Withholding Choices

Why It’s Bad For Your Business

Interacting with customers can often be hindered by our subconscious. Anticipating their needs and pre-determining choices for them can have a substantial impact on client relationships and the health of our businesses. Studies show that customers actually become upset if they are not offered the opportunity to choose between available buying options. If we subconsciously decide for the customer, we actually risk damaging the trust that relationships are built upon.

Imagine an evening at your favorite restaurant and your waiter decides not to share all the daily specials with you, because he assumes you will have no interest or that some choices are too expensive. Then, someone sitting near you is served a great looking meal that you never had a chance to order. How would you feel? I bet you would not be happy. Maybe you would be so upset that you would begin looking for another favorite place to eat. Why? Because the waiter denied your opportunity to choose from all options.

Studies also show that custom framers routinely make decisions for their customers and fail to offer all options. For example, a study about glazing showed that only 3.5% of customers are offered the opportunity to choose Museum Glass on their projects. That same study revealed that if those customers had been offered this product, 58% would have chosen it!

Framers believe offering expensive framing options hurts the perception of their business, but withholding options creates resentment and undermines trust.

As you might expect, those customers in the study became very upset when they learned that they could have used this product (if you want to see their reaction, visit the Tru Vue website and watch the video called “Voice of the Customer – There Are Options?”). This study also concluded that the main reason why customers custom frame their possessions is to preserve and protect them. If you deny them the choice of preservation grade materials, you will be ignoring the benefit of highest value to your customer.

Many framers tell me that they believe offering expensive framing options hurts the perception of their business because they are more expensive. But evidence contradicts this belief. Withholding options creates resentment and undermines trust. Maybe overcoming the desire to make decisions for customers comes through understanding that selling premium framing products is not about trying to influence the customer’s decision by pressuring them or “upselling” products. It is very simply about offering informed choices – just as a good waiter would do when he describes all the options for your evening meal.

Finally, there are additional benefits beyond better relationships with customers when you offer full choices. Your business also becomes financially healthier when you sell premium products because your average sale will grow. Imagine if you began showing Museum Glass to every customer and that 58% of them gladly accepted it. The financial impact on your business would probably be dramatic. So trust the study. Treat all customers like you want to be treated when you go out to enjoy something you like – give them the respect of choice and in turn you will be giving them what they really want.


  1. Ken, this is so true. We always start with higher end framing including museum glass. If price becomes a question then we will show less expensive options. 8 times our of 10 our clients choose the higher end.

  2. Ken you are right on with this suggestion. I show client’s mid priced options and also stacking options for many projects with higher priced samples on my display wall. The client many times will pick one of these options off the wall and I always say “you have great taste” and give quotes for both. Many times the client goes with the more expensive choice.
    Also the TRUVIEW museum vs cons counter display with the oregami flower is a sure seller of museum and even utraview glass as an alternative.

    You can’t sell what they can’t see is my motto!

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