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competitive sales enablement

Overcoming Buyer Indecision Using the JOLT Effect

There's a way forward with indecisive prospects! Learn the four types of indecisive buyers, how to apply The JOLT Effect, and how to overcome the fear of messing up.



Did you know that somewhere between 40 and 60% of qualified deals are lost to indecision? 

When a prospect engages with you and ultimately makes no purchase at all (even from your competitors), it can quickly tank your win rate—not to mention your mood! 

You've become the victim of buyer indecision! 

But there is a way forward when you're faced with buyer indecision. You’ll about to discover:

  • The four types of indecisive buyers
  • How to overcome buyer indecision using the JOLT sales methodology (coined by Matthew Dixon and Ted McKenna)
  • Why and how to incorporate competitive intelligence into your sales strategy
  • Pain points salespeople might experience when trying to overcome buyer indecision and how to overcome each

Ready for some practical tips and methodologies on how to help move your buyers forward? 

Let’s start by defining what The JOLT Effect is.

What Is The JOLT Effect?

The JOLT Effect is a powerful sales technique that helps overcome buyer indecision. It’s required reading for any sales professional looking to overachieve.

JOLT stands for:

  • Justify the pain
  • Open up their minds
  • Lead them to change
  • Take control

The JOLT Effect focuses on creating a sense of urgency in your sales process. It also encourages sales leaders to apply the right amount of pressure to help buyers achieve clarity and reach their buying decision faster. 

In essence, The JOLT Effect focuses on three key areas: 

  • Understanding why buyers are indecisive
  • Educating them about the product or service
  • Providing tangible evidence of value

Using this method, sales leaders can shorten the sales cycle, close more deals, and build stronger relationships with their customers. 

Before we can get into how to apply this method to your sales strategy, we need to understand what roadblocks are preventing you from making the sale.

Let’s start with the types of indecisive buyers you may encounter.

The Four Types of Indecisive Buyers

We found in our analysis that anywhere between 40 and 60% of a rep's qualified pipeline is going to be lost to no decision.

- Matt Dixon

Working in sales, you’re familiar with the buyer personas of your potential customers. But do you know the four personas of an indecisive buyer? 

Defining the types of indecisive buyers can help tailor your sales approach and address the buyer's concerns in more effective and genuine ways. And it helps you overcome No-Decision Loss—which results in a potential loss of revenue when your customer doesn’t purchase due to indecision.

Though the motivation typically comes down to a fear of missing out (FOMU), indecisive buyers may be categorized into four groups:

  • The over-analyzer
  • The perfectionist
  • The procrastinator
  • The skeptic

Over-analyzers tend to be highly analytical and detail-oriented and may struggle to make decisions due to a fear of making the wrong choice. To better resonate with this type of buyer, salespeople should provide clear and concise information that helps the buyer make more informed decisions. Finding the balance between enough data and a paralyzing amount of data is key. You’ll need to make a logical case with this buyer.

Perfectionists, simply put, seek the perfect solution. Which, of course, rarely exists! They hesitate to decide until they’re confident they’ve found a product or service that suits their needs in every area. When speaking with perfectionists, find out what is most important to them, then highlight the benefits of your product or service and how it will meet the buyer’s primary needs. Be sure to also acknowledge any concerns or hesitations the buyer may have when on a sales call. 

Procrastinators delay their purchase for fear they'll make the wrong choice (we’ll talk about this fear more in the next section). They may also just not want to deal with the decision-making process. If you’re working with a procrastinator, create a sense of urgency and highlight the potential repercussions of not acting.

Then there are skeptics. They lack trust in the seller or the product. When addressing this type of buyer, focus on building trust and credibility by providing testimonials, case studies, and other evidence supporting your product or service. This demonstrates the value and effectiveness of what you have to offer so they feel more inclined to make a purchase.

Even with these four types of buyers, we can agree they all share one thing in common. Each person wants to make the right decision. This brings us to the next point—FOMU.

The Fear of Messing Up (FOMU):

You want to make the right decision every time. But if you’re afraid of messing up, it can keep you from making any decision. This may be what’s going on with your prospect.

"It is the error of commission that people are deeply, deeply afraid of. Nobody wants to be on the hook for choosing the wrong configuration of the solution."

 Matt Dixon, Author of The JOLT Effect

FOMU, or fear of messing up, refers to a person’s fear in making a mistake or misstep after making a purchase. This fear can cause buyers to hesitate or hold back, which can ultimately result in a loss of sale for the company.

In order to overcome FOMU, salespeople need to focus on building the customer’s confidence so they feel comfortable with their purchasing decision. They can do this by offering guidance and support and “pinging” them to help identify uncertainties in their decision-making process.

Pinging helps the salesperson identify where a buyer might be stuck or struggling with making a purchase. By addressing the issues a buyer might be facing, sales people increase their chances of not only making a sale, but strengthening their relationship with the customer.

With the nurturing mindset and skill set, salespeople can prevent no-decision loss and help customers overcome their fears so they can reach their sales goals.

