Showing posts with label Paralysis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paralysis. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2017

Paralysis by Analysis

Paralysis by Analysis

I get to work with numbers and analyze a lot of businesses, business models, and opportunities based on their financial impact. My experiences have taught me that you can quantify just about anything. For example, a business is about to crumble. You can put the numbers together to figure out of the business is savable, and if it is, know exactly what you need to do to turn it around. Or, you may be considering adding a new partner or buying a new piece of equipment. Again, using the numbers you can put together a pretty good story about whether or not you should move forward with those plans. But sometimes entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of paralysis by analysis, or as others refer to it, analysis paralysis. It is possible, and it happens often, that we can spend too much time and effort analyzing and not enough time doing, testing, and trying. It can even be possible to become so overwhelmed with data and analysis that we can't move forward with a decision, stifled by too many options, assumptions, and conclusions. Here are some quick thoughts on how to avoid this happening to you. First, realize that if making the right decisions were easy, then everyone would be a successful entrepreneur, right? Too much and too little information are much more common than entrepreneurs getting just the right amount of information to make the best decisions possible. Second, feed whatever information and analysis you have into your intuition. Process it. Flesh it out, either mentally by yourself or verbally with your team (this is almost always the best option). Third, once you have a grasp of the options in front of you, put the data aside and listen to your gut. If you're still unclear on the best direction, go back and see if the analysis can answer any of your doubts or questions. Fourth, once your intuition is fed with data and analysis and your gut is telling you what you should do, follow it. Even if there is more data to process and more information to analyze. Entrepreneurs have a keen sense of what will be best for their businesses if once they gain clarity through the right amount of information and analysis. The reason paralysis by analysis happens is because entrepreneurs don't trust their intuition. So, they think they can replace needing to use their intuition with more data. And all that will do is keep taking you in circles. Get the data, analyze it, interpret and feed it into your intuition, or gut, and then pull the trigger. Your decision may be to do nothing, but that's probably the best decision if that is what your intuition is telling you. In an effort to avoid paralysis by analysis I have seen some entrepreneurs just make ‘from-the-hip' decisions without taking the appropriate amount of time to analyze, discuss, and let their intuition drive their decisions. Yes, there is a difference between making decisions on the fly and using intuition. So finding the right balance is the key.

For more than a decade Ken has built a reputation as a leader who is respected for his integrity, work ethic, and commitment to lifting people and companies to new levels of achievement. Ken has served in several leadership roles, including CFO, COO, VP of Administration, and VP of Sales, in start-ups, mid-stage companies, and large multi-national corporations. His experiences cover a variety of industries, including construction, real estate, financial services, business services, medical/dental, manufacturing, telecommunications, distribution, retail, internet services & SaaS, market research, and outsourcing.

Ken founded CFOwise, a part time CFO Services Firm in 2006 and currently serves as its CEO.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

One topic that is frequently debated amongst sales professionals is the amount of time you need to spend researching a customer before you contact them.

This topic applies mainly to business-to-business sales, although it can relate to most selling situations, regardless of who you are selling to. The big question is how much more effective is your selling approach when you have more than the normal amount of knowledge about a particular customer.

I have worked with sales people who spend extreme amounts of time researching and looking into a customer before making contact with them. They need to know everything they can in order to feel comfortable initiating dialogue.

They spend hours on their website. They dig through the Internet. They comb through their company database to search for potential history. They talk to as many people as they can about a particular customer or account. They leave no stone unturned. They could tell you everything about an account, including information that is completely useless when it comes to successfully selling to or building a business relationship with someone.

Sorry researchers, but I just don't understand this. I have found that sales people who say they are "researching" are really just apprehensive about the selling situation and use the research as an excuse not to do the most difficult part of the selling process; prospect. They find comfort in the fact that they are actually putting in some type of effort. Unfortunately, that effort is often wasted time.

Now don't get me wrong, I do believe in having knowledge about a customer. Information you can gather prior to meeting with a customer can definitely help increase your probabilities of success. Customers want to know that you have done your homework. They want to feel important and they need to know you are serious about their business. Doing your homework and having pieces of relevant information can surely help you throughout the selling process.
There are also products and services that require an extensive amount of knowledge in order to properly qualify and move a customer forward in the selling process.

I understand and respect that type of sale. But for the majority of salespeople who are proactively selling and managing customers, you know what I mean. When you spend inordinate amounts of time researching prospects, you are taking away from the time when you should actually be selling.

The biggest issue I have seen with those who spend too much time researching is they develop inaccurate assumptions before they even start selling. Assuming is one of the most dangerous words in the profession of selling. It causes people to miss opportunities and pass over potential customers due to their preconceived notions.

I have found the best and most effective way to research a customer is to talk to them. Forget the hours on the Internet. Ignore the urge to dig. Instead of doing that, gather the necessary amount of information you need and call or visit your prospect. Spend time learning about them by getting accurate, real-time and relevant information directly from your customer.

Not only will your information be more accurate, you will also begin building a relationship with your potential customer, you will uncover more valuable information and most importantly, you will avoid what is often referred to as "analysis paralysis"!

Christopher Thompson founded Catch 22 Solutions and hosts the Business Advantage Show on WKXL 1450AM. For more information visit