Have you ever heard of paralysis by analysis? Do you fear making an error, overthink a problem, or continually research solutions instead of presenting one and asking someone to buy? Maybe you just believe that perfection has not arrived yet, and you must keep looking at possibilities instead of making a decision or finishing the task at hand.
Think of a motorboat proceeding across a lake, and someone throws an anchor off the boat. As it enters the water, the drag weighs against the boat’s capability of getting to port on time. The boat moves at a safer and slower speed but keeps getting slowed down and hung up on things. This is being analytical in action.
The Analytical Trait and the Sales Process
The need for details, or being analytical, is a trait that salespeople may possess. If so, these people are naturally inclined to dig into the details of a product or service, preferring to focus on the technical specifications and features rather than the benefits that the product can offer. While this can be a valuable trait in a sales situation, it often has a negative impact on sales performance within short sales cycles.
According to the CTS Sales Profile, which measures the effects of this trait on high-activity sales professionals in companies with closing cycles of 90 days or less, being overly analytical can lead to what’s known as “analysis paralysis.” This is where a salesperson spends too much time focusing on the details and fails to move themselves and customers forward to the close. In fast-moving sales environments, this can be a major problem.
As many sales experts have put it, “In sales, speed is everything. You need to be able to move quickly, make decisions on the fly, and adapt to changing circumstances. If you’re spending too much time analyzing every little detail, you’re going to fall behind and miss out on opportunities.”
How High Analytical Performs in Various Industries
Focusing on too many details hinders you in industries with short sales cycles, where the pressure is on to close deals quickly and efficiently. In these environments, salespeople need to be able to strike a balance between providing enough information to make a compelling case for the product while not getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
In industries that sell high-dollar, complex, or technical solutions, a need for detail can be critical. These include industries such as technology, healthcare, and finance, where customers are looking for specific features within the solutions to their problems. In these industries, salespeople need to have a deep understanding of the product or service they are selling and be able to communicate its technical details effectively.
On the other hand, in industries that sell consumer products or services, such as retail or hospitality, a big-picture presentation is often more effective. Customers in these industries are typically looking for a solution to a more straightforward problem and may not require as much technical detail. In these industries, salespeople need to focus on presenting the benefits of the product or service in a simple and straightforward way that resonates with the customer.
However, it is essential to note that even in consumer industries, there are times when a need for detail is necessary. For example, when selling high-end luxury goods, customers may want to know the technical details and specifications of the product to justify the high price point. That’s especially true for consumers with personalities that are more prone to analysis and perfection than those that just want to know if the product will do the job.
How to Coach Analytical Sales People
So, what can salespeople do to avoid analysis paralysis and keep up in fast-paced environments? One approach is to focus on the key benefits of the product or service and how they can solve the customer’s problem, rather than getting bogged down in technical details. As other sales experts have noted over the years, “Customers don’t necessarily care about every little technical specification. They want to know how the product is going to make their life easier or solve their problem.”
Another strategy is to be strategic about how and when to introduce technical details into the sales conversation. This might involve saving technical details for later in the conversation, once the customer is already engaged and interested in the product. It might also involve tailoring the level of technical detail to the customer’s level of expertise, interest, and personality.
Ultimately, the key is to find a balance between providing just enough information to make a compelling case for the product, while not getting bogged down in unnecessary details. We need to remember that usually, “The best salespeople are the ones who can strike this balance and adapt to the needs of the customer and the specific sales situation.”
Being analytical or having a need for details can have a major impact on sales performance in fast-moving sales environments with short sales cycles. While being able to provide technical information can be a major asset in some situations, it’s important to strike a balance between providing enough information to make a compelling case for the product while not getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
In our 30+ years of psychometric research on millions of high-activity salespeople, we’ve found that the best are low analytical and high big picture thinkers. They move fast and to the points necessary to complete the sales and secure a customer.