Selling the house earthworms is the priority at the bait shop. We have national brand earthworms and our own separately sourced earthworms, the latter of which contain all the margin.
Bait shop management use loss-leading name-brand earthworms to sucker in the public so that we drones can switch them to our own. It’s the oldest sales trick in the world.
Somewhere along the line someone began to think that they were actually selling to people, as opposed providing something for sale. What they failed to realize was that people who fish are addicted to their pastime, and must have bait. If you’re providing something to an addict, you don’t need a sales pitch; all you need is a supply channel.
You can imagine how annoying it is to hear supervisory “sales” people self-congratulate for imagined success. No, you did nothing but guide them to an appropriate type of bait. They were going to buy anyway.
Only in the rarest of circumstances are we likely to have any field to ourselves. I am trying to find a few examples…but can’t come up with any.
Competition, we must assume, is always out there. Most of the time you will know who works in the same space as you, but not always. I think in the future that we will know about all of our rivals, and they will matter less. This all because of the internet.
Search will always find the people who share our space. From multi-megaliths to the smallest Etsy vendor, if your search terms are accurate, they’ll pop up. So that’s that. You can find them if you want to.
The upside of the internet is that markets are becoming smaller. You no longer need to think of being the next nationwide sensation – it’s now more difficult then ever, and probably more unlikely than ever. But if you want to find a tightly specified market of customers who are looking for just exactly what you offer…well, that’s never been easier.
Think of it as the difference between an off-the-rack pair of trousers as against a tailored pair. You and I provide a better fit than the big chain that makes you fit them. That’s really the take-away here, that a small devoted market is both more do-able and accessible than trying to suit everyone.
Small is beautiful. Customers who want you are gorgeous.
The premise of that statement is that folks will share those good ideas, if they believe in them. All well and good, of course, but there’s a problem. We can all be reticent to talk about something new if we think we’ll be met with resistance. New ideas are fine…but only if we think they’ll fly.
It becomes – to amp up my pop psychological blarney – an interpersonal problem when our audience is unwilling or unable to see things our way. A great idea can only be great if we communicate it, and as I learned in first year marketing, communication requires feedback to be of any value. Communication without feedback is broadcasting.
There then become two resistance points to overcome. There is firstly the (unknown) quantity of blank stare we might find looking back at us from the other person. (In the optimistic case, there will be none, of course.) As well, we will need to overcome our own internal resistance to sharing a new concept. No-one likes rejection, especially our ego. That’s the fear of looking dopey problem.
Which is why being a great salesman requires ignoring the feedback. Find people, talk, give your presentation, and accept what happens, repeat. Good feedback will take care of itself. Unresponsive feedback means only that it didn’t work this time.
No reason to think it’s forever. The seventh time will do the trick.
It must be because I’m so new at this sales business. This morning a (nameless but close) friend and customer told me how much she liked my company’s protein powder in her morning health drink. With that, she presented me with a cup of the cucumber and spinach juice to which she had added the protein powder. It was delicious. Frankly, I was surprised just how good it tasted.
My reaction was a new one, for me, a mix of pride and happiness. Pride because receiving an unsolicited accolade like that brings to sharp focus that people really do like – or even love – the products I sell. Happiness because it means my friends have gone beyond the idea of being customers as a favor to me, and found their own fit for my company’s products in their life.
It’s an important transition, and one that reinforces that I am selling good stuff, for the right reasons, and that people get it.