What are the best sales people do in that world? We wrote a follow up book called The Challenger Customer, which was about you know, look, if we're going to challenge a customer with new ideas, that actually has a knock on effect, which is it makes the problem of getting not this one person excited about buying from you, but getting the whole buying committee excited and getting them on board. As we all know, buying committees are wired for lowest common denominator levels of agreement like don't do anything, stay the course, avoid risk, don't spend money especially right now. Um, And so what do you what who's the kind of person you need to sell to and how do you harness that person so they can build consensus? Um? You know the problem we've been tracking since we wrote that book, and I maybe not even since we wrote that book. But I'd say in the twenties has been this problem of no decision losses. And this is not scientific ethan, but I'd certainly spent a lot of time at presenting a sales kickoffs, national sales meetings, at at conferences for sales and marketing leaders, and I always ask, you know, what's the big what's the burning platform question? What's the thing? You know, I'm a researcher, so I'm curious to see, you know, what's what are you've experiencing out of the market. And there's been this slow and steady uptick in you know, gosh, it's yeah, we're asking marketing to drive more leads for us. But I can't help but think if there was something we could do to avoid so many no decision losses, which, by the way, we're seeing go up and up and up every single year. It's a massive productivity suck for our sales team and for our individual sellers. They spend all this time with customers, they go through the entire purchase journey, and they do nothing, and we often have no idea why they ghost us. They go radio silent, and eventually we just throw up our hands and give up and mark them as closed loss. And and I'll put forward one day to point from the research even, which is we found that anywhere between forty and six of the average salesperson's pipeline UM is lost to no decision. So that's a huge deadweight loss it It actually makes it almost irrelevant. Uh, you know, any additional leads or demand gen we get from marketing, it's like, just fix that first. That's tied the lifts all boats. Um. So that was a problem we've been tracking over time, but it wasn't until um the this is just something we'd kick around and how do we want to go about this? Should we go about this? Should we study this? But we had this kind of um strike while the iron's hot moment in March of which I don't mean to generate flashbacks for your listeners here, but that this was the days of tiger king and sour dough bread and and scraunging for toilet paper in the Grossy store and all all the good times we all remember in the lockdown environment. And because I'm a huge nerd, I was like, this is the moment, this is when we should go out and study this. So at the time, my co author and I were working at a company called Tether. I mentioned them before, machine learning conversation intelligence companies, so they take raw conversational data and then use machine learning to structure it in mind it for insights UM, and we asked for permission to go do this global sales study. We at the time we call it the sales Vaccine Project, which was inspired by the fact that scientists were gonna find a way out of the pandemic. that's broken with sales in the same amount of time. So we we went out there. Right, so now we just like the vaccine, We're gonna get people to take our advice. So we actually UM. So we went out, We partnered with several dozen companies across industry and collected two and a half million recorded sales calls, and then we used Heather's platform to analyze those at scale and specifically. Because that's amountain of data, like you could you could ask that data set almost any number of questions that the set of questions we were asking were one, Um, what is it that leads customers to make no decision? What what would possess somebody to go through an entire sales journey and then do nothing, and then to what do the best sales people do, if anything, to avoid that happening to them. So that was kind of the genesis of it. So it has an interesting kind of origin story, I think too. And this is this is as a research This may be the only time in history, perhaps that we had the opportunity to study sales in this way. I love it in a close this gap for me. Why was the pandemic that right time? It was? Is it because now all of these meetings were happening digitally and virtually, so they were being recorded and you could ingest them. Yeah, I totally skipped that point, but yeah, you're right kind yeah, but you know, you know, you're a percent right. So the there's a there's a book that is very well known in sales. We actually in the first and the prefaces, you know, to our book, we talked about this. The gold standard of sales research was always Neil Rackham's work and spin selling. Neal and his team spent a decade physically sitting in on thirty five thousand sales meetings. It was it was a large scale field ethnographic study of sales. They Neil and his team were trained psychologists, and that gave birth to the entire solutions selling it right. Companies were moving from selling products and selling solutions, and Neil Rackham's work, you know, through off then thirty or forty years of additional value from other people who added to this body of research around selling solutions and what makes it different. Um, that was always something we aspired to, but we can never get anybody to fit the bill for flying us all over...

