Blink-Trusting Yourself to Make Decisions
Subject: Blink, Selling, Decision Making
The premise of Gladwell’s book is that sometimes we know more than we think we know and that our snap judgments are more than just lucky guesses. In his book he introduces a term called, “Thin-Slicing”. Thin-Slicing is the ability to grasp a situation or problem in the ‘blink’ of an eye without having to analyze it in detail.
Another term for this might be instinct. But Gladwell goes further and tries to understand the source our instincts or our subconscious ability to make decisions.
In his book he describes a salesman by the name of Bob Golomb who works at a car dealership and is one of their top performers. As you get to know Bob, you realize he takes nothing for granted when a potential customer comes through the door.
A good salesman learns to gather information quickly on a client by watching and more importantly listening. During this process the salesperson has to learn to stop listening to what his preconceived notions may be in order to assess the situation accurately.
“You cannot prejudge people in this business. Prejudging is the kiss of death. You have to give everyone your best shot. A green salesperson looks at a customer and says, ‘This person looks like he can’t afford a car’, which is the worst thing you can do, because sometimes the most unlikely person is flush,…”
As salespeople we are under tremendous pressure to move through our ‘pipeline’ quickly. I know many salesman who won’t call a company under the guise, “Aw, they’re not going to buy anything.” They prejudge an account.
And what happens? You got it. A few months later we find out that the same customer put in a tall order. By that time it is too late. The competition is in and it will take a lot of work to win the account away.
Another aspect of ‘thin-slicing’ is the ability to edit or process relevant information quickly. We’ve all have been a victim or a perpetrator of paralysis by analysis; where we over-analyze the simplest decision to death. Gladwell attempts to embolden us with confidence by citing examples of how too much information about a situation can lead to indecision. Sometimes the best decisions are made quickly and effortlessly.
When I first became a vice-president of sales in a large corporation, my boss shared a pearl of wisdom I will never forget. He said, “Victor you don’t need 3-6 months to know what you want to do. You’ll know what needs to be done in the first 30 days…if that. So why wait months when you know what needs to be done?”
I heeded that advice and with great success. Even when my decisions weren’t the best, which was the more exception than the rule, I simply made another decision to rectify the first. Deep down inside I knew what had to be done and I just went about the business of doing it.
Blink dispels the notion that making decisions and making them quickly doesn’t necessarily equate to immaturity or lack of experience. As salespeople, we are constantly having to make snap judgments and adapt to a given situation.
Trust your ability to judge. But in doing so, try to be consciously aware of your biases, predispositions and how they can taint a decision.
Please feel free to forward this article to a friend or colleague.
Victor Antonio G., one of America's top business motivational speaker and author of “The LOGIC of Success”.
Copyright © 2005 by Victor Antonio G. All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio G., www.VictorAntonio.com
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