Why do you do what you do? Do you do it because everyone else does it? Do you do it because it’s always been done that way? Neither of these reasons are good enough to continue doing it. Did you build your company website, or even your entire company the same way your competitors did just because they did it that way? Is that a good enough reason? Do you want to be just like your competitors? How does doing things the same as your competition get you ahead? Continue reading
Once upon a time I had an old-time salesman tell me that “Nothing happens until after the sale”. Maybe at one time this was true, but not so much anymore. Keep in mind that this statement came from a Salesperson who was at one time very good at what he did and sold a lot of print advertising 10 years ago. We’ve seen a big change since the old “dead wood” print advertising days.
If you haven’t read the book “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin, GET IT & READ IT! This book really helps illustrate the paradigm shift that marketing has taken. The first time I read this book I was surprised by how many thoughts Seth and I had in common, and how many were just common sense. The best thing about the ideas in the book is that they’re extremely simple to understand and that’s exactly what I need, being as slow upstairs as I am. I think Seth’s book helps illustrate that in today’s marketing environment the product is the most effective salesman.
A Knock At The Door and You’ve Bought A New Vacuum
In today’s information sharing environment a great sales force is a must for unremarkable products. Remarkable products help sell themselves. I realize why this salesman said that “nothing happens until after the sale”, that was true 10+ years ago. There was no real, far reaching Internet at that time. No way to communicate at a rapid pace, no way to get the word out and definitely no way to virally spread your message. The world was much larger and people had time to sit with salesmen and talk about their needs. Not so much anymore. When is the last time you had a door to door vacuum salesman knock on your door? I’m old enough to remember those days, and I remember people actually letting these salesmen in and have them give their presentation in the prospective buyer’s house. Good chance you may have not known about their great vacuum and the brilliantly clean carpets you could have without that knock at the door. The salesman was the driving force in that sales process, he was the vehicle bringing the information to people.
The Dyson Vacuum
A man by the name of James Dyson got frustrated by the common bagged vacuum cleaners and their performance. He decided to radically change the way vacuums worked and designed his own vacuum. James Dyson tried to sell the idea to multi-national companies, nobody bit. Years later after he got the design just right Dyson went to market himself with his own new vacuum. No surprise that Dyson holds the number one spot of upright vacuums at 20.7% by value in the U.S. and that his vacuums are now sold in 38 countries (Source NPD Houseworld). Dyson’s vacuum was remarkable. The Dyson looked different, worked different, and offered conveniences other vacuums didn’t offer at that time. People started sharing information about this remarkable vacuum with neighbors, friends and especially online. The funny thing is a Dyson vacuum is hundreds of dollars more than your run of the mill old designed vacuum. One other thing, have you ever seen a Dyson salesman? Probably not. Remarkable products sell themselves, or to be more accurate, remarkable products drive their own marketing and sales. If the vacuum offered little difference than what was currently on the market at that time, do you think it would have done as well? Not a chance. Maybe if it was unremarkable a sales force would have been a good idea. They could have gone to shopping malls or stores and given demonstrations of their products. How long would you have watched someone vacuum? Would you have stopped at all? Not me.
Mediocre Products Will Put You Out Of Business No Matter The Sales force
The above line was my response to the “nothing happens…” comment. This is also the part of the focus of Seth Godin’s book. General Motors had thousands of very good, very knowledgeable salespeople. General Motors also had ordinary cars that weren’t awfully reliable. General Motors relied for many years on it’s loyal customers. The problem is it didn’t earn many more new customers and those it did sell to were disappointed with the product. GM’s cars were remarkable, but not in a positive way. GM lost market share to Toyota, and Toyota’s cars were seen as remarkably better in quality. We all know the rest of the story. The fatal error to a predominantly sales minded businesses is not noticing in today’s information age that most of the selling is done before you even talk to a prospective client. Offering what everyone else is offering is offering nothing.