Mark Lepper of Stanford University and Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University in a fascinating article titled “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” explain that buyers can end up worse off, less satisfied, and de-motivated when faced with too much choice.
The article describes three experiments where one group of people was offered many choices (over 20) while another group was offered just 6 choices to purchase. My favorite of the three, of course, is the gourmet chocolate, but the experiments also included exotic jams and optional class essay assignments.
So what is the implication of this to lawyers and law firms who want to present themselves to potential buyers of legal services? I think it should give us pause before we present to the world every feasible area of practice we might possibly be qualified to deliver. It should also lead us, when we do have a myriad of practice areas and industry focuses, to break these down into understandable choices from our clients’ point of view. Perhaps this means we have separate web sites. Or we organize our web sites with fewer choices. If we have one blog targeted to many different problems, perhaps we need, instead, to break it into several, more focused blogs.
As always, the key to success in building a law practice is to put oneself in the shoes of the client. If clients would be more satisfied and more likely to hire us if we presented fewer choices, we should think about how to best do that.
Less is more.