Analysis Paralysis. Are YOU Your Biggest Obstacle?

Originally published on LinkedIn, 2018

How Successful Sales People Quickly Analyze & Then Jump Into Action

We all know people who share their big plans at the weekly sales meeting and then the next week, share their plans, and the next week share their plans, and the next week share their plans…getting the point? Yeah, there is such a thing, as we all know, as over planning, over analyzing and simply put, plain old over-thinking.

So, what separates the guy who acts, the difficult first step and those people who remain at the starting line mapping out their course? The answer may surprise you. It is FEAR. Fear is what keeps people from moving. It may not even be apparent to the person who is stuck because in their minds they are being pragmatic in their risk taking. They are looking at their plan from all sides. They will vehemently defend that they do not have all the answers yet. They will ask endless questions and will digest the answers and then think of more questions. This is all while the clock keeps ticking and they fail to ever enter the race. While others have completed the course, and are already in the winner’s circle collecting their medals.

So, if you are the person who overthinks or you manage people like this, here are the simple tips for taking the first crucial steps towards recognizing this trait and changing it into action that will lend to far greater success.

  1. Prescribe a Solution for Likely Obstacles: Yes, consider the obstacles and determine the worst-case scenario. Then quickly write down the solution or prescription for the problem and move on. I would write no more than 3 legitimate obstacles because people with analysis paralysis will write down dozens of probable and unlikely issues so that they feel satisfied they have thought of every imaginable problem. The truth is successful people don’t need all the answers, they can think and react on the fly and as such know there are “out of scope” issues likely to affect their plans. So, to move past this if you are super analytical, write your ‘Out of Scope’ obstacles down and understand there is no remedy at the onset of this plan for those, that you will be left to think in the moment if they occur.
  2. Write down the FIRST STEP in your plan: If it’s a new sales plan for the next year, your first step might be “Organize Office” or “Analyze Referral Network List.” Then put a date to start next to it, put it in all applicable calendars. You have now picked a start time and you MUST start on that day.
  3. Timeline Action Steps: To keep the plan in motion, write down the next 3 steps and timeline them. If you are managing this, be sure to check in with the person as they take these crucial steps to get moving. If they are stuck, or this is you that is stuck, ask a peer to help you get started.

Finally, all the planning in the world will not prepare you completely for action. Fear is a debilitating thing. It keeps people from reaching their dreams. Sometimes we all like the safe little place we are in, but if you look at every great success story, movie, book or person you are going to find someone who innately acts easily, who is not afraid of risking it and losing it, or falling in the process of tweaking a plan to success. You can’t win anything sitting still and over thinking the outcome.

Now all of this said, I am a planner and a teacher of business planning. However, the plan is not the issue typically with this problem, it’s literally the taking of the first step. So, if you keep this in mind, like a ball rolling down hill, you just need the nudge at the top, you know who YOU are!

I will end by saying I coach new mortgage originators in sales and I see this more predominantly with in-experienced sales people and I get it. They want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row, they fear being discovered as someone who doesn’t have all the answers. I would argue, nobody has all the answers and in an ever-changing world, all sales people must self-educate. I also try to remind them they may be more prepared than veteran sales people in fact, who have not advanced or evolved with the times. So stop over-thinking it. Period.

In the end, all of this is about self-confidence. I have seen sales guys who would gripe about the quality of spoon fed, scrubbed leads and then conversely I would see guys who could soar with a phone book and a telephone. They would find the deal, the opportunity and close it. The difference in these two type of people is someone with confidence and someone who lacks it.

Get off the sideline, jump in the race. If you’re afraid of this and this article scares you, then please park your car and pick a different line of work. Seriously.

This is not my opinion, this is a fact.


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