How much time do you have to capture a potential buyer’s short term memory to sell you products? 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute? But wait… you have so much to offer. Many companies think “more is better,” but in the real world, long lists of features and benefits will also cause prospects to disconnect.
I don’t know what to eat?
Selling a large array of features and benefits is an effort that can ruin your business. In a study conducted by Sheena Iyengar, Columbia Business School Professor and international expert on choice, it was discovered when buyers had to choose between a smaller display of grocery products and a larger presentation of options the smaller display sold more products at a rate of 600%. In the same study it was also discovered 97% of people who were shown the larger display of options chose none, whereas 30% of prospects bought at least 1 item from the smaller display. I’ve often seen companies lose great opportunities by leading with a key feature only to lose the sale when they showed the prospect all they could do for them. Like telling a person you have great chicken and when they see a huge buffet of Thai, steak, spaghetti, fish, pizza, cake, ice cream… they don’t know what to eat.
There is no black and white
Buying products and services is a cognitive process to evaluate all options. In most cases, buying a product is not a “black and white” answer of hard value such as price over use. Soft values must also be considered as most buyers have bosses, procurement processes, political adversaries, operational requirements, and other things to get done by end of month. When you present an exhaustive portfolio of solutions, then prospects must go through all of the hard and soft obligations for each feature, solution and option you propose.
How to Chunk
Chunking refers to the approach of making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information. Chunking takes a list of solutions and groups them into classifications. The resulting chunks, or groupings, are easier to commit to short-term memory and comprehension of value that enable buyers to have quick clarity in their decision process. Which in turn helps shorten sales cycles and enable sales peoples’ to focus their efforts. Here is a strategy for chunking to consider:
- Break large amounts of features and benefits into groups based on usage
- Align the groups of features and benefits into categories based on customer needs (solutions)
- Organize the categories into manageable units and give them a brand name
Streamlining a large list of offerings into brandable groupings will help shorten sales cycles and enable sales people to reduce buyer hesitancy and improve commitment to purchase or trial.