The Paradox of Choice – Selling in Hyper Competitive Markets

The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice

So many media choices are available. Considering this paradox of choice, how do local businesses choose what’s best?

I recently attended a BIA/Kesley webinar entitled Local Media Sales Performance. The webinar reviewed findings from a survey conducted with media sales reps. There was a lot of interesting information regarding the increasingly complex life of local media sales consultants. However, I kept coming back to one thought. I kept thinking about The Paradox of Choice. Firstly, the paradox affects local media consultants. Additionally, it affects the local businesses the consultants serve.

In the past, the prevailing media mix for small and medium-sized businesses was relatively simple. It included local newspapers, yellow pages, and direct mail. If their budgets were substantial, companies added radio, television, and outdoor.

The Rise of the Internet

And then came the rise of the internet. With it came a blistering pace of new local media choices. This is accelerating today with social media, cellphones, and Apple products.

Our daily lives are riddled with a tremendous number of choices. And this graphic is obsolete! The increased choice is typically considered to be a good thing. However, at what point does the number of choices become overwhelming and confusing? Herein lies The Paradox of Choice. More options and more flexibility are great. But more confusion and complexity often accompany this.

paradox of choice

Imagine you’re an SMB owner or manager trying to market your business. When there is so much to chose from, how do you know what’s best? Who do you listen to? Who can help you navigate through all the choices so you invest your precious advertising dollars wisely, remain competitive, and realize your business goals?

The Paradox of Choice: Traditional Choices

During the webinar BIA/Kelsey shared information from their Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) Wave 15 report, 4th quarter 2011, confirming that SMB’s are struggling to make sense of the new media world. While they are clear about the traditional choices, 79% of them are confused by or don’t understand the myriad of digital choices available, and 46% of them are not clear on the ROI of digital media.

Media companies that help buyers make informed decisions about which solutions are best for them will differentiate themselves and become the trusted partner SMB’s are so desperate to have. This is vitally important.

So how can media companies do this? This is done by establishing a clearly defined process and selling model for their media consultants. SMBs should use this model to establish the criteria by which they will determine which media solution is best.

Buying criteria should be established in four areas.

  1. Media options are vital.
  2. Establish how the provider supports options.
  3. The provider’s qualifications as a partner are important.
  4. Consider the investment the client is willing to make.

These categories provide the media consultant with an opportunity. They must now differentiate amongst all the alternatives available. Firstly, criteria must be identified and understood. Secondly, the evidence must be presented that the criteria will be met. The buyer should deem the criteria credible. Lastly, the buyer needs assurance of value and a clear means for determining which alternative is best.

Developing buying criteria is a critical step when selling in a competitive environment.

  • It de-commoditizes the media solutions by establishing criteria for the “best” media option, support, provider, and investment level. This is vital.
  • Buying criteria circumvent price as the only differentiator thereby protecting margins.
  • Furthermore, it establishes the media consultant as a valuable and trusted partner.

Your company needs a process for your media consultants to help clients establish buying criteria. Help your clients establish buying criteria. We look forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences dealing with “The Paradox of Choice”. Reach out to AXIOM Sales Kinetics today. We have over 30 years of top-level sales management experience. AXIOM Sales Kinetics is a world leader in our field. What’s more, we are here to help. Call us today.

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Note: Interested in listening to BIA/Kelsey’s sales webinar referenced in this article? The following offers a link to an on-demand video version. Check it out. The findings will blow your mind.

Thriving (Or Not) – A Revealing Look Into the World of Local Media Sales Consultants

Watch it now.

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