Hyperchoice has been a hot topic in the retail industry, but hasn’t received much attention in the professional service industry. After writing a white paper on the topic for an analytic software client, we started thinking how our professional service organizations could benefit from understanding the trend.
Even if the word hyperchoice is foreign, the concept will be familiar.
Hyperchoice occurs when the sheer amount of options a buyer has causes them to become frustrated, lengthening the research process and/or abandoning the purchase altogether. We often assume that the more choices, the better. However, according to a University of Texas study on the psychological effects of consumer hyperchoice, it often leads consumers to experience confusion and regret. Research shows that when given less options, customers make decisions quicker, have more confidence in their choices and experience less post-purchase regret.
Reducing Hyperchoice in the Professional Service Industry
Limiting options in order to increase sales might seem counterintuitive at first, but simply requires applying a different mindset to your marketing approach.
1. Focus on Referrals
Regardless of the sophistication level of your typical customer, everyone gains confidence in a decision when they receive a referral from a trusted source. Recommendations often cause a purchaser to limit their set of options to only those they’ve received referrals on.
Efforts to develop strong referral partner relationships are proven to produce significant returns. Be creative in how you reach out to referral sources. What motivates these professionals and would make them feel special? How can you get their attention? Invite referrals to a special event at your facility. Send them something they could use in their business. And don’t forget to stay in touch. One-time actions are soon forgotten.
2. Simplify Your Proposals
The proposal process presents a great opportunity to simplify your customer’s decision. Yet all too often, a proposal is viewed as an opportunity to showcase everything you can do. But remember that you don’t want to overwhelm your potential buyer.
If you’re at the proposal stage, your prospect already knows your breadth of services. Take advantage of this chance to showcase how your most relevant solutions will impact them. Demonstrate that you listened to their needs and keep it short. Don’t try to sell every service. Your customer will appreciate your efforts to simplify their decision.
3. Customize Your Message
If you aren’t already, you should be using targeting and segmentation methods in your marketing efforts. Customization of your message is another step in this process. Regardless of your communication method, there is no reason to send the same message to everyone. Tailor your content based on the recipient, their industry or demographics and their needs.
Small steps such as using variable print options to customize a brochure based on the recipient’s background can go a long way. On your website, be sure prospects can find valuable information, specific to their situation, quickly.
4. Get Back to Basics
Above all else, don’t forget to position yourself as a trusted expert in your field. Nothing can replace face-to-face communication where you get to know someone, understand their needs and use your service expertise to recommend the appropriate solution.