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Build a “JOLT Effect” Sales Force

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Apr 10, 2023

The JOLT Effect logoIndecision occurs at moderate to high levels on 87 percent of sales calls.

Your sales performance is dramatically affected by buyer indecision.  Anywhere between 40 percent and 60 percent of deals today end up stalled in “no decision” limbo.

The Jolt Effect research discovered High Performers use four techniques to conquer buyer indecision.

J. Judge the indecision,
O. Offer your recommendation,
L. Limit the exploration,
T. Take risk off the table.

To review the JOLT Effect, watch co-author Ted McKenna's 2:40 explanation. 

Whether you believe great salespeople are born or developed, there are two options to improve your organization’s ability to overcome customer indecision: Hire JOLT-ready reps or develop JOLT skills in your existing sales team.

Hire JOLT-Capable Sales Reps

The Jolt Effect dedicates a full chapter to building a JOLT–capable sales force. Since the JOLT Effect only discovered this pattern of indecision by observing and analyzing recent research, it’s likely you have JOLT-effective salespeople already on your staff.

Observe your effective JOLT salespeople. Figure out what experiences or credentials they have in common. Their performance can differ by behavior. One rep may be superior at limiting exploration, yet poor at judging indecision. High performers can improve through training as well. Until the JOLT effect studied the patterns, there were no means to identify these four techniques.

The Jolt Effect - Playbook for Overcoming IndecisionThe purpose and mission of JOLT behavior are to overcome buyer fear rooted in deep-seated biases against errors of commission, and their fear/worry about failure.

Indecision is solved only when the sales rep properly manages perceived pain, pushing past inaction, and reducing fear of action.

This teaches us two things to look for in hiring and developing JOLT behavior:

  1. The selling role is more than persuasion. The best JOLT sellers realize their job shifts at some point from one of persuasion to one of motivation. The salesperson needs to see their role to push past indecision. This will present itself clearly in interviews and observation.
  2. Demonstrating JOLT behavior is a seller's choice. Am I increasing or reducing fear? It’s a choice made every day, on every deal, and in every conversation. Evaluate performance based on this view.

Start by pressure testing assumptions about the job profile. Is your organization screening for the right skills and experiences in candidates?

JOLT Effect Free Tools from the Book Since hiring salespeople is a different selection process than any other hiring effort, I recommend using a profiling effort/assessment as input into the selection process. Two I recommend: or Both can help you determine the criteria for hiring you should set up for your specific industry.

Do consider candidates who are non-salespeople as options. Where might those candidates be found for your business? When I was in radio sales I constantly recruited. A waiter or waitress might be an ideal candidate to give your business card and recommend they contact you.

The JOLT Effect suggested internal ideas for good candidates including customer service staff, or outside your business, consider customers who have already purchased your product or service.

Past sales performance might be considered good candidates since they have a track record. Go to, to download their Interview Guide for JOLT Effect skills.

Interview Guide - JOLT Effect Skills

Develop JOLT Skill Sellers

JOLT sales skills are not foreign. We’ve all offered recommendations, whether it be a restaurant or possibly an automotive repair shop. A professional salesperson might however feel foreign in reversing their trend of increasing buyer fear and overcoming the status quo. They’ve most likely been using this tool for some time.

The Jolt Effect - How High Performers Overcome Customer IndecisionAdopting JOLT methods doesn’t mean throwing out your existing Sales Process. Since overcoming buyer indecision and buyer’s fear of failure is probably not in your current sales process, adding JOLT elements can be considered a booster to your existing sales process.

Without JOLT methods you can continue to expect losing would-be wins due to indecision or fear of failure.

Sales management is a critical factor in training. The JOLT effect recommends focusing on average sales performers versus your best and worst salespeople. Average performers are more likely to have “happy ears” and get too excited by a buyer who appears ready to buy. Role-playing and the Coaching Guide (download here) The JOLT Effect offers are tools sales managers can use to test their team’s ability to overcome indecision. Sales managers may need to get creative on developing measures to “take risk off the table” to offer their team methods to overcome buyers’ fear of failure.

JOLT Effect Coaching Questions -General Indecision-1The best advice to overcome buyer indecision. Choose both methods but get started today!

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

70% of Americans are overweight.the-comfort-crisis-summary Heart disease kills a quarter of us every year. These medical issues were nonexistent before 1900. The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter looks at how modern conveniences may be ruining our lives, and what to do about it. We look at these trends and why just 6% of us believe the world is improving next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityDiscipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

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NEXT BLOG – The Comfort CrisisThe Comfort Crisis Michael Easter 

Topics: Sales Process, Sales Training, Sales Discipline, Sales Indecision, The Jolt Effect, Sales High Performers

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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