Remember when you only had three television channels to watch? Maybe not. Maybe your world has always involved choosing from among 7,000 movies and television or cable shows. I’m dating myself, but I remember when there were only two kinds of portable cell phones to choose from and both weighed five pounds and only came in black or gray. Your third option was to find a pay phone.
Oddly enough, as our choices have expanded our stress levels about making the right choice has too. Studies show that the more choices we have, the more difficult it is to make any choice, personal or professional. Sociologists have learned what most of us already knew, that we’d rather make no choice than the wrong choice. This goes for our clients too. If your company makes 75 different widgets for 300 industries you’re expected to be the expert on all of them so they don’t have to be. Your job is not to just offer a 75-flavor selection; it’s to offer a three to five flavor selection that will best solve your customer’s problem. To be able to do this, and do this well, you need to understand what your customer’s problems and needs really are. Then you can narrow their options down to the handful of (or just one) potential solution(s) so they don’t have to.
Many, if not most, of our customers rely on us to do just that. So next time you make a presentation, take time to explore as many of the options and solutions possible among your arsenal, then narrow them down to the three “best options” for your client. Be ready to give them a solid rationale about why these options are the best, and even have your own preference for what you’d choose in their situation. Your client will thank you. And, given that they only have to choose between three items, you’re much more likely to make a sale.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~ Albert Einstein