What's at the front of the buffet?
Aug 14, 2020
The other day, I read about an exciting study that shows that 75% of the people at a breakfast buffet take the first item, regardless of what is there. Two thirds of all items chosen come from the first three items on the buffet, no matter how long the buffet is.
This confirms an old wisdom from sales: people often just buy what is in front of them.
That's why good marketers put in first place the products you want to sell the most (which is why it is still a mystery to me that in restaurants on wine lists the expensive wines almost always come at the end).
Of course, this correlation applies not only to sales but also to any kind of influence, so it is essential for successful leadership.
Here are three specific applications - outside of sales - where you should reverse the order if you want to achieve more with others:
- Presentations. Most of the presentations I see in leadership are more like a sequence of facts. My recommendation: turn that around! Start with the core message; only after that comes the background (which you might not need anymore). You save time and increase the impact.
- Daily routine. Most people start their day with smaller, less important things. The problem: many don't get to the really important topics at all, run from appointment to appointment and, at the end of the day, are surprised that you have hardly achieved anything important. Turn that around!
- Conversations. Most people have great difficulty getting to the point. As a leader, it is your job to help. If someone needs more than three sentences to get to the heart of the matter, interrupt politely and ask, "What is your question?” Many are grateful for this help - the others should, perhaps, not be on your team.
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