Do You Suffer from Analysis Paralysis?

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Ever heard the phrase ‘analysis paralysis’? 

Basically, it means becoming so caught up in choices, detail and possibilities that we analyse, think, and rethink to the point where we slow down or do nothing and then miss opportunities.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

‘Analysis paralysis’ manifests itself with phrases like these:

  • “It’s nearly Christmas, they are probably too busy to meet me now”
  • “I can’t call them until I know more about __”
  • “What if they say “no”?
  • “I don’t think they’ll be worth my time”
  • “Will it make me look pushy if I just drop in”?
  • “They probably won’t be able to afford this”
  • “I’ll wait for all the research in case they ask for it”

Ever used any of these? Yes, it can happen to the best of us!

Second guessing

Overthinking is due to one thing. You are not 100% confident in the decision you are going to make so you start second-guessing yourself. 

Fact: Success is based on taking action – nothing is achieved by sitting still! 

Former US first lady Michelle Obama summed it up: “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen

Five tips to gain momentum

  1. Recognise that no matter how much information you have, there will always be more available. Decisions will have pros and cons. Just because you arrive at one conclusion doesn’t mean you can never adopt a new one.
  2. In her book “The 5 Second Rule”, author and television host Mel Robbins provides a simple concept – within 5 seconds you will either talk yourself out of doing something or into doing something. Count backwards from 5 and make the decision!
  3. If you find yourself in a position where you can’t say “yes” or “no”, that’s fine as long as there’s a solid reason behind the delay. Don’t say, “I’ll have to think about it” or “I need more time” with nothing to back it up.
  4. You don’t need to demand perfection. Sometimes, picking a “good-enough” decision is the best decision – they all have upsides and downsides. Don’t let this keep you from moving forward.
  5. Put yourself in the right environment. When we want to delay or avoid a task, we find endless ways to fill our time. The solution? Put yourself in an environment where you have nothing to do but the task at hand. Example: calling prospects.

All these tips centre around one thing, momentum. Channelling Nike’s “Just do it”, long before they even existed, American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart said: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”.

Maybe you and your team should discuss my post at this week’s sales meeting? If you come up with any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

How about your customers?

‘Analysis paralysis’ applies to customers too. How many times have you lost or not closed a business proposal because the customer simply couldn’t or wouldn’t make a decision? Sometimes they can be this close to approving your proposal or solution, but they want to “think it over”, “look at other options” or “talk with my wife (or other decision maker)”. 

In next week’s post I’ll explore the 5 ways to get hesitant customers to decide.

Until then good selling!


About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]