Fork in the Road

Choices. They typically help us arrive at a decision. Most of us do not like figuring out a path to aid our decision. If prompted with options as finite choices, we are fine to spend our brain power in comparing and analyzing the options before making a decision. Pick rather than compute – is the common behavior.


Is it easier to hunt for a smart phone suiting to your needs OR is it easier to look at the few options that have undergone a budget filter and now are waiting to be picked to “fit” your need? This is rhetoric – based on how most consumers act.

If you’re a prospect vendor waiting to serve your prospect customer, you already know that the customer is looking at a fork. He is talking to a few vendors, applying his filters and analyzing the proposals using his fork vision. Invariably, the most marginal “better” proposal of the stock will earn more magnetism – even if in isolation, the particular vendor and the proposal are mediocre and there’s a fitment gap.

You cannot undermine the power of the articulation in the proposal, as much as the truth about the client comfort with a forked decision attitude. What if you apply the “fork” principle in your proposal as well? Give legitimate options and valid approaches as finite choices – 2 or 3 models to pick from. You can even go ahead and put 1 option as an extreme deterrent (an option that is unlikely to be accepted in isolation). You then have the luxury to put forward the choices 2 and 3 as something that has a better chance of escaping the bargaining eye of the customer. Why? Because the subconscious of the customer has already made one decision – eliminate option 1; so, the next round becomes softer.

Not merely as a sales technique, but even from an expertise standpoint, it is better to present a “fork” to whoever you’re communicating with.

Primary and secondary. When fixing up an appointment, always provide an alternate day/time when talking about your first availability. Always suggest a comparative analysis between two technologies in your technical call. Two design approaches. Two pricing models. Three engagement strategies. Two plans and timelines.

And so on…

Think why we appreciate the world of multiplexes much more than the single-theatre era?

It’s all about forks. Everywhere. Since we like “seeing” and “picking” a particular choice, we should very well present it to others likewise.

Give a fork to everyone.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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