I first encountered the impact of too many choices several years ago. I was in a greeting card store, standing in front of one of the many racks filled with colour and images and words. I had already walked up and down the aisles twice, yet there I stood, unable to not only make a choice of what card to purchase, but not even capable of picking up a card to read the message it offered.
“It didn’t used to take me this long to choose a birthday card,” I said to myself. “This used to be a quick errand. What’s my problem today?”
Then I thought back a bit and realized that my decision-making was quicker when I had less choice. My perfectionist streak, which has me believe there is a perfect card for both the person and the occasion, meant that a store filled with options was (and still is) a decision-making nightmare.
I walked out of the store without buying anything.
This same scenario plays out for me at the grocery store, when I’m shopping for clothes or making a decision about electronics. If there are too many choices – or if I’m not sure I have enough information – I often make no decision at all. I’m guessing this happens to some of you as well. I know it happens to our customers and clients.
What helps is having input from someone else. For example, when my husband and I do the grocery shopping together, we talk it out – what’s the salt content, what’s the sugar content, what’s the price, etc. etc. Between the two of us a decision gets made and something gets added to the cart.
No matter what your product or service – retail, hospitality, consulting – you can – and should – help your clients and prospective clients “talk it out”.
One of the best ways is to provide information on what other customers have done, especially when you can show a lot of similarity. For example:
“Young families tend to favour this vehicle because of the space available for children, dogs, groceries … .”
“This phone tends to be the choice of most entrepreneurs because … .”
“Other restaurant owners find that including a coupon in their advertising helps them … .”
Another way to help with decision making is to share your knowledge of the industry or product. For example:
“In my experience, this product lasts longer than the others. The price is higher but you save money because you don’t need to replace it as often.”
“I’ve certainly received rave reviews over the years about this museum. If you only have time to do one thing today, I know you won’t be disappointed.”
“I work with a lot of small business owners and they are definitely pleased about … .”
Many of your customers and potential customers want to buy something from you but are struggling to make a decision. By offering them the input of your knowledge and experience you can help them … instead of leaving them to make no decision at all.
How are you helping your clients make decisions?