In this episode, Alex Mandossian talks about the remarkable power of three, referencing Goldilocks and the Three Bears. He discusses why three has more pulling power in copywriting and speaking in audio, and why giving three options to any sales offer increases the average purchase price and the value of what you sell. There’s something called too many choices. It’s the overwhelm of not knowing what to do next and it’s the paradox of choice.
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The Remarkable Power of Three
In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights, which I believe are critical to making you a highly-skilled ethical influencer. You’re going to discover why three examples of anything are better proof and more persuasive than having one, two, four or five. More is not better with influence.
You’ll learn why the first example and your third example, option or reason, those two, first and third, are more critical than the second option. The first and third need to be the most important. The most important of all is the third. The first is called the primacy effect, and the third is called the recency effect.
Finally, you’ll learn why giving three options to any sales offer increases the average purchase price and the value of what you sell. It will increase the amount of money you make. I’ve done it for many years.
Goldilocks And The Three Bears
The story you’re about to read is one of the most popular fairy tales written in the English language. It was written by Robert Southey in the nineteenth century and originally it was titled, The Story Of The Three Bears. Other versions are called Goldilocks and the Three Bears and I prefer that one because what I’m about to teach you is the Goldilocks Principle of Three.
What’s interesting is that there are three different versions of this story that has been told to kids and adults for over 100 years. Buckle up and I’m going to give you a fairy tale as I’m reading it. I’ll do some commentary in between and many times because I’m reading a story, you may think it’s not relevant to influence, selling or to building your business.
I want you to take the advice of Marcel Proust. You may not have heard of him. He’s a French novelist no longer living. He’s an essayist. He was a critic and he uttered one of my favorite quotes of all time. That is this, “True discovery is not in seeking new landscapes. A true discovery is seeking the same landscape with new eyes.” That’s the way I’d like you to view the story. Look at it through a new lens and I’ll do some commentary.
As I begin, I want you to keep reading. I hope that’s a good exchange because I’m about to start the story like every fairy tale with the same four words. Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest and soon she came upon a house. She knocked and when no one answered, she walked right in.
I already liked her. Rather than asking for permission, she’s willing to beg for forgiveness. This is a good ethical salesperson. This is the attitude you want. You probably had it as a child and then something happened as you grew up. Through rejection or anticipating rejection, you didn’t walk in. I don’t recommend it in trespassing but I like her attitude as the fairy tale goes.
At the table in the kitchen, Goldilocks came upon three bowls of porridge. She was hungry so she tasted the porridge from the first bowl. “This porridge is too hot,” she said. She tasted the second bowl of porridge. “This porridge is too cold,” she said, then she tasted the third bowl of porridge and she said, “This porridge is just right.” She happily ate it all up.
[bctt tweet=”Nothing empowers fluency more than learning the art of ethical influence.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
That’s the response you want with prospects who are converted into clients, customers, patients, students or members. When you give one choice, that’s not a choice. If you give two, it’s a dilemma. If you give three, you’re giving someone the option to make a discerning decision and they feel as if they have the freedom to choose. They make the decision and they are buying what you’re not selling them.
My good friend Keith Cunningham, he’s out of Austin. He says, “One equals slavery. Two equals a dilemma and three is the beginning of freedom.” That’s why I believe three choices with your copy, with your principles, or with whatever it is that you do, is the magic number. That’s why it’s called the remarkable power of three.
After Goldilocks had eaten the three bear’s breakfast, she decided that she was feeling a little tired. After all, her belly was full. She walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet and she said, “This chair is too big.” She sat in the second chair and she said, “This chair is also too big.”
Mama bear and papa bear’s chairs were too big so she sat on the third chair and it was smaller. That was the baby bear’s chair. As she sat down, she said, “This chair is just right.”
The key is when your prospect says, “They’re deciding. It’s a sigh of relief.” I’ve made the right decision. Four or five choices are too many. One choice is not enough. Two? Not enough but three, you have the freedom to choose and you feel, and your prospects feel that you have the ability to explore and activate your free will as in a sentient being.
I may be a little bit too dramatic for a fairytale, but I want this to sink in. Because if you get the essence of what I’m expressing to you, it will change your life in the way you communicate with others. Not only in business but with a spouse if you’re married, an ex-spouse if you’re divorced, your children, parents if they’re living with, friends and relatives. Three choices when appropriate are key and it’s easy to do.
She sits in that third chair, baby bear’s chair and suddenly the chair breaks and she hit the ground. As her butt hits the ground, the chair breaks into pieces and she’s a little bit startled but she shrugs her shoulders. She’s a tough girl and she says, “Let me go upstairs and see what’s up there.”
