Three option selling is an extremely simple concept which will increase your closing percentage.  The biggest mistake made by newer sales people is NOT using this incredibly important and simple strategy.  The only challenge is being creative enough to pinpoint the three options you are selling.  I know you are wondering WHAT three option selling is; let me explain.

 

There is a trap into which average or below average sales people fall.  You must avoid this trap of “yes” or “no” land.  Consider the common denominator of the following questions:

  • “Do you want to buy my product?”
  • “Are you interested, Mr. Jones?”
  • “Do you need this service, Ms. Smith?”

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There is a trap into which average or below average sales people fall.  You must avoid this trap of “yes” or “no” land.  Consider the common denominator of the following questions:

  • “Do you want to buy my product?”
  • “Are you interested, Mr. Jones?”
  • “Do you need this service, Ms. Smith?”

Those are “yes” or “no” questions.  If you use those kinds of questions, you will be a below average sales person.  However, professional sales people sell in the world of “yes,” “yes,” or “yes.”  THAT is three option selling!  The professionals will give prospects three possible choices from their presentation.  The prospects may either answer “yes,” or they may answer “yes,” or they may answer “yes.”  Those are three really good options.

In order to present three options, you must first decide which is the right value proposition for the vast majority of prospects to whom you speak.  This should be the best item or solution for 60% to 75% of your prospects.  Therefore, that item or solution will be your middle option.  Although most sales people only pitch this one option, a sales professional will make this a middle option.  As an example, let’s assume you are a merchant services sales person.  You may offer a free tablet point of sales system which is an inexpensive solution fitting well with your market of Mom and Pop shops.  That’s what you want the majority of people to purchase and is, therefore, the middle option.

After you’ve chosen the middle option, determine what you can offer prospects who may desire something more – something on the “high side.”  Again, let’s assume you are a merchant services sales person.  You might offer an option to purchase Clover point of sale or NCR Silver, both of which are a step up from the free tablet point of sale system.  This will become your higher option for prospects who want something more than the middle option.

Now choose the third option by determining the prospects’ main objection to your middle option.  What would be the reason you can’t sell them even the middle option, much less the higher one?  Whatever the objection, you need a “lower” option to compensate.  As the merchant services sales person, you might offer the free terminal placement, month-to-month agreement, 40 basis points and 8 cents.  This lower option is basically so good everybody should at least do that.

When making your presentation, begin with the middle option as the “hook” introduction.  However, use the three options as you actually prepare to close the deal.  Notice the prospect’s responses, tone of voice, and body language.  (Even in a phone conversation much can be gleaned from the prospect’s choice of words and tone of voice.)  Is the prospect interested in or impressed with the middle option?  Here is an example script for this part of the sales process when the prospect isn’t interested in the middle option:

“Mr. Jones, I know I talked a lot about the Shopkeep point of sale (or whatever.)  However, I really want to talk to you today about our three options.  You tell me what you think works best for you and your needs.  First of all, we have Clover.”  (Go through the Clover pitch.)

If there is no evident interest in Clover:

“I would recommend our most popular middle option which is the Shopkeep point of sale we talked about earlier.  What are your thoughts on that?”  (Go through it again.)

Often prospects will choose the middle option now that they’ve “stepped down” from the higher one.  If the prospect says, “No, I’m not interested in that.  I don’t want to upgrade anything”:

“Well, let’s at least do this – you have a third option.  There is no reason not to do it.  It is a month-to-month agreement and a free terminal.  The pricing is really low.  This is a way for me to start a relationship with you.  I’ll be honest with you, Mr. Jones, my goal long term is actually to get you to upgrade to one of these other solutions which I know would provide more value.  But I respect the fact that you want to just start a relationship and get to know me a little better.  I certainly respect that.  So, let’s go with option number three.  It’s our least expensive.  There is a month-to-month agreement.  There is really no reason not to do that.  Once we move forward with that one and you decide to upgrade in the future, we can certainly do it.  Does that sound fair to you?”

Using this pitch will allow you to close a much, much higher percentage of deals.  There is not a “yes” or “no.”  There are only THREE OPTIONS:  “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”

My name is James Shepherd.  Thanks for reading!