Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

Sales Leadership Temperament of Judge Part 16

The word judge conjures many images from the man in a black robe sitting in a court to those ranking performers in the various reality shows to the old Testament of the Biblical judges. In sales leadership role, there is also the capacity to have a temperament of being a judge.

sales-leadershipThe temperament of Judge is one where there exists:

In the real world, those with this sales leadership temperament related “primarily in terms of established system and order, (e.g., rules, the law).” The goal is order and consequently their energies are “focused on making things fit into the established system or order.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

Examining the negative Practical Thinking or Tasks Dimension suggests “a conscious distance that is taken from social convention.”  In other words, those with this sales leadership temperament do not go with the majority of opinion or latest social trend.  (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

By having a neutral Empathy or People Dimension “indicates balanced objectivity toward other persons. You are not too trusting or too cold.” This temperament bias coupled with the positive Systems Judgment allows these individuals to apply the rules with “objective fairness and without regard to social status.” (Source: Innermetrix Attribute Index)

For those in sales management roles, having this specific temperament would be very positive.  How many times do sales managers demonstrate their bias for one salesperson over another? This bias only further disrupts a high performing sales team.

Knowing our the biases reflected through our temperament allows us to improve our decision making and consequently our behaviors.  If we want to improve our results from increase sales to retention of workforce to relationships with both internal and external customers, then learning our external biases as in this case Judge as well as our internal ones is necessary.

 P.S. The Attribute Index is a great talent assessment and provides 78 key attributes (talents), external and internal decision making styles as well as biases.

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Leaders Still Decide with Their Gut

How many times have we heard of leaders or even experienced it ourselves about going with our “gut thinking” when it comes to making decisions?  Now there appears to be some qualitative research that suggests gut thinking is still very much alive when it comes to executives and other leaders making those critical decisions.

leadersAccording to The Economist Intelligence Unit, only 10% of the leaders surveyed primarily use intuition or gut thinking when making decisions. However, 73% say they trust their own intuition when it comes to making those crucial decisions.

Additionally, 68% would trust their gut thinking (gut brain) when it came to making a decision that was not supported by the facts or data.  This data does suggest there is still a lot of trust place in the power of intuition.

Over six years ago I read a book, Get Out of Your Own Way: The 5 Keys to Surpassing the Everyone’s Expectations, this book written by Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D.,  revealed there is more to intuition, gut thinking than many people realize.

He defined the brain as a processing center and that we have more than one brain.  The gut is one of those processing centers. Cooper believes intuition is a skill that can be developed and connects intuition to the invention of machines to creating the future.

His findings are not just opinion by supported by medical doctors who know and recognize the relationship between our head brain and our gut brain.  Did you know the enteric nervous system, the gut brain or also known as our second brain, (ENS) contains more than 100 million neurons and is far faster (estimates of a million times) faster in processing data than our head brains?

Our gut thinking benefits from our experiences and hence our intuition grows stronger as we grow older, much like emotional intelligence. This is because our head brain and gut brain are directly connected and those neural pathways from the gut lead directly to the amygdala where most our emotional memories are stored.

What probably we as leaders may wish to take away from all of this information is using data to make decisions is reasonable given 42% according to the Economist lead with data in their decision making process.  However we may also wish to remember that our gut brains, our gut thinking is also necessary and is physically connected to our gray matter.  And when push comes to shove in making a decision, go with the gut is still very viable especially for experienced (think age) leaders.

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The Shadows Behind Just the Facts, Ma’am Decision Making

The human decision making process has been studied by many different entities.  Some new research by The Economist Intelligence Unit suggests senior managers, in many instances the decision makers you need to convince, describe their decision making style as “data-driven.” For those in sales, understanding how your sales leads, prospects, ideal customers make decisions is a necessity if you wish to increase sales.

decision-makingSergeant Joe Friday best know for “Just the facts, ma’am” appears alive and well in corporate America.

What was interesting about this specific report was the complexity of how people make decisions especially when it concerns intuition or “gut thinking.” (Note: For more about the impact of gut brain thinking, the book Get Out Of Your Own Way provides some great insight into this aspect of human behavior.)

The survey categorized the various styles into 4 types of behaviors:

  • Data driven
  • Collaborative
  • Empirical
  • Intuitive

If 42% of those surveyed are data driven in their decision making, then sales people must invest more time to research the company and better yet tie their solutions to the current and potential future profitability.  What this research also implies is there are probably more decisive decision makers (High Ds) than compliance (High Cs) if one understands the DISC Index assessment as published by Innermetrix among others.

With approximately one third of those surveyed believe themselves to be more collaborative in nature, this would also suggest for salespeople to outreach beyond the decision maker.  Establishing relationships appears with those connected to the key decision maker and who may also be directly connected to your solution appears to be necessary as well. These collaborative types might be a high I or influencing style as noted by Innermetrix.

As  only 17% expressed an empirical style, this also makes sense because time is of the essence. Developing hypotheses and performing tests are time constrained and suggest high Ss (stability, slow pace) and high Cs (compliance, lots of facts).

Even though only 10% expressed they go with their gut, 73% of all surveyed said they trust their own intuition and this is true with 68% of even the data-driven decision makers. What was quite fascinating was 68% acknowledged making a decision based on gut and not supported by data.