She was tired so she went upstairs into the bedroom. She saw three beds and she laid in the first bed and that bed was too hard. She saw the second bed, she laid in that bed and said, “This bed is too soft.” She saw that third bed, baby bear’s bed, and she said, “This bed is just right.” She fell asleep. While she’s sleeping, the three bears, papa, mama, and baby come home.
Papa walks in and says, “Someone’s been eating my porridge.” Mama says, “Someone’s been eating my porridge.” The baby bear said, “Someone’s been eating my porridge and it’s all gone.” Poor baby bear.
They walked into the living room, papa bear said, “Someone’s been sitting in my chair.” Mama bear said, “Papa, someone’s been sitting in my chair.” The baby bear said, “Someone’s been sitting in my chair and it’s completely broken to pieces.” I didn’t know what happened. Was the house vandalized? Was there a burglar? Somebody was trespassing.
They decided to walk upstairs. Papa bear went first to being the man of the house. As they walked up, all three of them approached the bedroom and all of a sudden, papa said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Mama said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” The baby bear said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed and she’s still there.”
At that moment, Goldilocks opens her eyes. She is scared to death. She screams. She jumps out, runs out of the room, goes downstairs, opens the door, runs away into the forest and never returned to the home of the three bears again. The end.
Power Of Three
What’s the moral of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? It’s not about winning. It’s not about entitlement. It’s not about Goldilocks being spoiled or doing things she’s not supposed to. I guess you could make that argument. For me, It’s about choice. Without choice, you can’t be decisive. It’s forced upon you. There’s no ethical influence unless you activate a choice and three is the remarkable number that allows choice.
When you’re making a decision, if you have one, then you’re a slave to that one. If you have two, you’re going back and forth, but if you have three, you can make a decision based on freedom and exercise.
Your free will as human beings and your ability to decide is probably your most important and remarkable skill. Some people do it instinctively and intuitively. Other people do it logically. Other people do it emotionally. Some do it fast and some do it slowly. It doesn’t matter.
If you have one option, it kills your free will. If you have two options, it’s a dilemma between free will, but if you have three options, then it’s the right amount of choices for you to decide on those three. It’s not a fork in the road. It’s a three-pronged fork. You can argue and you can disagree but stay with me because you’ll like what you’re about to read. If you have more than three, you could have four or five.
You can have four or five steps. You can have nine steps. I’ve heard nineteen steps. I believe that’s too many. Three is ideal if you’re not good at selling and if you are and you want to get a better start with three. If you’re not good and you want to get better, start with three.
There’s something called too many choices. It’s the overwhelm of not knowing what to do next and it’s a paradox of choice. There’s a book by Barry Schwartz, brilliantly written, and he has a TED Talk. It’s called the Paradox of Choice. In a grocery store, you have so many choices of brands. It overwhelms people and they end up not making a choice because they’re too many.
[bctt tweet=”Your free will as human beings and your ability to decide is probably your most important and remarkable skill.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
How many times have you confused your prospects with too many choices, too much information, too heady logical or too much of a decision to make? Remember, you win the heart first and then the head follows so three doesn’t get too much into overwhelm. Two is not enough and one is being a slave to that one decision.
The goal is to have the emotion like Goldilocks had to have the emotional impact of, “It feels right. The porridge is right. The chair feels right. The bed is right.” That’s the way your prospects are going to be thinking, “It’s right,” but you have to make that decision for them. You have to give them the frame. Let me give you some examples.
In boxing, there are groups of three, jab, jab, punch, jab, jab, uppercut, and jab, jab, hook. There’s three and you’ve heard of the fairy tale the Three Blind Mice. You’ve heard the story of the Three Wise Men. How about in the Christian tradition, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, there are three. I want to give you some examples of how I’ve taught over the years in these clusters of three and it’s important for your first and your last example to be the most important.
The second one is not a throwaway, but don’t make it the most important. The single most important point is your final one so you want to punctuate it. Without the first, the second and third are not possible so that’s foundational. The third one is the one that matters.
Primacy effect, that’s the primary thing they start with. That’s your first. The recency effect is a term in psychology, that’s the most recent thing and I believe that’s the most important thing you should do. When you do this intentionally, it changes your life and it changes the way you sell. It will create more credibility. It will be easier to remember.
Four or five choices sometimes don’t work as well as three. When you have an offer and you’re giving different options, I like to give three choices. I start high then go low, $100,000 package, a $30,000 package, and a $12,000 package.
