When you’re eating out at a restaurant, it’s always interesting to read the menu and see the different choices offered. Even if you go to a steakhouse, burger joint or a taco bar, you still want to have a variety of ways the featured food items are cooked or served.
Choice is good, but if you’ve ever been to a restaurant with a ten-page menu, you can spend more time trying to figure out what you want than actually eating. It can be confusing and frustrating. In addition to the menu, you’ve got specials, rattled off by the server, to add to the mix. No one wants a menu with only one choice, either. What is the happy medium?
Retailers have found that buyers with too many choices feel the same angst and frustration as diners with a lengthy menu. Carmine Gallo discussed this phenomenon in a Forbes article, “Successful Retailers Learn That Fewer Choices Trigger More Sales.” Faced with a large retail store with hundreds of choices, retailers who can come up with the magic three options can realize bigger sales.
Now to be successful, the second choice needs to meet the customer’s needs as well as the first choice. This takes a lot of careful listening to the customer, understanding their needs and knowing what particular products will match their criteria. Two choices are manageable, and three are the maximum.
Offering two or three choices that hit the mark with a customer makes the salesperson seem like an expert. They know how to listen to a customer, process the information and then match the right product with the customer. Offer too many choices, and the customer isn’t much better off than if he had to wade through the scores of choices himself. Retail clothing stores with personal shoppers know that bringing two or three outfits to a dressing room has a better chance for a sale then ten random items.
If you’re interested in a career in retail sales, you can take a tip from Gallo’s article and offer an employer a manageable summary of your skills and experience targeted to the job. Many applicants make the mistake of putting everything they’ve ever done on a resume in hopes that three pages or more will impress a prospective employer. The opposite is true. Too much information can be confusing and frustrating. Most employers won’t take the time to weed through paragraphs of job experience. By listing the top three accomplishments of each job, you make it easy for an employer to match your experience to the open position.
Employers want to see that an applicant has read the job posting and have determined that they have the right skills and experience for the job. Tailoring your resume to a particular position and listing only those skills, experience and education targeted to the job makes you stand out from the crowd.
A famous study, “Why Choice is Demotivating,” showed that offering buyers too many choices reduced the probability of making a sale. People like simplicity. Giving too many choices makes the brain overload. Tailoring your resume to the job and only listing the two or three most specific and impressive accomplishments for each job on your resume can help an employer understand why you’re the best option for the job.
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