Yesterday, I went to a store with my wife to get 1 (one, ONE) thing. As luck would have it, I found myself standing behind my wife looking at an aisle full of little girl’s shoes. The choices were overwhelming; they should put an, “Enter at your own risk” sign up for men entering this aisle. There were all styles of shoes; styles called strapies, flats, sandals, flops, and jellies, all dyed in pastel colors of pink, green, and purple- of course mixed in with the staple colors of the blacks, browns, whites, gold, silvers, and nude-yes nude.  My wife immediately began mentally pairing up my daughter’s dresses with potential shoe candidates. She moved as if she were in the lightening round of a game show; she began spouting out 5 outfits and shoe combinations and then turned to me and asked my opinion. While still stuck on the first dress/shoe combo, I reminded her that guys are “first come first serve;” we walk into the closet, look for a color, and whichever shoe is most accessible, providing we can find both of them, is the one we go with.  My wife hustled for 20 minutes then, without warning, stopped shopping, stood up, and said, “I don’t know which ones to get anymore; it’s too many choices.” With no shoes in hand, we were herded into the checkout line and I thought, “Isn’t our business much like a little girls’ shoe aisle?”


Too many choices become confusing to a customer; when a customer is confused, they become paralyzed from making a purchasing decision. Car companies have become guilty of this.  In an effort to “move the needle,” manufacturers have dreamt up elaborate package names, combos, and configurations. As sales consultants, we get to break the news, “Sorry, you have to get the Mai-Tai package in order to get the Bahaman Banana Yellow.”  I challenge anybody in charge of product development to be able to tell me every single one of the packages and combinations they expect us to sell. I remember watching a product presentation video for a minivan where the man on the video proudly proclaimed there were over 180 ways to configure the interior of this minivan. Really; a customer needs 180 choices? I pose a thought for car companies; if your reps are confused-you know the ones pounding the blacktop every day, think of how perplexed your customers are. We are members of the local union “10-6-25;” we perform 10 hours per day, 6 days per week, and 25 days per month and we ain’t getting it. If we do this every day and can’t seem to figure it all out, how can we expect a customer, who does this once every 3 years to figure it out?  I’ve talked to customers who were so flustered and confused to the point they had no idea what they wanted anymore and decided to “hold off,” only to find out later they bought my competitor’s product- fewer choices perhaps?


Why don’t the car companies keep the KISS principle; Keep It Simple (to) Sell. The best of something doesn’t have to mean the most. While jockeying for sales, car companies have offered so many choices trying to become everything to everybody; as a result they lose sales and wind up being nothing to nobody. Can you imagine going to your doctor’s office and the doctor pulls out a menu of different combinations of medications for you; or a travel agent asks you which comforter, curtains, and carpet combinations you wish to have in your hotel room for your next vacation? Customers want a choice, not a Rubik’s Cube.


Maybe manufacturers should steal an idea from family restaurants. Restaurants package their menus, in the form of choices or combos, and give a customer a choice of meat, specific number of side items, and a dessert; it becomes more profitable for a restaurant and less confusing for a customer. By the way, when was he last time you ordered a-la-cart at McDonalds? When you give a customer too few of choices (2), it becomes a “buy, not buy” proposition; when a customer has only 3 or 4 well thought out choices, it serves two purposes:  A sales consultant can effectively prepare and present their product- focusing on building value. In turn, when a customer has fewer choices, it becomes less confusing and easier to make a purchase decision. Dummy down the choices and double up the profits.

Views: 18


You need to be a member of to add comments!


Comment by Marsh Buice on May 30, 2011 at 5:41pm
Joe, thank you for reading and your comments. I'm glad I have a fellow brother who can sympathize having girls :) I have 3 boys and they are low maintenance compared to her. The factories would do better if they would take advice from the Bible, "Be quick to listen and slow to speak." Listen to us on the front line; when we feel we have a voice, we will fight harder.
Comment by Joe Clementi on May 30, 2011 at 5:02pm
Excellent post Marsh.  Factories always know better than those on the front lines...right?  Your anology was spot on and as a Dad of two girls I can really empathize with you :)  Keep up the nice work I truly enjoy reading your posts.

Latest Activity

Dave Anderson's blog post was featured

Master the Art of Execution

The reason most organizations fail to achieve desired results is because they lack an effective…See More
Sally Whitesell posted a blog post
Cory Wright posted a blog post
Scot Eisenfelder posted a video

Maximizing Dollar per Unit in Operation

Scot Eisenfelder shares a factor that dealerships should be looking at in order to maximize revenue at their dealerships.
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

Social Media vs Broadcast Media

Account Manager Mike Correra explains the difference between social and broadcast media in this video blog.
Jim Flint posted a blog post
Lehel Reeves posted videos
Jeff Cowan posted a blog post

Write Service Podcast: Episode 70- Q & A with Jeff Cowan- Service Advisors MUST LISTEN!

This week, Jeff does some Q & A from his viewers! After Jeff had been on the road for a few…See More
Dan Beres posted a blog post
John Sternal posted a blog post

Lease Credit Approvals Dip Slightly To 68.9% in August

Lease Approval Ratings Drop Slightly in August Following Increase in, the…See More
Crystal Hartwell posted a blog post

SureSale Certified Increases Used Vehicle Sales and Turn Rates for North Carolina Dealership

 New case study shows how Reed-Lallier Chevrolet leveraged this one-of-a-kind CPO program to…See More
Bill Wittenmyer posted a blog post

Stop being lead-centric. It’s about the customer experience.

Today’s customers expect and demand an amazing customer experience. The dealership with the right…See More
Reynalda Lor posted a discussion

Car Dealership Design Ideas?

Greetings!According to our marketing and HR teams, the sitting arrangements, interior and exterior…See More
Rob Gehring posted a blog post


Today’s…See More
Sep 17
Bill Wittenmyer posted a video

WittsWiseWords: Super Workers

Are you setting your employees up for success? In this #WittsWiseWords, automotive retail expert Bill Wittenmyer talks about why your super-start employee ma...
Sep 16
Michael Trasatti posted a video

New Thought Processes in Hiring

Mike Trasatti shares why companies should rethink their hiring processes in this video blog.
Sep 16
Samuel posted a blog post

Top Anti Phishing Softwares that are Affordable

As the security threat is increasing more, people look for a secure way to increase their data…See More
Sep 16
Courtney Evans posted a blog post
Sep 13
Anthony Giagnacovo posted a blog post
Sep 13
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

Why Buy In is Important When Adopting New Technology

Account Manager Mike Correra shares why staff buy-in is vital to success when adopting new technology.
Sep 13

Get Newsletter

© 2019   Created by DealerELITE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service