Choice Of Two

A crew of us were enjoying breakfast opposite the building site that feels worryingly incomplete at Cape Town’s world cup venue, as the 3½ yr-old among us happily turned our table into a race-track for his toy car.

When presented with menu options, the toddler seemed restless. Fortunately it transpired that a fellow diner, originally trained as a pre-primary teacher in her S African homeland, had a trick up her sleeve. She called it the Choice of Two.

When a youngster asks for something it can begin a trail that leads only to tears.  They may start off stating that they are hungry, and before you know it, only chocolate can end a tantrum.  Crucially, before you reach a request that they cannot have, you head-off trauma by jumping in with a pair of options. If you snooze and fall back on saying that their eventual ‘unreasonable’ request is unavailable, it is you that will suffer.

When they initially cite hunger, you then offer a choice of two items, both of which they can have. A classic example here would be to suggest either an apple or banana.  No mention of anything ‘unsavoury’.

And now I have witnessed this with my own eyes, I can safely report that not only does the kid take one of the choices, but they appear genuinely happy with the outcome.

I was quite impressed. Then it was revealed to me that this tactic works on adults too. Examples of a friend of mine’s wife successfully using this technique on him made me chuckle. But I immediately realised the solution selling potential.

There are times when we feel that a Buyer wants that which they cannot have (or we don’t think that they should). And perhaps here’s a way of re-framing such deals. Get your ‘choices of two’ in early and you can better shape the solution your way.

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