Now let’s get into The JOLT Effect and how you can use it to conquer buyer’s indecision.

How to Overcome Indecision Using the JOLT Effect

Dealing with indecisive customers can be a challenging task for any salesperson, and as Matt Dixon says,

“... the worst thing you can hear from a customer isn’t ‘no.’ It’s ‘I need to think about it.’

When this happens, deeply entrenched business advice says to double down on your efforts to sell a buyer on all the ways they might win by choosing you and your business.

But this approach backfires dramatically.

Why? Because it completely gets wrong the primary driver behind purchasing decision-making: once purchase intent is established, customers no longer care about succeeding. What they really care about is not failing.”

With that in mind, let’s look at some practical tips on how to deal with indecisive customers.

1. Justify the Pain

Help your prospects understand the cost of not acting. To do this, identify the pain points, fears, or doubts your prospects are experiencing and show them the negative consequences of not addressing these pain points.

This includes identifying any objections they may have, as well as any fears or doubts they may be experiencing. 

For example, try asking them investigative questions about their biggest concerns, what they are looking for, or issues they are facing as a customer, and providing genuine solutions to those problems.

This may also be the time to show them where their competitors are winning and how your solution can help turn them around. Sales reps swear by competitive Battlecards for this purpose. Especially if you’re engaged in account-based marketing, it can make sense to get to know their competitors. 

2. Open Up Their Minds

Challenge your prospects’ assumptions by showing them a new way of thinking. Provide them with new insights and information that they may not have considered before. This could mean giving them case studies, testimonials, or other resources that can provide them with the confidence and comfort they need to buy your product or service.

3. Lead Them to Change

While it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes indecisive customers simply need more options. Maybe they don’t like the options before them, or they need the options to be repackaged to better suit their needs. 

You can show your prospects the better ways of doing things and help them see the benefits of acting now. Give them a clear vision of the future and help them understand how your solution can help them get there. Include an exclusive offer if you have the means.

4. Take Control

Sometimes your prospects need guidance through the sales process so they can act. Be confident and assertive while providing clear instructions on what they need to do next.

By applying the JOLT effect to your sales strategy, you can create a sense of urgency and help your prospects see the value in acting now. You’ll improve customer relationships and close more deals. 

Bonus Tip: Follow Up

Even after providing additional information and options, you may find some customers are still indecisive. If this is the case, be sure to follow up regularly and provide ongoing support and guidance as needed.

But do so within reason. Constantly trying to contact a prospect to make the sale can push them further away, and then you’ll be back to square one. Kindly check in once a week to see where they are at with their decision and see if they have any additional questions or reservations. 

Dealing with indecisive customers requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to listen to their concerns. Building a genuine connection can greatly influence a buyer. In doing so, you can help them make a decision that’s right for them.

How to create a JOLT Effect Sales Battlecard

How does a 30% increase in competitive win rates sound? Good, right? Well, that’s what we’ve seen our customers realize when they start implementing sales Battlecards.

Battlecards are sales playbooks, containing skimmable, valuable insights and information about competitors that salespeople can access instantly during a call with a prospect. 

They help you:

  • Gain a competitive edge by understanding your strengths and your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses - and allowing you to reference these during a call
  • Gather crucial industry and competitor information so it’s readily available during a call
  • Anticipate and address concerns and questions more quickly
  • Better position (and consistently position) products or services to the market and the buyer
  • See the features, pricing, and position of a competitors products and services as they currently exist in the market
  • Uncover competitors’ strategies
  • Gain a deeper understanding of target audiences, pain points, preferences, and buying habits

You may have different Battlecards for various needs. You might have competitor Battlecards for when you need to research a competitor before a call or when you find yourself in a heavily competitive deal. Objection-handling Battlecards are great for a quick reference when your prospect asks a tough question. You can even have one that evaluates win/loss for competitive deals.

But today, we will create a Battlecard that can guide us through the JOLT Effect. You can put this into a document, but it will be easier to use and update if you use a template.

Justify the Pain

  • What questions should you ask to determine the customer’s pain points. You may include common answers that you can use in sales call prep.
  • Common objections and how to overcome them by pointing out the risks of delay

Open up Their Minds

  • Include links to case studies, individual reviews, and review site ratings

Lead them to Change

  • Optional product packaging 
  • Special offers and discounts 

Take Control

  • By offering up clear next steps, with a timeline and responsible parties

It might look something like this.

Make sure your sales team is aware of this new resource. 

Overcome Buyer Indecision with the JOLT Effect

We covered a lot in this article on helping you overcome buyer indecision. Now you know:

  • What the JOLT Effect is
  • The four types of indecisive buyers
  • Overcoming buyer indecision and FOMU
  • Creating a JOLT Effect-focused Battlecard

Losing a sale to buyer indecision can have a significant impact on a business’s revenue. But with these tools and methods to strengthen your strategy, there’s nothing you can’t do. 

If you want to really up your sales strategy, close more sales, increase revenue and win rates, and be the company hero, give Kompyte a try. 

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