Easy to Buy = Easier to Sell

This morning I went to buy a cup of coffee.  This coffee shop charged $1.95 for a cup of coffee – after tax it was $2.11 per cup.  I watched as the line built up and built up while the cashiers made change for each person that tried to buy a simple cup of coffee.  I even saw people walking away because the line was getting too long.  I wondered why this shop didn’t change the price just to make the act of buying a cup of coffee that much easier.  There is a LOT of margin in a $2 cup of coffee – and by simply lowing the price (even a penny) they could have made buying the coffee that much easier and I would argue, made more money in the long run.

One of my clients was suffering a very similar problem recently.  The way they were selling the product, was not aligned with how the companies could buy the software.  They were attempting to charge a “per-use” or rather a “per-user” fee, when in fact, the only money the departments had to spend was capital improvement budgets – meaning pay once a year and that’s it.  So, we are trying a new pricing scheme which is a single price per year for all-you-can-eat.  We will see whether or not it works in the coming weeks.

Sales isn’t easy – and when you make it hard to buy, you make it that much harder.  The coffee shop needed to have pennies available, needed to make change, and ultimately made the buying experience an awful one for the sake of a few pennies.  Had they changed the price of the coffee so that I paid then $2 even including tax, then I would have been in and out of that shop in a few seconds and they would have been onto the next person in line.  No-one would have needed to worry about coins.  And… I’m actually wondering whether I will even go back to this shop based on my experience.  Is that what was intended?  I think not.

For complex projects, its even more important.  I wrote about this in my 1985 post.  In 2009, we have so many ways to make the sales process easier, we need to take advantage of this to make our lives easier as salespeople.

As an entrepreneur, you need to understand how your customers buy, and how they can more easily consume what you sell.  If you make this process transparent and easy, and then give them a simple way to buy, you will see sales increase.  Remember when Radio Shack used to ask for 15 pieces of information such as phone number just to buy batteries?  Well, I went to Radio Shack this weekend, and simply swiped a card and walked back out.  They’ve figured out that easier to buy = easier to sell.

If you are having trouble getting people to buy… have you thought about whether the WAY you charge is just to difficult to buy?  Do your companies allocate budget in the way you ask for money?  Do you only accept credit cards, but the company can only provide PO’s – or the other way around? Is subscription billing a difficult way for your customers to buy – and they would prefer once a year?  Or perhaps once a year means they need a capital budget – but subscription fees are low enough that your decision makers have automatic signing authority?  You need to probe and get the answers to these questions because the easier your product is to buy – the easier it will be to sell.

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  • kvrao2

    Great post. You hit on several key issues that my company is addressing from the billing & payments angle every day. Packaging, pricing, and payment flexibility, providing services in the exact format the customer prefers, is key to success in the services economy. There is no longer any such thing as a one-size-fits-all model. Our customers use our billing and payments solutions to expand their markets with different pricing and payments models that can be launched rapidly – it's an important part of making a sale in today's tech and economic environment…

  • kvrao2

    Great post. You hit on several key issues that my company, Zuora, is addressing from the billing & payments angle every day. Packaging, pricing, and payment flexibility, providing services in the exact format the customer prefers, is key to success in the services economy. There is no longer any such thing as a one-size-fits-all model. Our customers use our billing and payments solutions to expand their markets with different pricing and payments models that can be launched rapidly – it's an important part of making a sale in today's tech and economic environment…

  • kvrao2

    Great post. You hit on several key issues that my company, Zuora, is addressing from the billing & payments angle every day. Packaging, pricing, and payment flexibility, providing services in the exact format the customer prefers, is key to success in the services economy. There is no longer any such thing as a one-size-fits-all model. Our customers use our billing and payments solutions to expand their markets with different pricing and payments models that can be launched rapidly – it's an important part of making a sale in today's tech and economic environment…

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