Too Many Choices!

Have you ever been mattress shopping? Well, recently the decision was made in my household that we needed a new mattress. Yes, after 18 years or about 6,570 nights of faithful service, my mattress is ready to be retired. I think the backaches are a good indicator that it might be time.

Obviously, it has been years since I have shopped for a mattress, and I am really enamored with what I’ve heard about the Tempurpedic mattress. So I visited their website, and here is what I saw: A beautiful website with so many choices I could barely get started! Yikes! I have to admit that I am not the best shopper when it comes to doing research, and many of my purchases are made with relatively little investigation. Yep, looks good – sold! I know, I know! That’s not the best way to make a big purchase. I just don’t have the patience, and that impatience has led me to make mistakes in some purchases (okay…many purchases) over the years. (Conversely, I just bought new carpet from a vendor who offered just two choices and one pricing option. His price per-square-foot included labor, installation, padding, and removal. Easy? Yep!)

So what does all of this have to do with you? It’s simple. We have to make it easy for people to make a decision in our favor. Too many choices, too much information, and too much coming at you makes many people (like me) who have a decision-making disorder freeze and make a decision—of NO decision. As salespeople, we have to recognize that offering too many choices isn’t a fast track to a decision. It’s a sure-fire way to slow the process down, create a longer sales cycle, and trigger unnecessary objections. People are busy, and if you ask them (ME) to think about so many different angles, possibilities, and options, you won’t accelerate the sales cycle.

Vendors who charge for many different components and processes actually sell less. Automakers learned that lesson: Remember the days when you would order a car and the list of options was so long it was actually impossible to understand and review every possible option? Today, thankfully the automakers have reduced the individual choices, creating packages and bundles to help people like me with decision-making disorder get what we want—and make a purchase.

Offering fewer choices does not mean less value or lower revenues. It does mean a better, quicker path to happy customers making the decision to purchase. I don’t care if you sell carpet or a highly sophisticated service—the issue is the still the same. Make it easy for me to learn WHY I need you, WHY you can help me be better, and HOW to make my decision. I am amazed the number of times I have seen people lose a sale because the prospect did not understand the offering—in many cases, because of too much information, too many choices, and too many charges for various things.

I will get my new mattress because ultimately I will do what I usually do—call the company (in this case, the nice people at Tempurpedic) and ask a million questions so I can make a choice and move on. Yes, that’s the secret here. I want to make a choice and be done with it. Can you say that you have made it that easy for your customers? Next month, I will offer more insight in how to make sure this isn’t happening to your sales campaigns….

Stay tuned and good selling!

3 thoughts on “Too Many Choices!”

  1. Great point Todd! This gets to the heart of the Sales challenge – of course the perception of complexity and choices can be our friend initially, because the skillful sales person can guide the prospect to the ‘right’ solution by simplifying everything for them. This has to be done well, so that their best interests are well served. If we expect customers to guide themselves then our websites and materials must present simplicity from the start.

  2. I was drawn to this post because in my personal experience, having zillions of choices thrown at me in rapid succession and without sufficient time or KNOWLEDGE to be able to make an informed and well-thought-out selection, I not only am not READY to make a choice, but I feel exposed and intimidated.

    Thank you for validating my feelings. Just reading this piece motivates me to want to learn more, even though I’m not in the business of selling…or am I? Isn’t everyone in one way or another?

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