Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Selling to the Choosy in their choosing

More and more people in work are consciously aware of their role contributing to Sales.

They may not be in direct two way communication with their customer- yet they are aware or say that they are aware that the decision maker or influencer has a choice. In service industries in particular they are aware we have a choice.
For example I may buy my airfare for business and so act as a true decision maker or have someone buy it for me in which case I am an influencer.
BA have reintroduced their “We fly to serve “slogan.  On landing the plane ,their pilots whom we may never see, yet alone speak to, thank us for choosing their airline.
The burger from Burger King is offered as a choice “have it your way”
One’s coffee from Starbucks is expressed as“ happiness” is in ( my) choice.
Selling has been described as asking for a decision whilst buying is about taking and making a decision. 
There is a discipline becoming increasingly popular called psycho economics – behavioural economics.  For salespeople this is of interest because it often helps to explain behaviour which they encounter in buyer behaviour which helps to explain the mix of rational and emotional motivations at paly in the buying journey.
Many choices for Buyers in Business are between things that are not that much different. The value of choice depends on your buyer’s ability to perceive differences between the options
Psycho-economist Sheena Iyengar   from Columbia University in a TED talk studies this area of science see link below.
Her studies have shown that the average number of choices made in the day is 70 decisions in a typical day.
A similar study on CEO’s  time in decision for their task  that in a week  a CEO will work on  139 tasks each of which has many sub choices but  the study revealed  50%  of the decision  were made within 9 minutes or less,  only 12%  were  in an hour category.
Many buyers are overloaded with choice. One tap on the pc and they are hit with overload.
So  the work of Sheena Iyengar on what is going on in the methods we use to choose is of interest to us.
 Sheena did a study on choice at a food store to measure how shoppers react to range of choices.
Jam tasting booth experiment
When 6 flavours of jam were offered   40% stopped at the stall.     30 % buy

When 64 flavours were offered 60% stopped at the stall.       3% buy
So that might show us that the more choice you offer the better. But  what percentage of those who stopped by bought?
For the 64% flavours stall 3% bought

For the 6 flavours of jam stall 30% bought

What this suggests to Sheena is that even if we choose to participate if the range of choices is very broad we are more likely to avoid choice. Her studies also show that even if it is in our best interests , the very broad choice puts us off choosing.

Sheena suggest 4 ways to make better choices

1.    Cut   less is more   Apparently the average supermarket has 45,000 items. Wall mart 100,000 items. Yet the 9th biggest supermarket however is  ALDI  who narrow their choice offering to 1,400 products.  

2.    Concretization   This is an important technique for those in intangible services that it is vital to make the consequences of the choices in a vivid way.  Alternatively get the buyer to envisage the positive consequences of their choice.

3.    Categorisation   Sheena’s studies show we can handle more categories than choices. In an experiment with categories of a magazine rack in a shop her research showed that   400 magazine (choices) split into  20  sold more than  600 magazines split into  10 categories.

4.    Condition for Complexity – gradually increase the complexity  Start off  with easy  choices in your presentation .

Sheena’s  studies  showed that the sequence in choice a car choice worked better if the sequence started with say choosing out of four gear shifts and steadily build to choosing say from the 56 colour choices keeps buyers more engaged than starting with the vast colour range of 56 colours  and then onto the choice of gear shifts.
Links related
 7 Effective ways to close

Pat Brenner’s Behavioural Economics site

TED talks on Behavioural economics on Choice and Choosing you might find interesting

Sheena Iyengar

Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our decisions? -

Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice -

No comments:

Post a Comment