It’s a common scenario: you need a few groceries so you stop by the local supermarket on your way home from the office. You walk into the store and check your list. First item up: bread for sandwiches. Easy enough! You make your way to the bread aisle.
Holy moly. You stare down the aisle at the number of options. The seemingly healthy whole wheat? Plain old Wonder Bread®? How about gluten-free, low-carb, fortified or multi-grain? Which brand? Which price point? Your eyes scan the aisle as you take in the price tags, the packaging, vast array of options. On second thought, wasn’t this the week you decided you want to swear off carbs? You don’t really need the bread. You hustle out of the store, sans bread. Or worse, you grab the first loaf you see only to realize it wasn’t what you really wanted in the first place!
Fast forward to a Monday morning presentation from Agency Z. Z is pitching for your new email software business. Bells and whistles for deliverability speed, bandwidth and creative templates flood the PowerPoint deck. Your eyes glaze over as you review the scope proposal. You zone out. Your iPhone beeps and you pick it up, your mind already off to the next task. You know you need to make a decision but surely it can wait….
Customers want choices and the freedom to choose, so the more choices the better… right? Wrong. Presenting too many options to your clients can leave them overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, particularly in B2B scenarios. It can also increase buyers’ remorse, and no one wants that!
We say we want freedom of choice, but the psychology behind our actions when faced with choices tells a different story. So how can you position yourself well when presenting your company’s assortment of solutions to a potential buyer?
- Put yourself in your client’s shoes and prepare accordingly. Listen to your customers’ needs so you know what options to present. According to a recent McKinsey study, approximately two thirds of B2B deals are lost before a formal RFP process begins. It is crucial that your company completely anticipates your client’s needs and presents workable solutions that can be implemented quickly. Effective pre-planning can increase your chances of being selected before the procurement process formally starts.
- Present controlled choices. Give your client options within reason. More is not necessarily better, as noted by Barry Swartz in a Harvard Business Review article. While choices create empowerment for the consumer there is a tipping point where the marginal utility gained from an extra option levels off and ultimately diminishes. An overwhelming range of choices without a clear understanding of how those options each impact the client’s business can actually be a negative deciding factor. Present a portfolio of solutions that has been tailored to your client’s need but still allows your customer to make the ultimate decision.
- Check your urge to “over-sell�? by focusing your pitch on what matters most to them. You know your company is unparalleled. Your solution is best in class, and you have a long list of satisfied customers. You want to sell Company X on why they simply must buy into your concept and how they need to get onboard right now. Take a deep breath. Make a mental list of your top offerings that directly link to their pain point or need. Step back and read the room. Now take another deep breath, and cut that list in half. Resist the urge to inundate with information, and present only the benefits that are most important to them. This provides them with the information they need to make a choice without overwhelming them with data points of lesser importance.
By listening and empathizing with your customers so that you can be strategic in the options you present, you can positively influence their choice and win your client’s business every time.