I used to love the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series by Bantum Books back in the 1980’s. There was something about being dropped into the middle of an adventure, whether it be time travel, private investigator, spy or mountain climber. Each turn of the page meant a different fate that would come to me as the reader. As an adult, I wish I could make decisions so easily, and flip back the pages if I don’ t like the result! In the “Choose Your Own Adventure Books” I could make one choice, and end up in a totally different space than the other choice would have led me. Difference is, as a child, we could go back and read the book and flip to our second choice and have a different adventure. As an adult, there are no do-overs, and we can’t go back – only forward. Typically, this is where I meet most of my clients, when they are paralyzed in choosing one adventure over another. So how do you choose your adventure?
We are faced with hundreds of choices a day. From choosing what to wear in the morning, to choosing which employees to hire. Choosing if we want to grow or sustain. Hire or fire. Buy or sell. Keep or trade. From the methods of advertising we use, to the networking groups we join, to the type of business cards we buy – we have thousands of choices to make, and they all impact our business in some way. So how do you choose your own adventure when there are so many choices to make?
Narrow it down – Studies have shown that the more choices we are given, the we are likely to procrastinate making a choice. MyHubby and I went to a dessert restaurant in Boston last weekend where they had dozens of dessert choices. MyHubby chose not to choose – there were too many choices, so he said “you choose!” I sat and studied the menu and broke down the choices in groups – I decided I wanted chocolate – so that eliminated many of the choices. I wanted something with whipped cream, so that eliminated more choices. I also wanted something we could easily share. That brought my choices down to two. From there, MyHubby was able to help me choose. We got the Boston Creme by the way, and it was amazing. This method can also help your customers and clients make choices with your products and services. We think we are being generous by offering a big menu to our customers, but studies show that when offered less choices, customers are more apt to buy. If you have a wide array of services or products, help your customer to narrow it down to two choices by eliminating what they don’t want, or highlighting what they do want.
Make it Visual – The reason technology companies like Apple are so successful is they offer product comparisons of their own products. Should I get an Ipad mini 2 or Ipad mini 3? With two mouse clicks, you can see a side-by-side product comparison with pictures. By creating a visual of your products and services, you help your clients make choices faster, thus reducing the time in your sales cycle. It may be cliche – but the good ol’ pros vs cons list is a handy tool because it works.
Only make big decisions – As a business owner you are faced with hundreds of decisions a day. By the end of the day, our brains are fatigued – it’s had to calculate decisions and make choices from what we eat at lunch, to large purchasing decisions like new equipment or personnel. Give your brain a break and streamline the easy decisions. Pre-pack your lunch so you don’t have to decide if you want Subway or Chipolte, or if ordering out is the only option, keep a list of “favorites” to hand off to someone else and they can choose what to get for you. Think about all the decisions you have to make today, and ask yourself “Do I have to make this decision, or can I delegate this to someone else?” A few years ago, I was a manager of a call center, and I empowered my team to make decisions for our customers – if a decision cost the company less than $100, they could make the decision on their own, without manager approval. By empowering my employees to make managerial decisions, I had better team as a result, and I had less decision making fatigue at the end of the day, and could save my brain power for the big stuff… like if I wanted Boston Creme or Cheesecake.
This post is part of a 31 day series – Create Your Motivational Action Plan. To read the rest of the series – click HERE.