...the world to sit in on sales calls. And I don't actually know that people would really invite us to sit in on their sales calls. But the pandemic changed all that because what happened was a hundred percent of sales conversations, not just the boring mundane like get to know each other, do a demo that everyone like, the critical negotiation calls, the consensus building calls them, the critical meetings, um, you know, the the deal, the conversations with legal and protermine. We're all happening on Zoom and teams and webeck. So these companies who participated, some of them were already recording calls and using platforms like Gong and Chorus and others to analyze them. Some of them had not been recording calls, but agreed to do it for the purposes of the research um. And so he created this, you know, again, once in a lifetime opportunity. We're you're slowly starting to see sales people go back in the field. I think companies have realized that virtual is actually pretty efficient way to sell. And you know what, our customers kind of like it too. They don't have to get dressed up, they could take the sales call from their home, not have to travel into the office. There are lots of benefits. But you're gonna see sales peop will start getting out there. And where will virtual settle. Maybe it's I don't know, sixty sevent The sale will still be on WebEx or teams or zoom. But you know, the important meetings are probably gonna start happening in the client's office again. So we may never have this opportunity to study sales in this way ever again. Potentially. Yeah, uh, thank you for that. The so we're losing a lot to indecision. I think any sales leader knows that. I think most sales professionals know that, Um, it's a little bit of a black box you go to take it on. Um, I think one of the things you observe, I'll just kind of speed us straight to where in decision comes from. Although feel free to correct me, um, because you've dedicated a lot more time to this than I have. I'm a few hours in too much time, I think. So. Um, So we have these folks who are now the sales people are saying, Okay, you know, we've gone cold, we're slowing down, they're asking more questions, etcetera. And what we tend to do even though we've gotten some interest in purchase, right, so we've overcome the status whoa you know, addressed it through fear, fear, uncertainty doubt fund is an acronymy used through the book, and what we typically do when we reach this point where customer indecision is what's really holding us up, we double down and act like it's still a status quo problem, and it's actually counterproductive and we lose even more deals by trying to solve this previously mysterious problem using tactics that solve a problem you've already solved. And so, um A, did I get that right and then be talk about um indecision. And I just really think this is an interesting thing for everyone in their own lives. And uh to the degree that there are you know, an operator, like a revenue type operator inside of organization errors of commission versus errors of omission, and then kind of feel free to roll that into the three primary errors of commission if you like. Absolutely, yeah, so you nailed it. You really that was that was very much much more sucictly put than I probably will. But here's here's what I would say, just say, kind of recap what what you said very well. Um. In sales, that the conventional wisdom has always been that when that customers starts to get cold feet, you know, because this happens a lot in sales. I thought I had you sold, but then you start kind of ghosting me. You're not showing up our zoom calls. You're not You're offering intermittent and very curt responses to my emails. And we weren't loving on each other the way we once did. Now it's like it seems like things are falling apart. Um. And in sales, the guidance past from leader to manager direp for for generations now has been the reason that happens is you didn't actually beat the customer sets quote. Either they believe what they do today is good enough. They don't believe your solution is a compelling enough alternative to what they do today, or maybe the juice isn't worth the squeeze, right, it's they have other priorities, other fish to fry. Sure it would be better, but life short, we have other priorities. It's gotta be one of those reasons. But those are all status quo based reasons. So we tell our sales people to go up and dial up the fomo right, the fear of missing out. So they do it in three different ways. We found the first one is they rearticulate the benefits of the solutions. So it's me saying, you know, Ethan, you must have missed I know you're expressing species. You must have missed how many zeros are on that r o I calculation. Let's show you that again? Or or did let me take you back into the platform. Did you see how cool this is? Like? Let me sell you again on the feeds and speeds um. Then if that doesn't work, what they usually go to next is the fund, right, that's the if that was the carrot, this is the stick. The stick is I'm gonna you know, Etheran, these problems are not going to solve themselves. Like your competitors, who we work with, by the way, are all leaving you in the dust, and your customers hate you, and your plays hit you and everybody hits you. And it's this burning platform and I'm trying to get you to get to abandoned ship and get you to realize that there is a real cost to your in action. And if that doesn't work, usually the last ditch attempt is like the disappearing carrot, which is like Ethan, did I mentioned that ten percent discount? You know, it's only good this quarter and I can't I was out of my hands, like I've only got approval to give you this prices up until the end of the quarter, or maybe there's a limited delivery window were in certain industries there's limited inventory, like we literally don't want to know when we get this product back at stop. But what we found was that doing that, um so...

