How a Tiny Start Up Outsold the Big Boys 50:1
I once had a product in my portfolio that was light years ahead of its time.
The price point was perfect, it ticked every target-market box – it went from zero to one million units in its first year!
On top of that we were huge, every resource that we needed to call on as a sales team was right there on site.
The competition were tiny, we didn’t even consider them to be a threat.
Two years later that comparative competitor product, from what seemed like an insignificant source (but with me now on their team – I’m not daft) – had outsold the original by tens of millions of units
So how did this minnow sink the battleship?
1. They knew the problem they were fixing.
We talked about us, they talked about the customer.
We did Power Point presentations on “the product”, while they uncovered needs and presented benefits.
They took away pain and delivered a profitable win-win solution, we had boxes to shift.
2. They knew the market place
Although our boffins had created a product that worked perfectly and was exactly what the market was crying out for; we moved in an existing sales team – which specialised in a completely different sector – to sell it into the target areas.
The competition had been working this neck of the woods – and only this neck of the woods – since they started trading; they were supplying places that weren’t even on our map.
3. They knew the top, top, top guys who made all the decisions
To the point that they were invited to christenings and weddings – we would wait for weeks to get an appointment, while they had tests running nationwide.
4. They knew the people at ground level too
The sales team were already on first name terms with the guys at the coalface – and these people loved them.
They set up incentives – stuff that coalface guys love to receive, everyone walked away with something – they controlled a whole second level of sales that we had no way of tapping into.
5. Their team WERE the target market
Their team didn’t just understand the target market, they were the target market!
I was in my late twenties and the youngest person in my sales team – we were sending “older” gentlemen with the trilby dress sense of yesteryear, into cutting edge environments where they stood out like a sore thumb.
Their team were young, hungry and receiving focused training from others who understood the field.
On top of that, they really wanted to be there, it was like an extension of their social lives.
Our chaps had boxes to shift and a mortgage to pay.
There were simple solutions and defence strategies that could have combated all of the above – arrogance and a blinker mentality stopped us from implementing them.
Do you know where your blind side is?
Are your team getting to the real root of your customer’s problem?
And most of all – are your team going in to SELL or HELP?
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