Saturday, February 11, 2006

You Can't Sell "Everything"

[begin dramatization]
My car was a bit old, and giving me the usual troubles like old cars do. I went down to the local car dealership to see what they had. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, so I was hoping that someone there could give me some ideas. When I got there I was greeted by a nice sales guy named Jim.
Jim was very enthusiastic about their products, and asked, "so what what kind of car were you looking for."
"Well, I'm not sure exactly, I just need something reliable to get me to and from work."
"Well, here at Jim's Motors we can build you exactly you need, we just need to know what you need", said Jim.
"Nothing fancy really, just something roomy with good gas mileage, and maybe in a dark blue."
"We can do all of that, but what about the engine, and the tires? What kind do you need?", asked Jim.
I started to look a little perplexed, but decided to play his game, "What kinds of engines do you have?"
Jim gleefully stated, "We have all kinds of engines. I don't know much about engines though, that is a little technical for me, but I can tell you that we can give you any engine that you might want."
"Well, can you suggest one?", I asked.
"Let me get one of the mechanics, maybe he can help you out here."
I decided to go to another dealership.
[end dramatization]

When buying a car, most people don't know what kind of engine that they want, or what brand of tires. Consumers like choice, but sometimes too much choice is a bad thing. If Jim, our happy salesman, had shown me a few cars that fit my criteria (roomy, good mileage, blue), then I could have let him know if any of those were right for me or if he should show me some more.

The second problem is that Jim is a salesman, he doesn't know about the different engines or tires, he isn't technical. This makes is difficult for Jim to sell anything. Jim, just like the customer, needs a smaller set of choices.

I guess my point is that you can do "everything", but it is difficult to can't sell it. The solution, I think, is to find interesting products that you can sell, and teach your sales force on how to sell them. This will give the sales people and customers a list of products to start with, that has prices attached. From this list the sales person can work with the customer to customize one of the base solutions to best fit their needs and budget.

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