I've been out of the car market for a while and am back in it these days shopping for my parents. It all came right back as to why I don't love car shopping. Looking at and learning about new cars is fun. The shopping, not so much. 

While you may have decided on the make and model you want, car dealers do their best to throw all the options at you when it comes time to purchase the vehicle.

"We have the model you want; what trim level do you want?" 

"How are you financing it? We have options for that." 

"Where are you planning to service it? We have options for that." 

"How are you planning to use it? We have options for that." 

It's exhausting. Thus the reason my parents are stepping away from the initial fray of the conversations. They've done enough of these transactions over the years, and it's time for them to have a break!

The dealerships use this as a sales tactic. They know that if they throw enough at you, you'll hit decision paralysis and either stop paying attention to the details or say, "Whatever, give it to me, and let's get this over with." 

Overwhelming your prospects

In a situation like buying a car, it's easy to see how the overwhelm becomes too much, and the dealership damages the experience for the prospective customer. But how about in your own sales process? Are you doing this without realizing it? 

While it may seem like a good idea to let people know about your laundry list of offerings and then let them choose, it’s overwhelming and often leads to a non-decision. 

"We can do fully insured, level-funded, self-funded. We can carve out the Rx, add DPC, use RBP, and include a service for steerage. It will be great! You'll have so much control, and your employees will love it!"

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What you've done there is given your employers a J.O.B. Now they must learn about all of this while understanding how the pieces work together. 

If they want to stick with a fully insured plan and you bring in 10 plan options, again, you're overwhelming the system. It's just too many choices to feel good about the decision. 

Psychologist Barry Schwartz's concept of the "paradox of choice" explains that having too many options can lead to decision fatigue and make it harder to get to a decision. It's common for people to become anxious and overwhelmed, and when they finally make a choice, they may feel unhappy and wonder if another option would have been better.

Not a great way to start a relationship. If you're going for a sale, it's entirely possible you'll end up without a new client.

Be the expert

When you watch prospects make seemingly irrational decisions to stick with a broker you think is not a good fit, look at the options you presented. Maybe sticking with what they have now, even if it’s not working all that well, may be better than wading through the piles of options you proposed.

The prospective client is hiring you to be the expert. They expect and want you to play the role of the advisor. Do the research, do the vetting, and provide them with the best solution to solve their need. If you make them do the work to make a choice, you’re no longer the expert or a trusted business advisor – you’re simply a vendor.

Next time you’re going to present your plan offering to your prospect, ask yourself: 

“Am I being the advisor and offering the best solution to improve their business? Or am I simply compiling available options, not making a recommendation, and leaving the prospect with the job of research and decision-making?”


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Photo by Elnur