What does the term cognitive fluency mean to you? If you’re in sales, it should mean a lot.

Cognitive fluency describes how simple it is to think about something. There have been several studies into the measure and they’ve all determined the same thing: People like things that are easy to think about. In other words, humans want to make an easy decision, not a hard one. If you’re in sales, this is the angle you need to work in order to be successful.

But this raises a question: How do you make a decision easy for someone?

We’ll make it easy for you. Here are six quick tips to help a prospect make the “easy” decision.

1) Pare your presentation down to the essentials.

Customers don’t like to be overwhelmed with a ton of information, according to Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman, but they do like to hear about the specifics that pertain to their situation.

This means that sales reps need to know the ins and the outs of their prospect’s business to deliver the most mentally palatable presentation. By spending a few extra minutes researching your customer, you’ll be much better informed about who they are and what they want. Check all the usual places, including LinkedIn, company blogs, and social media, as well as any industry-specific forums.

2) Ask questions.

Instead of you trying to convince your prospect that they need your product, asking questions prompts them to reflect on their circumstances and come to their own purchase conclusion. And a decision a person comes to on their own always seems easier than one forced upon them by a third party.

Open ended, simple questions are best.

3) Help rally the troops.

According to Karl Schmidt, Brent Adamson, and Anna Bird, an average of 5.4 decision makers are involved in every B2B purchase. That’s a lot of people. As a sales rep, it’s not only your job to convince the person you’re speaking with that your service offers value, but also the other people who get a say in the decision.

The easiest way to do this is to offer your assistance. Once you “sell” the first decision maker, it’s time to start a conversation with the others. That could be as easy as asking for their phone number or email and setting up individual calls, or one large presentation. Either way, helping your champion convince the rest of their team makes the decision much easier to sign off on.

4) Respond as quickly as possible.

Keeping it simple also means that you’re quick to respond so your prospect doesn’t have to wait around all day for answers to their questions. One study conducted by InsideSales.com found that the average response time is 61 hours. Yep, 61 hours. If you’re able to do better than that, not only will you beat the average, but you’ll also make a tremendous impression on the prospect. Getting an answer to a pressing question from you will seem as simple as pressing an “easy” button.

The best way to improve your response time is to set up an email system. When you receive a message from a prospect, give it a quick read and decide if you need to respond at this moment or not. Remember, great sales reps go the extra mile for their customers and prospects. Commit to answering all customer emails within a certain timeframe, and stick to it.

5) Answer questions before they are asked.

According to CEB, most B2B prospects go through the majority of the buying process before they even talk to a sales rep. They’re conducting independent research to assess the options and seek answers to their questions.

You know what buyers are after in these early stages: Information. So instead of sitting back and waiting until they come to you, why not proactively offer your assistance?

When you do your introductory outreach, include an informative piece of content that can help the prospect better understand your product. By sending along blog posts, case studies, and testimonials, you’ll be able to answer a majority of questions before they are asked.

6) Become familiar.

If a prospect is already familiar with your product or service, they equate that familiarity with fluency, according to UX Matters. In addition, Raj Raghunathan points out that being familiar with someone can actually result in liking them better.

With this in mind, familiarizing yourself and your product with prospects will make their decision much easier and more pleasant.

If you want to become more familiar with a prospect, a simple way to do it is to engage with them on social media. Tweet at your prospect or comment on a LinkedIn post to ignite a conversation. Seize the opportunity to develop a relationship well before you reach out about your product or service.

Nobody likes difficult. The next time you’re giving a product demonstration, reaching out to a prospect, or drawing up a proposal, strive to make everything seem familiar and easy using these six tips.

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Originally published Nov 20, 2015 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

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Creating Urgency in Sales