The JOLT Effect Book Summary - The JOLT Effect Book explained in key points
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The JOLT Effect summary

Matthew Dixon and Ted McKenna

How High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision

4.6 (33 ratings)
16 mins
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    The JOLT Effect
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    Overcoming customer indecision is not about beating the status quo.

    For decades, experts have agreed that the key to making a sale is beating the customer’s preference for the status quo. The consensus around this idea has been so strong that it’s been adopted by just about everyone in the field. Unfortunately, it also happens to be flat-out wrong.

    In reality, missed sales opportunities aren’t primarily due to “status quo bias.” The real culprit is customer indecision, which accounts for 56 percent of missed sales. Though it may seem like a minor distinction, this “status quo versus customer indecision” divide actually makes a significant difference.

    Let’s explore this difference a bit more closely. It’s true that people usually exhibit a preference for things to stay as they are – this is the status quo bias. But an even stronger preference is people’s desire to avoid loss, or what’s known as “loss aversion.”

    It’s loss aversion that prevents so many customers from following through on a purchase, even when they admit they’d be better off buying.

    So, why do customers hesitate even when they want to change the status quo? Turns out, it’s due to yet another bias – the omission bias. While everyone dislikes making the wrong decision, the fear of making an active mistake often outweighs the regret of failing to take beneficial action. In other words, customers fear making a bad purchase more than they fear missing out on a great one. So, it’s easier for them to kick the can down the road rather than to sign on the dotted line.

    How, then, can salespeople overcome customer indecision to make good on a sale? Before we answer this, let’s discuss a common sales tactic that usually backfires: relitigating the status quo. This is when salespeople counter indecision by trying to convince the customer all over again to buy the product. According to Dixon and McKenna’s research, the relitigation strategy has a negative effect on 84 percent of sales attempts.

    Fortunately, there is a method for overcoming customer indecision. It’s a series of four strategies that’s been coined the JOLT effect. We’ll consider the first of these strategies, judging the indecision, in the next section.  

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    What is The JOLT Effect about?

    The JOLT Effect (2022) promises to shatter your understanding of sales techniques. Grounded in decades of research, this enlightening guide reveals how tackling customer indecision, not status quo bias, holds the key to sales success.

    Who should read The JOLT Effect?

    • Anyone working in sales
    • Small business owners or entrepreneurs
    • Consumers interested in sales techniques

    About the Author

    Matthew Dixon and Ted McKenna have each held executive leadership positions in product and research at the Austin-based startup Tethr. Dixon’s previous books include The Challenger Sale, The Effortless Experience, and The Challenger Customer, while McKenna is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

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