Play Into Your Clients’ Autonomy Bias

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Today we’re talking about Autonomy Bias. That’s the big fancy way of saying… we like choices. And framed the right way choices help get folks to actually choose an adventure and commit quicker. Humans don’t want to be told what to do. Instead, we want to feel like we’re the ones calling the shots. And if your marketing efforts can tap into this desire, you’re going to close more business.

We Like Options

In 2013, researcher Daniel Mochon from Tulane University conducted an experiment involving purchasing a DVD player. Remember those? Any who. One group was shown just a Sony product. Another group was given a choice between Sony and a Phillips product. Can you guess what happened? Mochon found when Sony was the ONLY option, just 9% of the participants said they would buy one. But when the Phillips option was added, 32% of participants said they would purchase the Sony player, even for a technology that was quickly becoming outdated! From 9% to 32%. Nearly quadrupling results. That’s pretty significant.

Here’s the Thing…

When faced with just one choice, the focus becomes on whether you want that individual item. Add a couple of other options into the mix and things begin to get interesting. Instead of trying to decide if you need the item (in the above example a DVD player) or not, the internal conversation becomes… which one of these items do you want? Tuck that thought away for a minute or two. I want to talk to you about another very interesting study.

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Remind People They Have a Choice

Are you familiar with BYAF? It stands for: But You Are Free. This little phrase is going to be something you’ll want to keep in mind. Here’s why… In 42 studies involving 22,000 participants, researchers found that adding the BYAF line can double your success rate of closing a deal! And… …it doesn’t even have to be those exact words. You could say: “The choice is yours.” Or “It’s up to you.” And you’ll get the same results. So, it’s clear having a choice can be good for your business. But there’s also a point where you can provide too many options.

I have one more study for you — it’s the famous jam experiment.

In this study, researchers put samples of jams out for testing in a grocery store. On different days the researchers would put out different numbers. Some days as few as six. On other days as many as 24. Here’s what they found. When they had more jams on the table, they had more people stopping by the table to sample. But… and this is a big but… They had fewer people purchasing. Researchers found people were 10 times more likely to make a purchase if they visited the table when it had fewer jams available. Yep, we like our choices and our options, but we also need to understand when enough is enough.

What to Do With This Info

Providing customers with a sense of control and options is a big unlock. Here are three takeaways:

  • Humans like choices, so as you are preparing vacation options for your clients, always provide options. One scenario is the Good, Better, Best trio.
  • No more than three. It’s true we want choices, but we can overcomplicate things. Too many options can push your customer into feeling overwhelmed. When that happens, you’re not going to close the sale.
  • Don’t forget BYAF. But you’re free is a powerful way to close your presentation. Open with, “Here are three options.” Talk about why you included each one. And end with, “But the choice is yours.” Another variation of this is: “Of these three, what’s going to be easier for you?”

That’s autonomy bias. Allow people to feel in control and you’re going to be closing more business. Hope this was helpful. If so, quickly share with a few others in your circle!

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