How many decisions do you make in a day?
Adults make around 35,000 decisions every day. Most are easy, like opening a door or answering the phone, but some are more challenging and can leave us frustrated or unsure how to proceed.
These difficult decisions can sometimes lead to decision inertia: the tendency to repeat previous choices independently of the outcome, or a wholesale freezing of any decision, sometimes thoughtfully described as "the void".
Depending upon your age and experiences, there's definitely room for the gut feeling. We shouldn't ignore that instant, instinctive yes or no that we feel deep inside ourselves, especially when it's related to something personal or involving people and their emotions, actions, and reactions. We always know who's the trouble-causer in a busy bar, we see the deal that is too good to be true, and recognise when something is gravely wrong. That's intuition and we should listen to it and understand its bounds.
Touching the void
So back to the freezing, the void, the lack of any decision-making whatsoever. Oku Markets' founder, Harry Mills, says:
"I tend to travel between extreme spontaneity and highly thoughtful and organised proceedings. Often I make big life decisions seemingly off the cuff and regularly in twos and threes, whereas smaller decisions I'll study and ponder until I feel right about it."
We've all been stuck in the void plenty of times, and undoubtedly seen this in business dealings many times over the years. There are endless descriptions of types of decisions; strategic, tactical, operational, personal, programmed, non-programmed etc., but let's look at the three we think are most useful:
- Transactional: Making a purchase, doing a deal, progressing a project
- Operational: Hiring and firing, process management, and day-to-day activities
- Strategic: Vendor selection, supply-chain, product dev/launch, C-level hiring/firing
People become overwhelmed with too much information, especially if it concerns a topic with which they aren't fully up to speed or, if they are relying on the expertise of another.
Studies show that limiting customers' options lead to increased sales. Maybe this is why we mostly see three or four plans/packages/options when we buy, rather than an endless product and price list.
We should consider the influences upon the decision-maker, internal and external.
If the information is accurate, balanced, and non-biased that's a great starting point. Next is probably the most important piece; trust.
A decision-maker will remain in the void if she believes the data, information, or person of influence isn't acting in their best interests, is biased, or is pushing a selfish agenda. Take a salesperson who just wants to get a deal done: we've all seen this before and we can smell it a mile away.
"Only a truly trusted source of influence that genuinely acts in the interests of the decision-maker will be able to guide that person out of the void and into action. Then it's truly a win-win!"Harry Mills, Founder Oku Markets
Our daily lives are jam-packed with decisions, most are easy but some will be difficult. We need to establish a footing of confidence in the information provided, trust the source, and understand the context of the decision if we are to progress.
Buyer's remorse usually occurs when a quick, ill-educated, pushed-upon-them, or poorly-influenced decision is made. If you're a seller, be careful not to push your prospect; instead establish trust, provide unbiased information, and guide the decision – don't push it