We all know that Eskimos primarily use snow to build houses. How then could you sell them more of something, which is abundant and free? But what if you had a type of snow that did not melt in the summer, yet still had the insulation properties of snow in the winter. Do you think you could sell that to the Eskimos?
This is a great proposition; we can actually solve three problems at once. The first problem being that their houses melt in the summer. This means that they need different forms of shelter, like skins, in the summer months. The second problem is that the skins are not as warm as their igloos are in the winter. The third is that they are probably fed up with building two houses a year – especially when they could build one that lasts for twenty years.
Get them to put a value on their new capability! But having a house that last for a hundred years is an alien concept, and one that would be treated with extreme skepticism, were one to put that idea forward in such a crude fashion to an Eskimo. This where empathy and careful understanding, not only of needs and desires comes in, but also of what will be acceptable to your potential buyer.
Now let’s go to your product for a second. This is where I have cheated slightly with the headline. Your company actually sells this white, pre-fabricated polymer, that is light to carry, and when a cord is pulled, inflates into a house.
Difficult to believe isn’t it? So if you are having difficulty in grasping that concept, think what your average Eskimo is going to say when you explain that concept to them. “Go straight back to the funny farm, from whence you must have escaped” – will be probably be foremost in their mind!
So what is snow? Along with many other uses, it is a house building material to Eskimos. So if you start talking about white stuff that you can build houses with, that you call snow, they will probably give you an audience.
Now ask them what the biggest problem with building a house from snow is. Well you know the answer is that it melts in the sun. We have identified a need. Keep going get those three problems out in the open. Now ask them, what life would be like if they did not have to build new houses twice a year. What could they do with that time?
Get them to put a value on their new capability – let’s assume that they are able to catch more fish and sell them to Captain Birds Eye. How much would they make? Would it also be better fun that building houses twice a year? So lets assume they make €5,000 extra a year – you already knew that because you did your homework!
Your indestructible houses only cost €3,000 a year over 20 years. So not only do the Eskimos get to do something they enjoy, but they also have an extra €2,000 in their pocket each year. Oh yes, and what is your product called? “The polymer fabricated indestruct…” Stop – that’s a real techie name, the sort of thing IBM used to dream up!
How about “there’s Snow place like home” – corny, yes – but you get your prospects attention, you identify their key problems, you help them put a value on it and hey presto – you have a willing and happy buyer.
This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing – www.3r.ie. For previous articles like this, visit 3R’s Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.