How to make decisions with the best decision making tools

“So which option is better A or B?”

Your customers may not vocalize this, but they are thinking it.

When customers are hesitating to make a decision, you need to understand that there are many factors that they are thinking of.

“Should I choose A or B?” “Should I buy now or wait?” “Should I buy here or somewhere else?” “Should I buy or not buy? “Should I pay cash or use credit?”

A lot to think about. I know whenever I have a big decision to make I use a simple tool to help me decide.

I write a pros and cons list. This is a tool that I believe dates back to Ben Franklin days. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Get a clean sheet of paper

Step 2: Draw a line down the middle of it.

Step 3: Write a “+” sign on the left side and a “-” sign on the right.

Step 4: Brainstorm all the reasons why you should go ahead (benefits) and write them down, in point form, below the “+” sign.

Step 5: Continue brainstorming and write down all the drawbacks of going ahead below the “-” sign.

Usually the answer will be clear at this point, with one side dominating the page. However, if it isn’t then proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Assign a rating for each point. ie. 5 pts. for really important point, 3 points for somewhat important point and 1 point for ever other point.

Step 7: After assigning a rating for each point, simply add up your total. And the side with the most points is the decision you should make.

So if you find your customers hesitating, you may want to help them buy using this simple tool.

However, if you need to narrow the decision between multiple options, there is an excellent tool called a barrier analysis, which can be found in the book, From Landfalls to Legacies by Rob MacLeod http://www.macleodandcompany.com/. (This is also an excellent read because he uses a parable style, but the book has more meat that most parable books that I have read.)

I’ve witnessed Rob work with a cross functional group from a large organization (who was legendary for not being able to come to a concensis) and using this tool, they agreed on which areas of their company to work on in a few short hours. The facilitation was so successful, that it even ended early.

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