Use the "Alternate Choice Close" to Seal More Deals
By Ted Ings, Executive Director
“Choice” – An act of choosing between two or more possibilities. A range of possibilities from which one or more may be chosen. (Oxford Living Dictionaries)
"Choice" is often described as the ultimate expression of free will. We all like to have choices because they make us feel in control of our lives and we want to be proactive rather than reactive.
We believe that the more options we have, the more likely we are to make the right choice and find the product that best suits our needs. Yet that isn’t entirely true. We live in an age of unprecedented choice and having so many options can make it harder for us to reach a final decision. But there are ways for you as a salesperson to use choice to close more deals.
The Psychology of Choice
The psychology of choice is a complex discussion that requires more space and time than we have available here. Suffice to say, studies have shown that when presented with too many choices, people often make no choice at all.
The key to the choice close is limiting choices and getting an affirmative response from your customer
Choice by its very nature means giving up one thing for another and this makes it hard for people to reach a decision because we fear making the wrong choice. When you are asked to choose between two items, the choice is relatively simple. You can quickly decide which item best suits your needs. There is a mathematical reason for this - with a choice between two options, there is a 50% chance of getting it right. When you have five options the chance of selecting the right one drops to 20%. And the situation becomes a whole lot more complicated when the options increase to over 20.
The more items you add to the choice, the more factors you need to consider and the more difficult the choice becomes. We tend to second guess ourselves and think, what happens if I make the wrong choice, what happens if I change my mind in a month or two, what if something better comes along in the next week or month?
This means that having an abundance of choice doesn’t necessarily lead to a positive outcome and can, in fact, result in the paralysis of the decision-making process. And this is something that you want to avoid at all costs. But not every choice needs to be between the right option or a wrong option, it can also be between two equally good options.
As a salesperson, you need to control the conversation and learn how to use choice to your advantage so that you can help your customer reach a decision and, more importantly, make a purchase. It is up to you to narrow your customer's choices and focus their attention on what they want and what you are offering.
The Alternate Choice Close and how it works
One of the most effective closings is called the alternate choice close. The choice close is a multistep process designed to get an affirmative answer or commitment from your customer, often with regards to making an appointment and starting the sales process. This affirmation is not necessarily a commitment to purchase, but rather a step in the right direction.
The alternate choice close works by basically giving your customer a choice of two options, but the key to the success of this strategy is that either answer is a positive, minor agreement that ultimately leads towards a major decision. When using the choice close, you are not asking a yes or no question, you are asking an either-or question.
For example, you don’t say, “would you like to meet tomorrow?”, because that is a yes or no question and gives your customer the opportunity to shut down the conversation
You don’t say, “When would you like to meet?” because that doesn’t narrow their focus. You ask, “would you like to meet tomorrow morning at nine or tomorrow afternoon at three?”
That question doesn’t give the customer the opportunity to say no, they simply make a choice between morning or afternoon. And this is an affirmative choice because it is good for you either way. The customer is committing to an appointment to discuss potentially buying a vehicle from you. And this brings you one step closer to closing the deal.
When the customer is seated in front of you, you can continue with your choice close strategy and follow up your initial success with more choice questions. For example, you can show your customer two financing options and ask them which one they would prefer.
Or you could show a customer the same vehicle in two different colors and see which one appeals to them more. You can ask, “do you prefer to make a 5% or 10% deposit on a vehicle? Would you prefer your vehicle to be gold or silver?”And with each choice, you get one step closer to closing the deal. You are giving the customer choices, and making them feel good about the sales process, but the choices are all affirmations.
The reason the alternate choice close is favored by so many salespeople is that, when used correctly, it can be the most-simple, yet effective, close you ever make
The choice close is a successful sales strategy because it works in two ways, it helps you discover what the customer is truly interested in and it allows you to gain agreement from them. They will not necessarily be agreeing to a sale (yet) but the more agreement you gain from the customer, the better they feel about their decision, the more they trust you and the easier it becomes to close the deal.
All the smaller choices that the customer makes during the entire sales process helps you build a rapport with them, and when you ask them to make a decision to purchase, you have already established a foundation of trust and the customer feels like you are both on the same page.
Your goal is to help your customer decide to buy a product from you. To do this effectively you don’t have to understand all the science behind the psychology of choice, but you do have to know it exists and you need to understand that when presented with certain options, people will react in certain ways, and make certain choices.
You need to help your customer reach a point where they are willing to forgo one alternative for another and buy a vehicle from you. This is an effective way to close the sale.