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Are you offering your customers TOO MANY choices?

December 1st 2005

Are you offering your customers TOO MANY choices?

Are choices always good?

Are you offering too many choices to your subscribers? How reducing customer choices sells more.  It has been taken for granted that more choice is good for customers. But is this true?

New research says it's *not* true that more choice equates with more sales. The new research suggests that you are much better off as a marketer if you can identify a customer's needs and circumstances, and then present that customer with a *small number of choices* based upon what you have found out.

One reason why a good salesperson can increase sales is that a well-trained and experienced salesperson functions as a very selective filter. Rather than presenting lots of choices to the customer, the good salesperson *focuses in* on that special one or two choices most likely to excite the customer and get him or her to buy.

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The good salesperson does this by sizing up the customer's situation. How? By asking questions. Then, using what we call "matching", the good salesperson says something like "based upon what you have told me, I recommend you consider the Green Widget #17, Size B from my company and here's why."

The customer, instead of being bewildered by a seemingly endless array of choices, or feeling taxed by having to make a complex decision with lots of variables, feels relieved. And most likely, the customer will be in a much better frame of mind to accept what else the salesperson has to say, and to buy more.

This matching process is critical to selling more. Yet, many of our clients offer their customers all sorts of choices and as an article of faith they assume that more choices will lead to higher sales.

But customers need *guidance*. Without guidance, the pages of options, plans, colors and terms are lethal to making the sale.

How few customer choices mean more customer sales

This has all been proven in what is called The Jam Experiment, discussed in Dr. Barry Schwartz' provocative new book, *The Paradox of Choice*.  In the Jam Experiment, test subjects were given a taste test of various jams. Each subject was given a discount certificate good towards the purchase of any jam.

After the taste test, the subjects were split into two groups. Members of the first group were exposed to six jams and told they could purchase any of the six using their discount certificate.  Members of the second group, also armed with their discount certificates, were shown *30* different jams and offered any of the 30.


The results? In the first group, with 6 choices, 30% of the members purchased at least one jam. But in the second group, with 30 choices, *only 3%* made a purchase!  The moral is clear: to sell more to our customers, we *must* narrow down the product line that we present to our customers. We must perform the narrowing in such a way that the few choices that we present to a customer are those most likely to be desirable to *that particular customer*.

And how do we do this? By first *asking questions* to find out the customer's needs, wants, circumstance and situation. And then, utilizing the answers, we need to do what a good salesperson does -- create a customized recommendation for each customer.

A customer confronted with a thoughtful set of a few recommendations is *far* more likely to stay loyal -- and spend more money than an unguided customer confronted with a competitor's entire catalog.


Copyright(c) 2005 Sponsera, LLC. http://www.sponsera.com Sponsera provides high quality Internet leads to local businesses like yours. Sponsera helps therapists find clients at www.CapitalCounselors.com  Therapists can go to www.Clients4Therapists.com for information or contact Richard Geller at rg@sponsera.com or call 703.407.1089. This paper may be reprinted on a website provided you do so in its entirety including this section.

By Richard Geller
Richard founded his first successful company at age 18. He is co-founder of a number of franchises and venture-backed companies including Amazing Media, an advertising technology company. He has written four business books and has given talks at the Washington Press Club, the Wharton Club of DC, and George Washington University, among others. He has been widely quoted in Entrepreneur Magazine, Investors Business Daily and other publications. He is currently co-CEO of a company that provides leads to professionals such as dentists, therapists and even dog trainers.  Contact Richard

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Keywords and misspellings: marketing

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM