MAKE ‘EM THINK (that they have a choice)

MAKE 'EM THINK (that they have a choice)

Imagine walking into a car dealership where only one car is available for sale. What about sitting down for dessert at a fine restaurant but only one menu option exists? Choice is everything! As consumers, we love having options and we feel empowered when we are given the opportunity to make choices and customize our selections.

In previous issues of Monday Morning with Marty, I've shared how too many choices can be overwhelming to our guests. They shut down and default to the lowest choice.

Another important factor, and today's topic, is guiding the selection process by asking the right questions. Specifically, asking questions that are designed to match more guests with premium products.

Read each of these questions aloud:

•Would you like to do the package?

•Would you like to upgrade your ticket to include our Dining Plan?

•Do you want to add the giraffe feeding to your admission today?

What do these questions have in common? Each elicits a specific response--YES or NO. Pretty obvious, right? When we ask our guests YES or NO questions, that's what we're going to get-YES or NO. If the goal is to convert more guests to premium products, stop giving them the option of saying NO.

Remember when I said that consumers like having options? Instead of asking do you want the package? start assuming that they DO want it and move on to WHICH options they want. For example, a guest arrives at your science center and shares with you that he has a few hours to stay and play. We decide to recommend the Best Value Pass which includes choice of IMAX and Planetarium shows. Rather than asking him if he would like the Best Value Pass (or not!), we need to assume the Best Value Pass and move on to selecting the options for this package. Here's how it works:

Based on what you told me, I recommend the Best Value Pass. Which IMAX show would you like to see?

The answers to this question are not YES or NO. They are, of course, the shows that are playing in IMAX. By framing choice this way, you've shifted the focus from do you want the product or not to which IMAX show do you want. That's a significant shift and it does wonders for your bottom line.

Here are some other examples of how to encourage choice while continuing to guide the sale toward packages:

Choice between two packages:

There are two different ways to experience our park today. You can do it from the air with our Zip 'n' Zoo Day Pass or you can do it from the land with our Land-lovers' Day Pass

Choice between two products:

I recommend a lanyard to hold your ticket today. The come in red, orange, or blue-which color do you prefer?

When space is limited:

You're going to love the Lemurs! Up Close Day Pass. I have availability at either 1 or 3 PM. Which time can I reserve for you?

It's great to have options and to be able to choose. When we can effectively shift the options from DO you want... to WHICH do you want, we've satisfied our guest's need to be in charge while maintaining our own ability to control the sale and guide product selection.

Have a great week!

"We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice."

Stephen Covey