Ever notice how our lives are immersed in the influences of three?
In life: Past, present, future – carbs, protein, fat.
In Religion: The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost.
In Fairy tales: The three bears, three wishes and the three little pigs.
In advertising: The few, the proud, the Marines.
In Sales: Three bids and the three options of good, better and best.
It would seem there’s power in the number three.
In the world of selling, giving the prospect more than one option – having them choose between good, better and best, will dramatically increase a salesperson’s closing percentage. But keep in mind, this is not an absolute.
The exceptional salesperson with an innate ability to get in real communication with a prospect and reduce the risk the prospect inevitably encounters will have a better chance of closing a sale, without having to resort to presenting three options.
However even for these elite, top 10% of performers, having three options available, whether it is three forms of payment, three software or hardware options, three forms of delivery or three pricing options, is a vital addition to their repertoire.
Why give the prospect a choice?
Because when prospects buy they think contextually.
Definition of CONTEXT: the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs: environment, setting From the Latin contextus, connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave together.
In other words when prospects buy, they view your product in context, in relation to something similar.
For example, in a home improvement purchasing decision the prospective homeowner, not knowing how much a project should cost, will generally demand three bids and evaluate each one against the other. Additionally, when faced with a decision to buy a laptop in a retail store the prospect will view it in relation, in context, to the laptops sitting next to it.
Contextual pricing in the retail industry is an art. Why focus the customer’s attention on one product with one price tag when you can solve the customer’s “problem,” or confusion, by placing the product you want to sell in between two related products with different features, benefits and price options?
People want to be able to compare to make sure that they’re not spending more than they should.
The solution is to adopt a contextual pricing strategy.
Give the prospect three choices. The secret in contextual pricing is offering related choices so that the customer feels comfortable making a decision.
In the Good, Better, Best option, the majority of customers will make the middle choice, the Better option.

This is strategic
because in most cases the middle (or Better) option is the option we assume they will buy, with hopefully 20% of the time (if presented correctly), the buyer taking the Best, which is possibly, but not always, the most profitable option. You can think of it in another way: he Good option is the one the prospect won’t want to buy.
The Better option is the one we want them to buy.
The Best option is the one they wish they could buy. This strategy also plays well to the salesperson on the street.
Thirty years of experience in sales and sales management has taught us that making a sales presentation “airtight” leaving little room for the inevitable alteration that the inexperienced and weaker sales rep will throw into your company’s well thought out game plan, is paramount.
Ensure success by creating marketing collateral for the salesperson (and the prospect) that lays out the pricing options in a clearly delineated fashion. Think of marketing collateral as a tool, nothing more, that when used correctly will help “make the case” for your product or service.
In a nutshell, don’t allow your salespeople to think, just do.
We are not talking about just teaching your salespeople to doodle numbers on a writing pad, but rather use upscale, professionally designed graphics to make their case.
Get creative.
For example, just like the marketing geniuses at American Express, (Platinum Card anyone – or would you prefer the Plum Card?) your three differing product lines or services can be given titles that reflect their perceived value.
Your “Good” line becomes the Bradbury Collection, your “Better” line becomes the Platinum Collection and your “Best” line becomes the Millennium Collection – that’s the one with the ruby inlays, extended five year warranty, two year 24/7 tech service and free coffee at Starbucks for a year – enticing, but a little beyond the budget of most of today’s 99%ers.
Common sense, and hopefully your influence, would drive the majority of your prospects to your Platinum Collection with its extremely practical leather trim, scorching fast boot-up time, two year extended warranty and one year of tech service, at a 30% savings. (Yes I am making these examples up.)
Don’t forget – these are very similar, but not identical products offering different features and benefits but with different escalating price points, not to be confused with the concept of price discrimination where the movie theatre offers the same movie to three different demographics; students, the general public and seniors, at three different price points.
There are other intangible factors at play here.
Every one-on-one sales situation is unique, but what’s interesting about the close is the fact that every prospect knows they are being asked to make a decision and prospects get nervous at this stage, as do salespeople.
Closing isn’t something you do to somebody, it’s a mutual experience you have with the prospect.
We know price is a huge factor in the decision making process, even for elite sales reps. Unless they have created an environment where a prospect is willing to tell them what’s really on their mind most prospects will never tell them the price is more than they bargained for.
Besides being confused, besides being fearful of making the wrong decision, prospects are too embarrassed to tell the salesperson the truth; they have their pride to protect.
So they smile, tell you how much they appreciated your time with them, explain that their partner needs to review everything or that they have two more bids to see etc., etc.
The sale isn’t made and your odds of making the sale after the fact are now one in ten.
In a sense, they have rolled out some of the planned obstacles (reasons not to buy) they practiced and reviewed prior to your arrival.
It’s instinctive, we all do it. Factually too much pressure is exerted on a prospect when only one option is presented.
Control the presentation and guide the process smoothly to a close by introducing a contextual pricing model that eases the emotional impact of making the wrong decision and vastly reduces the client’s perceived risk.
Additional Tip
When your prospect wants to make a decision yet finds themselves still confused by the three options you have presented never ask “which one do you like the best?”
You will only be compounding the confusion they feel and have them take time to “think about it.”
Instead ask them to eliminate the option they find the least attractive.
“Which one do you like the least?”
With one of the three options out of the way you are now able to exert your influence on the decision yet to be made between the remaining two.
After all they are buying you, aren’t they?
© 2013 SELLability Technologies LLC. All Rights Reserved.