...the customer has a percent probability of actually making things worse. In other words, it increases the likelihood the deal will be lost to no decision. But the real question is why. And here's what it comes down to is that there is a huge difference and we found this in the data between UM. When you break out no decision losses, it turns out there's there's two drivers of that. One is the customer actually is committed to their status quo. That's what we all believe is the only reason. Actually they prefer what they do today. They think it's good enough. They don't think our solutions are more compelling alternative. They don't think the juice is worth the squeeze. It's not worth investment at this time. UM. But it turns out there's a second driver of no decision losses, and that is indecision about changing the status quo. You peel that apart or a peel a back one more layer, because they sound kind of identical, and certainly they result in the same exact outcome, which is the customer does nothing. UM. When you look at in decision, what you find is there's three types of indecision. So the first one is that the customer doesn't know what to pick. We call this evaluation problem, and sales people are guilty of throwing lots of options, partner integrations, roadmap items, you know, bells and whistles, premium versions, basic versions, long, contract length, short, you know, you name it. We put it all from the customer. We like to let a thousand flowers bloom. But this is the customer thinking this all looks good, and when it comes from going from a concept to a proposal I actually pay for that requires saying no to something that it requires to sign what you're not going to buy. And that's the customers worried about making the wrong choice that if I go with configuration B when I should have gone with configuration A, that will be an irreversible decision and I will look bad as a result. The second source of indecision is a lack of information. So this is the customer who feels like despite the mountains of information available in every single vertical, every industry, every market around, every technology today, that they haven't consumed enough. It's the next white paper I will read or the next Gardner report that will have all the answers to all you show me all the pitfall so I become a smart buyer. And then the third one we call outcome uncertainty. This is the customer feels like they're not going to out what they're paying for. They can be left holding the bag. Not literally that you'll take your money and steal it their money and steal it, but rather that they won't realize the r O I you're projecting, or they won't fully get the benefits. And maybe it's not even you, it's them, like they can't realize these benefits, and their fear in that moment is somebody's head is going to roll if we don't get that r O and get especially right now in this environment. And it's usually the person, even in a complex B two B purchase, it's a person whose name is on the document sign right that. That's me, the buyer. If we just sum this up, I think you you put this well. The social science, the human psychology, and the behavior economics research is very clear that while we try to dial up the FOAMO, it turns out that when we do the math, the much bigger costs of cause of no decision losses is not our inability to dial up the FOAMO, it's our inability to dial down the foe move, which is the fear of messing up. So customers are okay with in. People in general are okay with missing out. They are not okay with messing up. That is what you refer to before about the errors of omission versus comission. If you looked at two identical there's a lot of famous psychic experiments and behave economics experiments done in this vein. If you look at people facing two identical losses, people love to They all want to avoid loss, as prospect theory condom in thinking fast and slow, brilliant work. Of course, we all are wired to avoid loss. But the important thing for us recognizes there's two types of loss. There's a loss that occurs from doing nothing, and there's a loss that occurs from doing something. And it turns out if the loss is identical, everyone will pick the loss associated with doing nothing. We're okay with inaction. We are not okay with taking action that is directly that leads to loss as a consequence. I think a salesperson UM who heard me present this UM just a couple of weeks ago, came up to me afterwards and said, oh my goodness, we do this all the time to our customers. We are always dangling the discount. We're always trying to create the burning platform. And I just realized, in the grand scheme of things, if the customers think about missing out in a ten percent discount or potentially losing their job, U turns out they care more about losing their job. So it's like, and this is true. Think about the current environment, right, a lot of eyes on big decisions, but even in regular times, think about just the loss of face, the fact that we've got egg on our face. We look bad. We look like a fool to our colleagues for making a bad decision. Or if you think about a consumer purchase, I look like a fool to my partner or to my family or to my friends by making a stupid purchase decision, by picking the wrong thing, not doing enough research, you know, caveat m MP tour right or um, not getting an assurance of success, and not making sure I was going to get the benefits that I expected to get when I signed on the dotted line. Like, these are personal fears that we have, and nobody in companies, nobody ever got fired for maintaining the status quo. But people do get fired for trying to change it and for having it go wrong, right, And that's that's what people want to avoid And we found in our research slightly less than that actually of losses to no decision, we're actually a function of a commitment to the sas quote. It turned out fifty six percent of the time they're they're sold, they want to move forward, they're a bandoning this as...

