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Make Less Choices Sound Like More

Offer too many options, and they get overwhelmed. Offer a single take-it-or-leave-it, and they get offended. Designing choices to offer is serious business.

Paraphrased, psychologist Barry Schwartz says: “Clients want more choice, but are generally happier with less.

That’s a nice brain twister, but it can also be practically used in your case.

Let’s talk about choice architecture: behavioral science says that how you formulate a question will change the answers you will likely get.

And people

Now, for an example: the decoy price

Have 2 valid options:

1) the uncomfortable but fully functional bare minimum at a minimal price you are happy with

2) the rich, almost-over-the-top solution that makes the client feel they are indulging themselves

In this situation, science says most people will go for the cheaper option.

Now, add a third offer, which is asymmetrically dominated, meaning it’s worse in every way than option 2) but has some advantages and disadvantages to option 1). If all three are offered, science says most people choose the most expensive option.

This is what I mean by choice architecture: the additional option gives the illusion of more choice, while not really being a real choice itself – it’s a decoy.

It sounds paradoxical that this would work, and it kind of is, it’s founded on the above-mentioned “paradox of choice”. Nevertheless, it does work, so try it!

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