Being able to serve your clients in too many ways can actually hurt your business. A slew of research shows that the availability of too many options can confuse prospects and paralyze customers. In psychologist Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice, he talks about how an abundance of data leads to angst, indecision, regret, and ultimately lowered satisfaction with both the purchase process and the products themselves.
As further proof, take the Columbia Business School experiment, where 30% of consumers who were given 6 choices bought some jam; only 3% of those confronted with 24 choices did.
The same is true for businesses who claim to solve too many problems. Let me demonstrate through my own clients’ examples:

The Leadership Coach Who Held Everyone’s Hand

My client Gina, similar to many other coaches I’ve met, called herself a ‘leadership coach’. After all, she was certainly a qualified and credentialed coach. She had been helping companies with a multitude of leadership issues for many years. When I asked her what specific leadership issue she had helped with, she ran through at least 6 different aspects of different pain points that she’d resolved. Unfortunately the Paradox of Choice was hurting her. She couldn’t differentiate herself from hundreds of other coaches calling themselves the same thing and offering the same plethora of choices. Through our niching process we were able to research and hone in on a much more focused positioning for her: A Decision Making Expert.  It turned out that the manufacturing industry that she was focused on had a huge problem in this specific area of leadership. And so her company now only markets itself based on teaching mid-level managers how to make better decisions. Once she gets clients through her very specific and differentiated messaging, Gina is able to cross-sell them everything else. Less choices offered to prospects, less confusion, more sales

The Accountant Who Counted Everyone’s Beans

Phylis (*not her real name) was a partner in a multi-million dollar accounting firm with at least 10 letters (designations) behind her name. She had invested her brains out in media with negligible ROI in the past, targeting any and every company in the city. When we began to work together and did the research, we found that a natural niche for Phylis’ personal networks was that of small construction companies. Their biggest concern was how to be more profitable. They didn’t care about any of the 7-10 different services she usually offered them. Their bottom line was their bottom line. In fact, the way that they talked about the problem was in the complaint that ‘they were underquoting jobs’. This was fascinating insight which we used in Phylis’ marketing. We have since started to implement messaging in Phylis’ website, blogs and presentations that speaks to exactly this specialty of profitability.

Are You Offering Too Much?

How can you know if you’re offering too much as a business and if it’s hurting you? Well, look at if you want to grow more than you did last year. Then look at your plans to increase that growth. If the two don’t align, you clearly have to change something. For example, if every year you grew 15% but this year you want to double that growth, then you need to significantly change something in your funnel or marketing to account for that change. The biggest sales growth will come from repositioning and refocusing your offer and the language of that offer to your prospects.
The next time you go onto your own website, take a look at how simple the choice is for your clients. Ask trusted people in your target industry to do the same and count the times people have been confused about what you do. Then ask an expert to take a look at your messaging and then change it to achieve your growth dreams quicker.
Want to reposition your messaging to grow your leads? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch my Podcast on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk.

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