The Power of Options

Published on December 2, 2003

The concept of giving your customers a variety of options of how to buy your products and services is not new, but it still remains a powerful sales tool.

Let’s take a look at Disney World’s version of Option Selling. When you buy your park passes, you have several choices. First, you decide how many days you want the pass to be valid for. You even have the option of choosing calendar days (meaning the next three days) or “anytime” passes where the amount of days purchased does not have to be used up on one trip. This type of flexibility is good for both the customer and Disney. When you come back, they get to make more money on additional purchases like meals, merchandise and hotel stays, etc. If you have one day left on your pass, there is a good possibility you are going to purchase an additional day or two if you return. Plus, they have the use of your money in advance and you will be surprised at how many people never use the remaining days they have already paid for.

So now that you have decided how many days you are going purchase, your next decision is to buy a pass limited to certain parks or to purchase a pass to all the parks with unlimited entries.

As if this is not enough, you have yet another decision to make. Do you want to stand on long lines or zip right through the lines? This is called the Fast Pass option. You get to decide on certain lines if you want to wait or come back at an appointed time and zip right through. You can get better control on how you spend your day. This option is part of your ticket. You have it whether you use it or not. But Disney knows that just by including this option, they have already added a great deal of value which in turn has increased their incremental revenue.

When you offer options on how to buy your products and services, you create a very powerful dynamic guaranteed to increase your sales. If you only offer one option to your customer, you basically are forcing them to make a yes/no decision on whether or not to buy from you.

When you offer several options, you change the decision from being “will” they buy from you to “how” they will buy from you. This represents a new mindset for your customer, one which takes the pressure off of making the decision to buy and onto more important issues such as how they would like to use your products and services.

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