The Shadow of Intuition

This shadow surfaces in these 3 other key findings:

  • 88% said they can effectively predict the outcome of their decisions
  • 50% said it is easy to find necessary information to make a decision
  • 94% said they make an extra effort to validate the trustworthiness of the information used in making a decision

Additionally when directly asked the following question of “If the available data contradicted your gut feeling, what would you do?” only 10% said they would move forward with the decision suggested by the data. The majority 57% said they would re-analyze the data.

The Shadow of Collaboration

Collaborative decision making on the positive side appears to reduce risk and on the negative side can lead to group think and polarize those involved.  The survey directly asked about the role of collaboration within the decision making process at the respondents’ organizations with the following results:

  • 4% will not seek input from others
  • 9% will seek input from maximum number of stakeholders
  • 31% will seek input from a larger number of stakeholders
  • 56% will seek input from a few stakeholders

Again for those in sales identifying the centers of influence for each decision maker appears to be even more critical.

This research is valuable for those selling to small businesses as well as those involved in complex sales.

Today’s buyers are more educated than ever before and this behavior change demands that today’s sales professionals be more educated not just about their prospects’ firms and the impact of their solutions specific to profitability, but about the sales leads as well.

 

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Sales Leadership – Idealists or Ideologues?

In business we have all crossed the paths of the idealist as well as the ideologue.  One sometimes appears to bend and sway with every new idea and reminds us of Don Quixote chasing the windmills while the other is a firm and unmoving as the Rock of Gibraltar.

Credit www,.sxc.hu

Human beings are usually a blend of these two roles and this goes for those in sales leadership roles. Managers want to encourage fresh ideas while still maintaining order. A delicate balancing act is appears to be present more often than not.

Idealists sometimes are very much concerned about people.  They have high empathy and their decisions are based upon emotions or feelings. Ideologues may also be concerned about people, but they may also be more involved in thinking as they work through their decision making styles.

To understand how people make decisions helps those in sales leadership roles. Additionally, understanding their own talent capacity as well as their team members may just provide enough of a competitive edge necessary to increase sales and meet other business goals. By assessing the decision making styles of your sales leadership team is probably the first place to start so your business has a good balance between idealists and ideologues.

P.S. To learn more about how people make decisions as well as to other capacities within any organizational or sales team, today’s webinar at 3pm cst may be of interest to you. Scroll down to “Sales Leadership – Got Talent” and register.

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Ignoring Your Customers Is Expensive

Ignoring the needs of your customers within the sales process is very expensive. This was very aptly demonstrated by the primary results of June 7, 2010 in many races from state to federal elections.  In many cases, those already in office (think current vendors) ignored the psychographics of their constituents (customers and potential customers). They invested thousands to hundreds of thousand of dollars for a failed marketing campaign. (Earlier today,  I wrote about the impact of psychographics using the election results  in my article at Examiner.com.)

Beyond losing the customer what also happens when ignoring the why behind the decision making process, there is an incredible drain to the bottom line (profits). In one of my all time favorite books, Corporate Canaries which is a very short yet powerful read,  the author Gary Sutton discusses that you cannot outgrow losses.  What that means to me is you cannot outsell losses.

Unsuccessful marketing campaigns be them elections to product launches  are truly 95% marketing and 5% selling. These campaigns drain profits.  This is why I focus so much of this blog on effective marketing and business ethics.  As I have repeatedly said and will continue to do so is unless someone knows about you, your products or services will stay on the shelf and there will no new dollars in the cash register.

And when they do notice you, your behaviors must demonstrate your business ethics.  We have all witnessed when buyers find a disconnect between what a person says and what a person does.  The Helen Thomas early retirement is one such example.

The customer experience begins with that first notice.  Then if they are truly qualified they will extend that experience and potentially place additional criteria within their decision making process.  So when you understand them through their psychographics you have the opportunity to more firmly establish that relationship of trust because people buy from people they know and trust.  Additionally, you will begin to discover these additional criteria that may turn into obstacles for you. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Buying is an emotional process justified through a logical thought process.

Ignoring your customers does cost you beyond losing the sale. Remember this before you engage in another marketing initiative. Also make  sure your business  values are consistently demonstrated.  And finally, leave your ego at the door with all the other gray suits so you can that stands out in the crowd and be the Red Jacket.

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How Intuition Decision Making Can Increase Sales

To increase sales is a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits. By having a clear sales process along with a solid research based marketing plan truly supports you as a professional salesperson in your daily activities. A recent report released by McKinsey looks at the 4 tests to determine the relationship between intuition (what your gut tells you) and cognitive, intellectual, fact based decision making.

Years ago one of my mentors and colleagues, Ray Overdorff shared this with me. “Given enough information, your intuitive sense is usually validated.”

The report from McKinsey provides 4 tests or criteria to help you validate your own intuition.  In today’s market, ignoring your gut can be very expensive especially when time is at a minimum. Within the report was one great quote “As a highly cerebral academic colleague recently commented, ‘I can’t see a logical flaw in what you are saying, but it gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach.’ “

That queasy feeling has been experienced by many top sales performers. From their experiences and with new knowledge, they leverage their intuitive sense within their overall decision making process to their advantage and this results in their ability to increase sales. In other words, they focus on those potential qualified customers (a.k.a. prospects) where they can earn the sale (close the sale).

An investment of time using these four tests should save you lots of time avoiding the no sales path and help you to be the Red Jacket. And using these questions may help to keep you from those few times when your intuitive sense just might be in error.

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