Freedom means choice. And the more choices we have, the more specific we can get with our preferences. This applies whether you’re choosing the best way to generate B2B sales leads or presenting a selection for your own prospects to choose from.

But what if not everyone is always so picky? Having so many choices can be just as restrictive as having none! Some of your customers might even be happier if you just simply gave them less. Finding that right, magical number really depends upon how well you know your customer base and your industry.

The biggest factor is the weight of lost opportunities. Making one choice means also giving up another one and possibly losing out on the opportunities they would’ve provided you. The more choices available mean the higher amount of opportunity to be lost. But on the other hand, not all opportunities are recognized as such so maybe there was never much of a loss to begin with.

How does this help you identify the symptoms of a poor selection?

More Loss than Gain.

This is an easily recognizable symptom. A product might look pretty good on its own but weight it against a group selection and its value drops quit considerably. Minor deficiencies become major. When your product is alone against the combined value of other choices, it will serve to outweigh its benefits.

This usually happens when you place too much faith in being a unique, ‘standalone’ product. If this is your angle, it’s important that you don’t market your products in a highly competitive space to begin with.

You’re Behind the Competition

What happens when your prospect has run through all your options? Obviously they just look somewhere else. If your selection pales in comparison to your competitors, expect prospects to burn through it fast (no matter how ‘wide’ it may seem).

You could have five products/services but if a competitor has one that beats all five, you lose. You could have a jack-of-all-trades package but can’t specialize in your rival’s niche, you lose.

There’s more to beating your competitor’s selection than just size. But unless you take that as a first step, you’re going to be sitting clue-less as to why none of your choices are being, well, chosen.

More or less, Your Ignore Your Target Market

As stated above, what exactly informs you when you present your selection? Is any of that supplemented by your knowledge of your target market?

If your answer is no, then you now know why giving the right number of choices is still a riddle. It’s possible that your audience likely includes all sorts: people who want more, people who want less, people who want this specific number etc.

What do you do? What else? Break them down into segments. Create buyer profiles. Do more market research!

The problem of not knowing how many choices to present is really, in of itself, another symptom. It’s a symptom of not knowing your target market well enough in the first place!