Steps to Management Success – Step 67: Give People Choices

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010


Give People Choices

You wouldn’t walk into a clothing store and expect to see only two or three suits or dresses, would you? As a consumer, you expect choices. P.S.: So does everyone else! The original Model-T Ford sold in only one model and one color, which was fine until the car industry became more competitive. If your industry is competitive, you’ll be more successful if you offer people more choices too.

WHAT IT MEANS: Offering more choices—not just in products, colors, and styles, but also in range of services, delivery options, and payment terms—makes it easier for customers to buy from you for two reasons: you’re increasing your probability of meeting their needs or preferences, and you’re making it easier to do business. For example, on eBay, there are some vendors who will accept only a money order or a cashier’s check whereas others accept PayPal and all major credit cards. All other things being equal, which vendor would you choose?

ACTION PLAN: Scout your competition—and even companies in related industries—for ideas on how you might expand and diversify your product selection or service offerings. Are other companies offering more flexible terms that you could emulate? Make sure to get positive feedback from current customers, focus groups, et cetera, before proceeding to a full-scale rollout.

EVEN BETTER: Factor more choices into your product-development plans. For example, if you’re a product manufacturer, consider offering an economy model, a standard model, and a deluxe model. There is safety in diversification—and often a greater opportunity for profit.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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