Are three options more persuasive than one in a proposal?

Good things come in threes, they say, and maybe that’s true in proposals as well, if Alan Weiss is right. Weiss, the author of Million Dollar Consulting Proposals, suggests that offering a low-, mid-, and high-priced option in a proposal allows your client (or boss or department inside your organization) to choose based on their needs and budget—and to feel that they are in control of the decision. Weiss claims an 80% acceptance rate for his three-option proposals.

You can see a clear example of his three-option pitch on his website offer to license his Million Dollar Consulting® intellectual property. He provides potential buyers with Option 1 ($5000); Option 2 ($25,000); and Option 3 ($50,000).

I tried his method recently when I proposed a series of classes to a long-standing client. I suggested three pricing options, believing that the client would accept the middle option or possibly the lowest price option. I wish that I could tell you that I was right—but life happens, eh? After much discussion, they turned down all three options. It was a solid proposal and something that, by their own admission, they need. Someday, perhaps, we’ll talk again about my proposal. In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing the three-option proposal when I make other training bids.

What do you think? Could you use three options in your next proposal? Let me know how it works for you!

(My thanks to Tara Powers of The Powers Resource Center LLC for suggesting that I read Weiss’ book).

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