Honestly Selling Both Sides of a Product

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You’re driving along and all of a sudden you hear a funny road noise, or worse, a loud pop and you can’t seem to control your car. If you’re on the interstate, cruising at maybe 80 miles per hour, you could soon be flying in the air, swerving into the next lane colliding into another vehicle, or summersaulting across the road into the shoulder and trees beyond. 


A tire blowout is a serious situation no matter how fast you are going. Just pulling off to the side of the road marks you as vulnerable. It may be awhile before help arrives. Then, there is the tire change, lost time and inconvenience. So, who wouldn’t be excited about a tire that claims you can continue to drive on it after a blowout? Sounds like a win-win for everyone. 


If you were in tire sales, this would be an opportunity of a lifetime. So many benefits and features to promote to customers. Safety. Reliability. The ability to get to where you are going to get help, instead of being stranded on the side of the road. Who wouldn’t be excited about that?


But this revolutionary product hasn’t resonated with consumers. In an article in USA Today, “Study: Run-Flat Tires Irk Motorists,” reports just the opposite. The complaints are just the things that made conventional tires attractive. How much information is enough? How much is too much (which can cost a sale?)


First of all, you have to have reliable tires for your car. After all, you can’t drive without them, and their quality has a lot to do with the quality of the ride. But two critical features of tires are missing from the run-flat tires. Wear ability and repair.


The first complaint---the run-flat tires may keep you going when you have a flat, but in regular use they just wear out faster. Tires are expensive. It seems that the run-flat tires don’t’ last as long as regular tires, so if you’re lucky enough not to have a flat, you’re going to have to pay more over the long haul by replacing the tires more often.


The second complaint—they can’t be repaired. OK, with run-flat tires, if you have a flat, you can drive to the next service station (if they still exist) or tire service business. But, you’ll have to buy a new tire instead of just plugging the puncture.  Depending on the tire, the difference in expense could be hundreds of dollars. While drivers and situations will differ, you’d have to weigh the cost of a new tire with the hassle of being stranded with the wife, kids and dog for hours, waiting for rescue on the side of the road.


Sales professionals make their living by making the numbers. Whether you’re selling run-flat tires, widgets or services, there are always down-sides to anything. How much do you disclose? How do you present the positives against the negatives? It’s an ethical question that needs to be addressed at the corporate level and supported, as well, at the point of sale. It’s a tough question, but one that companies need to address to gain the confidence and respect of customers and respect their ability to weight the facts and make an informed decision.


Photo Courtesy of MorgueFiles.com


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