Virtual Selling Tip: Uncover Decision-Drivers Using the “Eye Doctor Test”

As sales reps, adjusting to the new norm of selling virtually presents an added set of challenges to overcome. 


We’ve covered many of these topics, helping you to craft the perfect prospecting email and set a virtual meeting with your potential customer, “wow” them with your virtual presentation skills, and conduct a successful virtual demo


Now we’ll bring you another virtual sales tip: how to uncover your customer’s decision-drivers. 


People Don’t Know What They Want


Here’s a lesson I wish I had learned a long time ago: people don’t know what they want.


In the Discovery phase of the virtual sales process, we’re taught to prioritize the benefits of our solution while learning about the customer’s key decision drivers


We spend considerable time and effort connecting with our customers virtually, asking questions, and learning about the things that are important to decision-makers. Yet many of us still miss the essence of how the decision will ultimately be made.




Because you can’t rely on customers to accurately communicate their decision criteria. 


Are they being deceitful? In my experience, no. They just struggle, like most people, to articulate what’s most important to them.


Being unprepared for this fact can be fatal to a deal, so it’s important to understand how people make decisions and how we can help them make the right one.


Making Choices


Imagine that you’re going away on vacation, and you have to tell someone else how to select the perfect hotel for your trip. 


What are the most important elements? Price, location, food, ambiance, service? Do you care more about the room or the spa? 


“Well, it depends,” you say. Depends on whether the kids are going. Depends on what’s near the hotel. It may depend on changes in your financial situation or whom the trip is for. Maybe you’re just not sure where to start. As my wife would say, “quit asking me so many questions!”


This conundrum is the reason so many of us hate planning trips. We’re just not sure how to make the best decision. There are too many variables, and we often aren’t sure what’s important to us until it’s too late. 


For this reason, we either don’t go, or we go and realize we’ve made a huge mistake, or we just play it safe by going with the brand that has the best reputation.


(I can’t stress the importance of that last option enough. This is why many of us lose to the “IBMs” in our space. They are the safe option. As they say, “No one gets fired for going with IBM.”)


Now, let’s step into the world of a decision-maker. If they make the wrong decision, the consequences are huge. They could lose political capital, lose incentives, or worst of all, get fired. 


And to top it off, they usually aren’t as confident in nailing down the important criteria in buying your solution as they are in picking a hotel. They have been to lots of hotels, but may have never bought your solution. The bottom line: they need help.


The Eye Doctor Test


Think about your last visit to the eye doctor. She asks you, “Can you see this red barn? How about now?” 


“This one, or this one?” as she clicks back and forth between two lenses.


It’s simple, she just asks you to choose between two options. When narrowed down to a simple choice, it’s much easier for people to make a decision about which one of the two they prefer. This is a useful tool for helping the decision-maker define what they really care about. 


After learning about their list of key decision-drivers, have them choose between two of the most critical options to see which one he or she would choose as most important. If you continue that process, the one or two most important decision drivers will come into focus (I couldn’t resist).


And as always, make it about them. Use this 2 Word Solution to help frame up the decision for them


Putting it Into Practice

Here are some additional tips to ensure you have an accurate grasp of the most critical decision-drivers:


  • Know all the possible decision-drivers in advance. If you know all the possibilities, it is easy to see if criteria are missing and you’ll be much more fluid at comparing and contrasting within the list.


  • Remove price from the list. Price is always a concern but, ultimately, it’s about establishing the payoff of embracing your solution. You can best demonstrate this if you focus on the decision-drivers related to how your solution can benefit the consumer. To start the conversation, ask the question: “Other than price, how will you make a decision to choose one company/solution over another?”


  • Often, the more informal drivers, and more important drivers, are NOT revealed through the questions you ask, but by the behavior of the decision-maker. So, focus on the questions they ask about your solution, what they seem most interested in or concerned about, and past decisions they have made.


  • Conduct the “eye doctor” test until you have narrowed down the top three criteria in order of importance.


If you want to learn more about selling virtually (successfully!) in today’s new digital landscape, be sure to check out our Virtual Selling Skills Program.  And drop a comment down below to start up a conversation!


As Co-founder and CEO, Tom’s primary role is to create content that helps people live, sell, and serve more effectively. Find him on LinkedIn

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