Alternate Choice

Posted on May 15 2009

Sometimes, it pays to have an alternate choice. It’s the weekend, and you want to hang out with a group of friends. You are the first to say “let’s meet over drinks or a bite to eat!” Someone says “what did you have in mind?”. Often the response is “I don’t know – it doesn’t matter to me”.

If the person who suggested this in the first place, also had an alternate choice and included the phrase “How about we meet at this bar or that pizza joint”, do you think an immediate opinion would emerge? Of course there would, but if there are too many cohices, we might become paralyzed while deciding. In the end, we might say “don’t worry about it – I’ll stay in”, or go off to a movie on our own.

In business, we call this Analysis Paralysis. It is a very costly and destructive situation. In some situations, we need an alternate choice to limit the decision maker’s options. An alternate-choice close presents the customer with a simple choice; Regardless of which choice the person makes, the decision is made.

“Do you want black or white?”, “Do you want fries with that?”, “Cash or credit?” limit simply decisions to parameters that ensure the decision can be quickly made.

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