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I was recently working on a presentation that I’ll be giving to a group of people who, like me, have children with potentially fatal food allergies. The talk is about how to apply the principles of marketing to food allergy advocacy – including how to win over other parents who may object to the policies (such as food-free class parties) that you are requesting. Part of my advice is to accept and address the fact that other parents do not like being told what they can or cannot do. Just like your prospects, they like to feel like they’re in control.


Studies of our common cognitive biases show that people tend to overestimate how much they can influence external events. They believe they’re in more control than they actually are. This makes them happy, because people love to feel like they’re in control.

Use this to your advantage in your company’s marketing materials! If you can provide choices, your prospects will feel more empowered and will therefore be more likely to complete the sale. Of course, providing choices is easy when you’re selling products that come in a variety of colors, styles, sizes, etc. It’s often a lot harder if what you’re selling is services.

These examples from my portfolio illustrate how service providers can make prospects feel like they’re in the driver’s seat…

Let them choose from amongst your different services

  • Warehousing Services“Whether you just need an L.A. warehouse to safely store your products or you’re looking for a warehouse logistics partner that can provide a full range of customizable services, Southern California Warehousing can meet your needs.”

  • Advertising Agency – All the services of a large advertising & design agency with the personal attention of a small one.

Let them choose how or where the service will be provided

Tell them about choices they didn’t know they had


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Michael Elliott
Founder and President, The Hammer & Nails Salon Group, LLC