How Options Help You Close More Sales

Published on December 12, 2017

For the past thirty-five years I have used option selling to help close business. and neuroscience reveals why this works so well. It boils down to choices, engagement, stress, and risk aversion.

Traditionally, sales people go for the trial close and just offer one solution. If the prospect does not feel the risk is low enough to do the deal, or if it does not address all of her needs, she will opt for the answer of no risk, which is NO! In option selling you give the prospect three options for how to use your services.

Neuroscience tells us that when prospects have options, it lowers their stress level and engages them in a more creative thinking pattern. It psychologically changes the question the prospect is facing. Facing a traditional sales model, customers ask, “Do I work with this vendor?” In option selling, the customer asks, “What is the best way for me to work with this vendor?”

“Do I work with this vendor?” is an either/or question that leaves little room for maneuvering; if the risk appears too great, then the prospect will opt for no. “What is the best way for me to work with this vendor?” is a question that allows the prospect to simply concentrate on how to work with you without being forced into a yes or no answer.

So what are the options to offer your prospect?

  • Option 1 should be the grand solution with all the trimmings.
  • Option 2 should have something less than option 1 but still hit the sweet spot of the customer’s needs.
  • Option 3 should be the low-price offer that does not fully address the customer’s sweet spot.

While option 1 is often more than a customer budgets for, they always compare the following two options to the grand solution. Everyone wants option 1, and some (maybe 20 percent) will take it. Option 2 is the offer more than 50 percent will choose because it costs less than option 1, yet hits the sweet spot. Option 3 comes in below the customer’s need, but financial realities usually lead some to opt for this.

Those are the details, but the key to option selling is that you are giving control to the customer. As a Sales and Leadership expert, I have repeatedly seen that when customers have control to make their own choices rather than being forced into a yes/no answer, they will be more amenable to finding a way to move forward. Let the science work for you. Neuroscience tells us when people feel they have control, their stress is reduced and they are in a more creative space to make something happen.

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