I once worked for a company that had a product list the size of a small book.
The products we sold were so modular you nearly required a map to navigate the configuration possibilities — the configuration guide provided sales teams to accurately quote an order were nearly as large. The options and configurations were seemingly endless.
At times it was confusing and combined with a series of unexplainable processes, we earned a reputation of being hard to do business with.
There is a point where flexibility and volume of options can confuse a customer to the point of no decision. You can have so many options you appear to be a duck – you walk, swim, run, and fly — none of them world-class.
Better than leading with your flexibility and countless options, the better option may be to lead with expertise and packaged solutions — allow variables, but limit your options to match defined and valued benefits. Limit your options and you may find your sales increase almost overnight.
Like having too many options and choices on a restaurant menu, giving your customers too many presented options to choose from may invite unnecessary competition as a side-effect of analysis paralysis.
Do you believe a company can option itself to death? Is it possible flexibility in product and service configurations can limit your market appeal? Can you win as a duck?