You notice the precipice, the steep drop from a $100,000 to $30,000. If I said $30,000, that sounds expensive but compared to $100,000, then it’s not as expensive. Because of what my friend, Dr. Robert Cialdini talks about which is the Law of Contrast. We are sentient beings but we contrast and we compare. Probably a lot of suffering you’ve had in business issues compared to other people who are more successful.
What gives you hope is comparing to other people who have lost it all or less successful. Maybe you study biographies and they’ve lost any. You’re like, “There’s hope for me.” You’re a comparing human being. By contrast, that’s comparable. When in real estate, what do you do? You have comparables. When you are pricing things and consumer products. You’re comparing so take advantage of that and utilize the momentum in your favor when you are winning a heart and then the head will follow.
Examples Of Three Choices
I’ll give you some examples. I have three reasons why entrepreneurs fail. First, they don’t get started. That’s called procrastination. Number two, they don’t finish. That’s called perfectionism, that needs to be perfect. Number three and possibly the most important, they don’t continue before they succeed. They don’t continue until they succeed, meaning they don’t build momentum. That’s the Principle of Momentum. They quit too soon. They don’t start, they don’t finish and they don’t continue.
[bctt tweet=”The paradox of choice is having too many choices and not knowing what to do next.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
Which one of them are you guilty of? I’m guilty of all three. I’ve been in business for many years. Those are three why people fail and my students know this. They can pair it like I do because it’s easy to remember. Four and five are tougher to remember. Could there be four reasons people fail? Yeah, but I prefer three because if it’s not memorable it’s not worthwhile.
Why do people buy? is one of the episodes I had on in All Selling Aside. Number one, they know you. Number two, they like you and number three, they trust you. The goal of liking you, you want to make sure that they know you like them. What’s the most important thing is that they have to trust you in order to share some of their freedom, that’s their money, with you so that you can give them more.
How about three reasons why people don’t buy? These are models that I’ve taught over the years, but I want to show you how I use the remarkable power of three in my business and you can do it too. Why don’t people buy it? Number one, they don’t understand. Number two, they don’t believe you and number three, it’s not the right time.
If you’re selling life insurance to an eighteen-year-old without a family, there’s no reason for that person to buy. Once they’re married and have five kids, they have something to leave behind and their families at risk, then life insurance is better timing. They can understand what life insurance is at eighteen. They can believe what life insurance is. They can believe in it but if it’s not the right time, I always go after timing.
I ask people if they’re going to attend a mastermind of mine. What are you doing on October 25th and 26th? If they say, “I don’t have any plans,” then I begin my presentation. If I begin my presentation and try to get them to like what it is, know what it is, trust what it is, understand it and believe it. If it’s the wrong time, they’re like, “I’m going to a wedding.” It’s a waste of time, so go after timing first. That makes sense.
Let’s take a look at high ticket sales. This is where most people make the biggest mistake. They only have one offer. If you are selling refrigerators, I will take the prospect in a retail store to the most expensive refrigerator of three. Not five, seven, four, but three. The first one I take him to is the $3,000 model, the highest one and I’d say, “I don’t know what your budget is but this is our top-of-the-line. Here’s what it has,” I’ll talk all about it.
I’ll say, “It has two freezers. It signs their name in their ice cubes.” Whatever the features are and I’d say, “The second model,” I have to take away some of these features. I take away this and that, “but it’s still good and it’s $1,500. If you’re on a tight budget, then this refrigerator is $500. There is no freezer, but it does keep food cold, and it’s a break for someone on a tight budget.”
Which of the three would you like to learn more about? I’m simplifying but do you notice? With high ticket sales, they will go to the middle one logically and they’re more likely to buy the highest one. I have more $100,000 clients when I was doing client work than I had $30,000 clients. I would have never known that but the only reason I had those $100,000 clients is that I offered three choices.
What about when they’re ascending through your business? For many years and I still do this with my model as a teacher and trainer. Year one, I tell them you’re a student. Year two, you’re a coach or a mentor if you want to teach our work and I’ll give you the clients. You’ll get a piece of the sale by coaching them, but it’s not going to be money like you were attracting the clients yourselves because I have all the acquisition cost of the client.
I’m going to give you the clients, you get coaching experience. You’re training people with my work and then that will help you almost have training wheels if you want to have your own coaching business. That’s year two. Year three, that’s where you partner. You know the work as a student, you’ve been coaching and teaching the work and now, you’ve earned the right to be a partner.
That’s how I bring people in when they purchase the course for me. It’s not a one-year plan or two-year. It is a three-year plan and beyond. I’ve had students for over a decade for that.
