Decision speed is the one thing that determines your success in business more than anything else, writes Robert Clay of Marketing Wizdom.
Once you understand it, it’s obvious. But it is hardly ever written or spoken about.
It can take a long time to move buyers from initial awareness of your product or service to buying, using and recommending it.
Only 2% of buyers buy immediately. That’s often because they urgently need a solution to a problem. Or because they already know exactly what they’re looking for.
The other 98% can take weeks or months to decide to buy a product or service, even when they’d benefit from it right now.
Many people could probably benefit from your product or service today. And some of them have likely already known about it for years. Yet, years later, they still haven’t bought.
What if you were to come across a potential buyer today and they immediately decided to buy? And what if the next potential buyer was to do the same? And the next, and so on?
What if you no longer had to lose vast amounts of time and effort trying to move people from awareness to purchase, often to no avail? What if you could invest your time instead in find more potential buyers, knowing that they’ll immediately buy.
Even if that’s not possible, what if you managed to halve the time it takes your potential buyers to buy? It would instantly transform the dynamics of your business, wouldn’t it?
Your sales would grow exponentially. You’d quickly outsell and outperform your toughest competition. And life would suddenly be very different, wouldn’t it?
Decision Speed really IS the Biggest Factor in Your Success
The point is this: Your success is determined more by the time it takes your customers to decide on your product or service than by any other single factor.
Therefore the most important way of increasing sales and dominating your market is to increase the speed with which decisions are made. Let me explain …
Decision speed is the time it takes to go from initial awareness to enthusiastic full use and recommendation of your product or service. This in turn is governed by the simplicity, ease and sometimes fun of the decision process.
Let’s suppose that five similar competing products or services are launched into the marketplace at the same time. If all things were equal, each would eventually capture 20% of the market.
If the average decision time for those products or services is around a year, but you now:
- Identify everything that can slow down the decision process
- Find ways to accelerate several of the time consuming steps in that decision cycle
- Make your products or services easier to decide on
It’s often possible to cut the decision time in half.
Do that and your product or service should be able to achieve its expected one-year market share in six months.
That effectively gives you the time and resources you need to capture another 20% market share in the remaining six months, giving you 40% share by year end.
Your four competitors will then be competing with each other for the remaining 60%, giving each one an average of 15% of the market.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Decision Speed Gives You a Psychological Advantage and Extra Momentum
When you factor in the psychological advantage and extra momentum you gain through this process, the outcome is often an even BIGGER market share. 60-80% is not uncommon.
By accelerating decisions you can go from market penetration to market domination.
That’s a pattern that you can observe for many products and services. In addition you start to benefit from repeat purchases much sooner than you otherwise would. And can turn your customers into advocates long before your competition get a chance to to the same.
To achieve this outcome you need to appreciate that choosing a product or service is not a matter of making a single decision. It is an extended series of decisions.
Some of the decisions you have to make are quick and easy. But others require you to devote considerable time, effort and attention to such things as:
- verifying information
- weighing options
- comparing alternatives
- testing and evaluating results
- persuading others in the extended buying team
The process of deciding is therefore frequently slowed by a number of time consuming bottlenecks.
You job should be to identify and minimise just a few of those decision bottlenecks for your customers.
Decision Speed Is Key to Market Domination
By making it easier for your customers to decide, you can increase decision speed and reduce decision time by more than half. That extra decision speed accelerates your sales and market share.
Think of companies like:
GOOGLE, who dominate the world market for online search because they made it easy to find the world’s knowledge and information.
APPLE, who eliminated fear of technology by making it so simple easy and intuitive to use that everyone from a 2 year olds to a 98 year olds can be productive in minutes, with no instructions.
FACEBOOK, who made it easy to communicate in real time with anyone, anywhere at any time and keep abreast of what your contacts are doing, wherever you and they are.
TESLA, who showed that electric cars could be desirable. They outperform virtually anything else on the road. They have very low ownership costs. Their partial self-driving capability makes safer than virtually any other car you can buy. Then there’s the ability to drive 1 million miles with minimal maintenance. And over the air updates that improve that car every day. So that’s why virtually every company in the car industry is now going electric as fast as they. If not, their very survival is at stake.
AMAZON, who dominate online retail by putting customers first. They also offer almost everything you could ever want to buy. They’re supported by unmatched logistics and computing power. And they usually deliver whatever you order in a matter of hours to Prime customers.
These companies all dominate their markets by eliminating all the barriers to purchase and making it easy to decide. And if you do that, you too can boost decision speed, cut decision times and move from market penetration to market domination.
Is it actually possible to cut decision time in half?
If anything that is actually an understatement. It’s quite possible to improve your market share by 10 to 100 times if you:
- precisely map your customers’ decision processes
- identify and remove all bottlenecks and
- concentrate on the communications that will really move people to action
Active Guidance Improves Decision Speed
Buying decisions usually take time and effort.
If you don’t provide your customers with active guidance or adequate information, they have to go searching for the answers on their own to make up that information deficit.
This can add days, weeks or months to the decision process and cause your prospects to flounder and drown in a sea of information. The advantages you offer become less and less clear and prospects often drop out of the buying process. That slows down the growth of your business.
Provide customers with full balanced information about your product or service. If you guide them through the twists and turns you make their decision easy, and they make it quickly.
When you remove barriers they’re also grateful to you for making the decision easy. More prospects will buy your product or service more rapidly and with more confidence. And that often results in market domination.
So that’s the second instalment from my new online seminar “10 ways to Outsell, Outsmart and Outperform Your Toughest Competition.”
Here are a few things to consider that could reduce the time it takes for your customers to decide on your product or service:
- How long does it take, on average, for your customers to go from initial awareness to enthusiastic full use and recommendation of your product or service? Go over past records and try to work it out.
- What barriers, bottlenecks or friction points can you identify that tend to slow down or halt your customers’ decision process? Why not brainstorm this with your team and ask your customers?
- What can you do to accelerate decisions at each of those points? What approaches do you need to work on?
Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.
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