...quote, but they're worrying about something else. Have I picked the right thing, have I done enough homework? Have you given me any guarantee of success? And it's those things that actually cause them to not move forward and to end up in this waste land of no decision. Now, last thing I'll say you'll throw it back to you, Ethan, is think about that salesperson who goes back and just hammers the customer with the FOMO. Well, what they're really worried about is the foe move. Well, what you're doing in that moment is you're using scare tactics to sell to somebody who's already afraid. It turns out the data says a very bad sales strategy. Yeah, and I think that um messing up versus missing out. I think everyone can relate to that, And that was just obviously a key key insight that I'm sure you're getting a lot of positive feedback on It's like, I'm just doubling down on the exact thing that's holding them up. And and of course you do you quantify how counterproductive that is. So let's go to the flip side and maybe you know five IDA is six minutes or so, feel free to break down what jolt stands for if you if you want to or get into um, you know, anything else in terms of how do we identify that we're in that fifty six percent and not that forty four percent in terms of we're not over the finish line, like is it an indecision issue? Um, and that that is kind of wrapped a little bit. It's um, it's kind of wrapped in the acronym. But yeah, absolutely, yeah yeah. So so the big punchline from the study is you need you always in sales. You've got to beat the sasquote because if you don't beat the sasquote, you're not selling anything. So do that first. You know, the other books we've written, Challenger, the Challenger Customer, those are great recipes and playbooks for beating the satus quo. But every sales approach, every sales process, every sales methodology, is about being the SaaS quote. None of them deal with this problem of overcoming in decision the foe move. And so we need a second playbook and sales and that's we call that the Jolt playbooks. So Jolt is an acronym, as you said before, stands for four behaviors we identified in the data. And again, these are not things that we invented. These are things that high performing sales people kind of figured out on their own. The first one is judging the level of indecisions. That's a j Now when what we found is, and this is pretty interesting that there are very specific techniques that high performers used to get what are deeply personal fears. So think about this for a moment. Even if you went to ask all of your customers how many of you are indecisive or how many of you think of yourselves as decisive, they would all say yes, Like nobody's ever said in a sales conversation. Hey, I just want to let you know I'm a very indecisive person, Like I'm not. You know, I don't know what we're at the cheesecake factory. I can't decide what movie to rent tonight. You know, nobody says that we all think we're decisive, but it turns out that in almost the sales calls to and half million sales calls we studied, the customer had either moderate or high levels of indecision. But how do you surface it? How do you get that what is what is latent and personal and embarrassing at some level on the table. So we talked about the techniques of sales people use in the punchline. There is if you want to forecast accurately, if you want to know whether an opportunity is even worth your time, your scarce time as a salesperson, or if it's too far gone, too mired an indecision for it to be worth your time. If you want to know what playbook to execute. It all starts with pinpointing the depth, the breath, and the magnitude of the customers in decision. Um, you can't disqualify yourself out of this problem. The only customers are decisive. The rest of our indecisives. You've got to deal with it um. And so we've got to think about how do we understand not just the customers ability to buy, do they have budget? Do they see value in our solution? You know, all that all that stuff that we've told sales people to do for years, not just their ability to buy, but their ability to decide. And in understanding that requires a completely different approach. So that's the j judging the level of indecision. The OH is offering your recommendation. So as talked about this before, but remember, customers will struggle when we put more options in front of them and they say this all looks awesome. They'll struggle with what not to buy. They'll struggle with narrowing that set down into something they are actually going to sign off on. And and what most sales people do in that moment is they put it back on the customer. Well, Ethan, tell me, let's go back to why you contacted us and for what problems are you trying to solve in your business? And let's because and what my hope is by diagnosing your needs, you will figure out what you actually want to buy and I won't have to tell you. Um, that's a little bit like when you go to the restaurant, you look at twenty items and you ask the waiter or waitress what you should order, What's what's good here? And they say, well, what are you in the BOUTI which is so unhelpful, right. What we found best sales people do is is they adopt the approach of the waiter or a waitress who says, you know what, Ethan, everything we make here is great, but this is my favorite edition. If you're in the mood for something a bit lighter, I'd go with this one. But honestly, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. That that allows me to deflect some of the blame of a bad choice onto you, as the waiter or waitress. And that's actually what the best sales people do. They go from a thousand flowers to a narrow consideration set using kind of goldilocks principal techniques designed to get the customer to pick something, and they instill the confidence with the customer that this has my end worseman, I've people like you love this configuration. They... this version of our product, and I think you're gonna love it as well. So they guide the customer to a good choice and then they endorse it using a technique we call advocacy, the