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The Illusion of Choice

My favorite part of the sales process, and one at which I take great pleasure in succeeding, is closing the order.

You’ll often hear me say that the sales process is all about control and steering your prospect through the process to your desired outcome. While still maintaining control, you create the illusion that the prospect is calling the shots, and this makes them feel empowered.

You can best employ this technique by using the alternative close through your sales process. Give your prospect a choice of solutions to pick from, while making sure that each answer is a good outcome for you.

A good way to create an appointment would be to say, “I’m free on Tuesday and Friday this week, which day suits you best?” In this example, the customer feels obligated to either pick one of your suggested days or come up with an alternative themselves. All answers lead to the creation of an appointment.

This closing procedure also works well when you’re looking to get an answer on a big decision. For example, when someone is looking to purchase a new car, you can hand them a small choice between two relatively simple options, both of which give you a positive outcome. For example, you might say, “Is it the black or the silver you would be looking to buy?”

At some point you’ll want to persuade a prospect to change courses from what they already know. This may take the form of moving from an existing service provider to your company, or trying a new product or service. In these circumstances, you can preface your alternatives with the phrase, “What is going to be easier for you?” For example, you might refer to the “choice” between “staying with your existing supplier and being disappointed with the results, or giving us a chance where you will get my personal attention?”

This simple preface suggests that both options are easy, but framing your solution positively strengthens your argument and makes it difficult for your prospect not to agree with you.

A final example of the illusion of choice is including the magic word “enough.” If you sell on quantity, this word allows you to grow your prospect’s order size, as long as you’re being reasonable. A great example would be a print company that typically sells 500 business cards per transaction changing their closing line to “would 1000 cards be enough for you?” This frame of reference will almost certainly increase the average order size.

Giving your prospects choices can help them make decisions more easily. The magic trick is that they made the decision you helped them design. Good luck experimenting with your new skills!