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Myopia and Contrariety in an Epoch of Diversity

An illustration.

On Tuesday, I was sitting at a fast food restaurant where I picked the menu. It had only three options to choose from that all came with fries and drink. The three options were chicken fingers, a cheese burger, or fried fish. That was it. I took a couple of seconds to think about it and asked for a burger. The answer was obvious to me. My meal came hot and it was filling.


On Wednesday, I was sitting at an upscale coffee shop. A waiter came up to me and gave me a coffee menu. It had 14 flavors and styles of coffees and teas with a variety of add ons such as whip cream, cinnamon, powdered sugar and so on that you could choose from. I took much longer this time. I was conflicted about what was the best for me. What if I choose the wrong coffee? What if there was a better one besides the one I ordered? Needless to say, I felt insecure about my decision because I knew there was probably a better coffee somewhere on the menu and I didn’t choose it. The coffee came in very fresh and smelling quite tasty. I enjoyed it but somewhere inside I wondered if I made the right choice.


I experienced a paralysis, a decision paralysis.


Why was it that when I had limited options it was easier but when I had far more options there seemed to be more at stake? Don’t people want more options to choose from? Isn’t that where we get our freedom? Then why does it feel so uncertain and unsafe? What is it about limits and boundaries that comfort us?


This is the contrariety.


More options equals more power to choose which gives a sense of control over our lives. There is freedom in choices. This is the epoch of diversity in which we live. People want to be able to choose but at the same time don’t feel confident about what they choose. In the end, there is more insecurity and doubt that arises. There is a sense of fear that sneaks its way up those thought processes and lingers. “What if you’re making the wrong choices?” it asks. Our job, as business people, is to learn about our client’s needs and address them. Do they want options or will they be overwhelmed? Once you know that, you can guide them to certain pre-made combos, deals and/or packages for sale or you can customize your product and services in all the details to fulfill their needs. Here is an example of how we do packages. The options can then come out on display for them.


For now, instead of focusing on the vast array of preferences and privileges, let’s take on a more myopic focus. Let’s bring it down to something much more attainable. Our coffee shop can have three choices as well. Option 1: Hot coffee with a muffin. Option 2: Iced coffee with a cookie. Option 3: Unsweet Tea with a cookie or a muffin. Doesn’t this alleviate so much? Why do you think that every restaurant and food joint has combos? It is much easier to say, “Combo #3” instead of “Large, iced, non-fat latte with caramel drizzle.”


Sometimes clients don’t know what they want. That is perfectly fine. They want to know what is available without being put on the spot. If they are made uncomfortable, the sale will be lost. Pre-made packages and combinations of your products and services allows them to think about what would best fit their needs. This can ignite their creativity and imagination. The greater the vision they have with your product and/or services in their future the greater your opportunities for the sale become.


Best wishes – Fabian Lopez

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