l limiting the exploration, so customers will do research until the cows come home. We all know that they will engage in analysis procesis. We actually found in our data that when sales people indulge customer requests beyond a certain point, it actually drives down the probability that customer will buy anything because they get wrapped around the axle and again engage in analysis proalysis. The the danger here is that when the customer asked for more, like if I say, Hathan, I'd love to do you know one more demo or one more reference caller, or do you mind sending me that other white paper? I want to wait till next month's Gardner Magic Quadrant report comes out. It sounds like the customers making progress, and the average salesperson loves it because those are buying signals right. This is because we're moving towards the decision that it's activity. It's activity that's right, and so it's so dangerous. But what best sales people know is like, I've got to get you to stop trying to be an expert and start trusting me as an expert that will who will guide you to the right decision. Doing this, I think, of all the techniques, is actually the hardest one because you can't Jedi mind trick your way to victory and say, like, you don't need to read that Gardener report. Turns out there's nothing, there's nothing of consequence in there that just trust me. Because customers don't trust sales people. That's a big problem. So we found actually pretty interesting. There are these moments of trust building that happened in the sales closet. If we get really specific, we talked about this in the book. These are moments where the salesperson says, actually, Ethan, I know you're talking about an enterprise wide rolled out, but I actually think if we rolled it out in a smaller use case and just in this business unit, that would probably be the more prudent way to go forward. I'd love to sell you a million dollar deal, don't get me wrong, but I think a hundred thousand dollar deal would be fine and will will evolve in in expand from there, or me telling you you know what, like, I know you're excited about this partner integration, but it's pretty new, it's not really ready for prime time, and it's been kind of difficult for some of the early adopters. I'd rather you wait, and I don't want to overpromise and then under deliver. Or even me telling you, you know, even basically what I'm hearing from you, I actually think our competitors are better at that than we are. I'd love to put you in touch with them. You know, these are moments where the customer realizes you are not here to oversell me or put one over on me or hide the dirty laundry. You're here to get me to a good decision for me and for my organization. But the other thing you gotta do is it's not just being having trust, it's being an advisor, right, trust, An advisor got to be in a position to advise the customers. So that means typically what we found our analysis was salespeople being more conversant about the product, leaning less on other people on their side, so they don't show up with the clown car of experts, you know, the solutions engineers, the product experts, executive the highest performers bring in subject matter experts the least often and give them the least talk time. That's exactly right, and they actually do a lot more of their own demos. So even in the same companies, So comebind, we're working with sets of companies. Even within the same companies, you would find that there was this small set of sales people, their highest performers, who um did more of their own demo is whereas everyone else brought in, like, you know, product folks and solutions engineers to do demos. And when they brought in other folks product people, engineering folks, security folks, executive folks, c S people, they gave them a much smaller footprint. So what's interesting is the reason they do that is because they they know the old adagen sales is very true. You get delegated down to the person you sound like. And if you sound like if the impression you give the customers that your only value is that you've got the people who really understand the product onto the phone to talk about it, then I, as a customer, need to do more research because you're not that much smarter than I am about this, and I'm kind of on my own here, right. It's a little bit like if you were to Planet. Let's say you're playing a trip to Italy and you've never been, and you're dealing with a travel agent who had also never been to Italy, nor had they ever planned a trip for anybody else, say the Relian. It's like, well then I'm going to read everything on trip Advisor because you don't know what you're doing right UM, So that that is a recipe for customers consuming endlessly and engaging in analysis paralysis and then the t taking risk off the table, so that outcome uncertainly is very powerful for customers. They're feeling like I am not going to get the full benefits that I'm signing up for. It's not again, I don't think you're gonna rip me off. But if I don't get that ten x r o I that I used to predicate my business case on and it only is five x, like, that's a bad look for me. I'm gonna have to be called to task for that. So what assurance can you give me as a vendor that you've got my back? And there's lots of waves we can do it everything from simple opt out clauses, priority refunds. That's in more transactional sales, but there's creative contract structuring, layering on professional services support UM encouraging our customers again to start small, pulling forward the c S team so we show them here. I know we haven't signed the contract, but I want to get you introduced our CS team want to show you the roadmap for rollout and how we're gonna engineer that you get the value that you're signing up for and that we are agreeing on the metrics, the milestones, who's involved, etcetera. Like we know where all the pitfalls are. We've done this a thousand times before, We've got your back. That's how you overcome that outcome uncertainty because again they're they're deep dark fears. They will be left holding the bag and it will be a very...

