Any remodeler who has watched a client agonize over selections or written up too many change orders should relate to the message of a new book by psychology professor Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less (Ecco). His thesis: Modern life's many choices are making some of us less happy, not more.
"Satisficers," he writes, are content with their decisions as long as their standards, whether high or low, are met. It is possible to fulfill their desires. "Maximizers," on the other hand, continually seek the very best products at the best price. Their quest for the right color tile or best kitchen layout might never be over. The more choices, says Schwartz, the more opportunity to second-guess yourself and develop regrets. The more choices, the greater the expectations, and the harder it is to meet them.
At the International Builders' Show, most contractors were so wowed by the sheer number of products that few could recall anything in particular. "I'm having all the literature sent to me," was a typical response. Back home, they planned to review new items and features, assess price and availability, and read the specs before making purchasing decisions.
These folks were streamlining the selection process for their clients, preventing potential pain and conflict. Good remodelers know they must develop the skills of a psychologist as well as those of a salesperson and consultant. And they hone their lead-qualification process to identify those never-satisfied maximizers before signing a contract.