We face tough choices in business. You might have to make a decision you don’t really want to make—for example, whether to keep a salesperson or manager on your team—and keep kicking that decision down the road instead of facing it.
I understand! As relationship-based salespeople, we like people and value our relationships with them. It’s hard to know if our emotions are clouding our judgement, or even know what our gut is telling us. It’s even worse if we’re constantly battling decision fatigue. So what can we do?
Sometimes when you have a tough choice to make, it’s best to just flip a coin.
I know, you think I’ve gone crazy! How could anyone base an important decision on a random coin toss? No one should decide to fire a team member just because a coin came up tails!
Here’s the trick: You don’t have to do what the coin says. In fact, that’s the point.
The moment you toss the coin into the air, you know the right decision to make because you’re hoping for that result!
Obviously, hard decisions shouldn’t rely completely on your gut. So let’s back up, and make sure we’ve gone through a strategic decision-making process before that coin flip.
Build a Pros and Cons List
With any tough decision, I build a pros and cons list. We’re all familiar with the idea of a pro/con list, but if you’ve ever built one in a brainstorming session, you know they can quickly grow into a confusing mess that takes up a whole whiteboard.
There’s a method for making a pro/con list that’s actually usable. You need to weigh each pro or con on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how important it is to you. Additionally, you can weigh each attribute based on how strong it is.
For example, let’s return to that decision of whether to keep or dismiss a salesperson on your team. Your employee has an almost perfect attitude, but every once in a while, they’re late to meetings, and they’re really not the most patient person in the world.
A few items on your pro/con list may look like this:
Issue: Great attitude
Importance to my business: 10
Employee’s attitude level: 9
Issue: Shows up late to meetings
Importance to my business: 7
How much it happens: 2
Issue: Lacks sales activity
Importance to my business: 10
Employee’s effort: 3
We then add up our weighted scores. In this example, importance to my business is 27, and their score is 14. On paper, the decision is simple math. But it’s not always easy to trust our judgement, especially when relationships are on the line.
It’s As Easy As Flipping A Coin
Whether it’s your gut, your brain, your heart, or your subconscious, you probably already know the right choice somewhere. If you’re still hesitating after a careful decision-making process, flip a coin: heads they stay, tails they go.
When your coin is up in the air, you’ll know the answer—because you’ll be hoping that the coin comes up a certain way. If you were hoping it would come up heads, you know the way to go. Or, if it comes up tails, you may find yourself realizing you actually under-weighted the “cons” on your list.
Flipping a coin doesn’t just mean to “go with your gut” every time. It’s important to go through a strategic process with any hard decision. We rely on emotional decisions every day, which is usually fine—but it’s also why we get stuck when the decision is complicated or could be negative for another person.
The coin flip trick simply helps you move past emotions and complexity to find the best path forward. And it works! If you’re ever facing a tough choice, give it a try.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!