...bad look for them. So jolt effect. Yeah, so for behavior, So we love because it's acreative, but it's also kind of speaks to what's happening here right where there stuck state. So yeah, in consequences for or benefits or insights for marketers, customer success professions, any operator you know you mentioned complex B two B sales. That's where maybe a salesperson is absolutely the most needed, but certainly applies, and the psychology absolutely applies no matter what your transaction looks like or what they go to market process is widely applicable. Look at look at them. I mean really simple. Any listener can go to Amazon and just pick an item you're shopping for a fifteen dollar dongle for your computer, or like I was looking you know what I'm talking about right after I read the book, before I written my notes out of it and started preparing for this. I am not even say what I was shopping for, but I experienced all three of the primary causes of the decision, and I decided that I wasn't going to move forward. Yeah, and it's a and then you like you're you're frustrated, like you hate yourself for wasting on your own time for doing that. So yeah, you know, it's funny because you you look at some of these these retailers like they don't I've I've got some so many saved for later things and things I've just taken out my shopping card in Amazon and put it in and then they rethink it. But the stuff they do there, so I think about like when I was shopping. I use an example actually in the book, um recent not too long ago. Actually what I was writing the book, I was shopping for a knife sharpener. I wanted like a high end electric knife sharpener because I was sick of using that sharpening rod, and so I was shopping for one. There's like ten thousand on Amazon, but I was I was paying attention to what they do, so they allowed me to filter. So I want one with three blades. I want one that's at least five stars. I want that's at least this price point. Here are some of the manufacturers. Then I went from like ten thousand down to like a hundred. Then I picked one, and so interesting because it takes you the pages as well. Other people like you Ethan looked at this model, this model, this mode, here's how they compare features. Here's the relative price point, here's their star rating. And then underneath it it had bunch of content like other user reviews things like that. That was like, okay, I can do a little bit more research and I don't have to go out and boil the ocean. And it got me down to a basically recommended option, and then I could always return it if I didn't like it, right, So, so that you know, there's lots of things, even in those simple purchases, consumer purchases, that companies can do on the marketing and on the digital side, UH to guide our customers using some of these principles of overcoming in decision. Yeah, so good. I have so many more questions for you, but we both have commitments at the top of the hour here. UM, if you have enjoyed this conversation with Matt as much as I have, a of course, you should read the book because there's so much underneath all those key kind of touch points that we walked through. But I'll also point you to a few other episodes here on The Customer Experience Podcast. One is episode one eighty with Rick Delici, who was Matt's one of Matt's co authors on The Effortless Experience, and we did touch on that because he's done additional research off of that research, just as you've created this through line all of your work as well. So one eighty with Rick Delicy, Episode ninety with Todd Capony, we heard a bit of that in your last response there around you know, sharing things that most people wouldn't expect a salesperson to share. UM. So in episode ninety with Todd we talked about the transparency sale and some more techniques related to that. UM. And we'll also be talking about coming up in a month or so here on the podcast his newer book, The Transparent Sales Leader. But to episode ninety with Todd Capony, and then I also did a short self episode, which I do about once a month. That was episode fifty six where I shared three of the key myths that were busted in the Effortless Experience. So I did essentially I did a working functional takeaway promo for the book, because I only worked off the introduction in the first chapter in in sharing some really good insights there. So that's episode fifty six. UM that before I let you go? First, thank you? Second? Can you give a thank you to, uh, someone who's had a positive impact on your life or career, and then a not or a shout out to a company or brand that delivers a great experience for you as a customer. Oh gosh, it's uh the list is long. I feel like it's an Oscar speech. And so you know from my other you know from my other