Are you selling the way your customer buys?

This post originally appeared in 2007 — I hopped into the way-back machine to locate it for you because it’s still true today.

A persistent comment that I have for most brands is that their sales story is often about the way they like to sell, rather than how their customers like to buy.

Sometimes companies bundle products or services at a discount to individual prices. Unfortunately, when a customer just wants one item — there’s often no model for making the sale.

Here’s an example: I subscribed to an online media information database that was both expensive and bundled information that I didn’t need (and information I did need was only available through a separately priced package). So I decided to unsubscribe. I explained my reasons to the customer service rep and he focused on the price issue. “What if I reduce the cost?” I asked him about splitting his packages. He again asked, “What if we extended the length of your subscription?”

I explained that subscribing for a longer period of time, even for less money, did not solve the problem that the service he was providing did not meet my need. That need — the story of how I wanted to buy his service — is a la carte. His need — the story of how his company packages and sells information — is prix fixe.

What is your sales story?