I have a friend Joe Polish. He and I have discussed this over the years. His $25,000 Genius Network Mastermind is a network and it’s more than a mastermind. I’m in it. There’s also a $100,000 program called GeniusX. He says, “Don’t come in for a year. Don’t come in for two. This is a three-year plan.” Dan Sullivan, a good friend of mine, runs Strategic Coach. It’s a three-year plan. It’s the power of three.
Alexism: Three Key Responsibilities Of Business Leaders
The Alexism for this episode is the three key responsibilities of business leaders are, number one, define reality. Number two, protect the confidences of other people as well as yourself. Number three, communicate compassionately.
I learned this from a mentor of mine, Max De Pree, who used to be the CEO of Herman Miller. He’s an author and a genius, a great business leader. Protect confidence, I learned this from Dan Sullivan. For entrepreneurs, you want to protect your confidence and I believe you have to protect the confidence of your people as well.
Number three, communicate compassionately. I learned this from His Holiness the Dalai Lama who I had the honor and privilege of sharing the stage once in Calgary, Canada. Compassion is what he talks about but it’s three key responsibilities. It’s easy to remember.
I’ve never been in the military, but it’s interesting that in the military, three is an important number. Not just in fairy tales. In the military, they use the Rule of Three to teach survival. For example, three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food or three months without hope.
Remember, when you give three, primacy is number one, recency is number three. Make sure you amplify three. To quote Jim Collins, a great best-selling author and a business philosopher, he says, “Regarding priorities, if you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any priorities.” Let that sink it.
A review of the insights you and I discovered in this episode is number one, why three has more pulling power, copywriting, and speaking in audio. It has more power than the numbers one, two, four or five, for reasons I’ve given.
[bctt tweet=”For entrepreneurs, you want to protect your confidence and the confidence of your people.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
Next, you learned that examples of three are easy to remember because it has a very fun pattern where it’s easy as one, two, three, and it gives you more credibility than one or two choices. The third thing was how three options in high-ticket sales.
Do you remember the refrigerators? It increases the average purchase value. What I’ve discovered is you’re more likely to sell the highest level where most people think you’ll get the middle one. Remember these insights can only work for you if you work them. Go back and reread if you want to become fluent. That’s what I’ve taught you.
Speaking of reviews and I do this every episode. I want you to go to AllSellingAside.com/iTunes. I want you to type in your biggest takeaway or a-ha moment you experienced in this episode. If you’ve already done it then I thank you because it means a lot to me.
It allows this episode to go up in the rankings because I want as many people to see it as possible. People need this information and need to learn because most business people I know that I’ve come across, hate to sell. They don’t see themselves as salespeople and they end up not doing well and going out of business. Some go broke.
If you haven’t done a review, then I’d like you to do that at AllSellingAside.com/iTunes. It will mean much to me. You can do this in the reviews section. It’s not the most intuitive place. iTunes is not that intuitive as much as an Apple product like an iPhone is. When you do it and you do the review, then iTunes will ask you to rate the episode and I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Will you do that for me?
If you’ve already done it, then, I want you to write your big a-ha on an index card and hold on to it so you can go back and review it at a later date. You’ll notice our review and what you’re about to learn, primacy and review what you learned. It has three examples. This is not the first episode so I’ve been doing it many times. Go ahead and declare your big takeaway in the iTunes review section by visiting AllSellingAside.com/iTunes.
It will take three minutes out of your day, but what you declare publicly could provide you a lifetime of learning. I’ll know that it sunk in because I’m doing this for you. I know this stuff and I like teaching it so I can master it. I’d like you to be at least literate at it so that fluency is closer and within your reach.
I have one final gift to give you, to honor this 36th episode of the show and that’s complimentary access to my video eCourse. It’s going to teach you how to identify your target market which many people fail to do. It will teach you how to create your message and then finally how to capitalize on the most lucrative and most profitable media sources available to you. It’s all about the market, message, and media.
I hope our paths cross again next episode for the show dedicated to making an ethical influence within your reach so that you can achieve and even exceed your sales potential. Please do whatever it takes to join me next episode because the topic will be, “The Secret To Prevent Sales Rejection.” I hope that is enough of a piece to ensnare you to read and join me.
I encourage you to invite a friend, invite a study buddy. It’s more fun to learn with someone else. You can make it a study group because it’s free. It’s a public service. It’s many years to my sales and marketing know-how put into a blog as a public service. It’s my gift to myself as well as a legacy. I can’t wait to connect with you for The Secret To Prevent Sales Rejection. It will be super fun. I hope you join us and bring that study buddy with you. All good wishes.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- TED Talk – Barry Schwartz
- Paradox of Choice
- Why do people buy? – past episode
- Genius Network
- Strategic Coach
- The Secret To Prevent Sales Rejection – next episode
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