answers like these will all take like toy minks, But I won't. I'll be quick here. I'd like to. I mean, so many people think, but but um, I'll take this moment to thank my business partners at d C M Insights, Rory Channer and Ted mckenneth. Ted was my co author on the Jolt Effect. UM my research partner in crime for many many years. This is his his first book, but though he and I've written some HBr articles in the past, but this was his first book and he had his you know, um he was he was the guy doing a lot of the data analysis. Came up with a lot of the key phrases, the missing out versus messing up and some of the things. I think they have become really sticky, and so I want to thank him. And then Rory um has is basically our our our sales guy. Our I write about it, Rory actually does it. So I deep respect for what he does. Uh. And he keeps all of us fed, which is nice. Um. So I want to thank those two guys. They're They're brilliant and I wouldn't be in this position if not for them. Awesome uh company. Your brand that comes to mind for a great experience? Yeah,...

I you know, I kind of feel like, um, there is there there are no shortage. I kind of feel like, on the one hand, I want to go off roading and mention a a brand that I think is um totally out there, but I feel like the one that comes to mind most often. We talked about Amazon before. I certainly would put them in the list. I think Apple for me provides a great experience, and I think one of the things they do ethan that's so interesting. It is not just that that the product is great, it's intuitive. I mean what, there's so a few products today that don't need an instruction manual, right that, And that is how brilliantly and intuitively and effortlessly um, they've designed the experience and the product. But when it breaks and when I need help, like I can't think of other stores where I can schedule an appointment, so I have to stand around, middle around wait in line where I can check out anywhere else anywhere in the store, And I almost always leave buying more of their stuff than I had when I went in. And so that is a company that you know, they've earned that kind of spot in the wind wind box. Really sticky brand and sticky product with a really low effort experience is seamless, friction less experience. So um, in my book, I think they're they're way up there. So awesome, well done and well described. Where would you send people to follow up if they want to learn more about the BOOKDCM Insights, you were a few spots you'd send people. Yeah, I mean, if anybody wants connect with me on LinkedIn. I love connecting with folks who've heard me on on shows like this one. If you have follow up questions or if you just want to stay connected and and you know, engage and continue the dialogue, send me a note or an invite on LinkedIn, and then Jolt Effect dot com is where you can learn a lot more about the research. You can learn a lot more about the book and all the other stuff that we're doing to bring some of these skills and techniques to sales organizations, everything from self pace learning journeys for an individual sales person all the way to you know, partnered solutions for big global sales organizations. So go check us out there and you can look up our company as well our parent company, DCM Insights dot com uh and learn more about other projects that we're working on right now. Super of course, I'm running up all those links in these descriptions and at bomb bomb dot com slash podcast. Matt, thank you so much for your time. Thank you well done on this project, as on previous projects, and continued success to you all. Thank you very much. I appreciate the invite and uh, look forward to talk to you again soon, cool, have a good afternoon. In the future, will be virtually selling and serving more often. But the channels we're trying to connect and communicate through our noisy and polluted and our faceless digital communication is both visually and emotionally impoverished. So how do we stand out? How do we truly connect? How do we make people feel like people and not like numbers. Get answers to these questions and more from more than a dozen experts, including a marketing futurist from Salesforce, the first salesperson at HubSpot, two co founders of vn Gresso, and an emotional intelligence expert with seven US patents in the analysis of facial coding data by the Wall Street Journal bestseller Human Centered Communication, a business case against Digital Pollution. Learn more about Human Centered Communication at Bom Bom dot com slash book. That's Bom Bom dot com slash book. Thanks for listening to the Customer Experience Podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit bomb bomb dot com slash podcast.

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