Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Learning Process

Selling a new product is always an interesting task.  The roll out involves months of preparation and research so that when the product is actually ready, the sales force can hit the ground running.  If the product is good and the marketing department has done their job well, it should be a joy for the salesman to begin his rounds introducing the product to his customers and prospects.

The problem is that it never goes quite like expected.

Even the most thorough market research rarely is perfect.  Sometimes, it is even misleading.  If the questions aren't crafted correctly, or if there is the slightest deficit in industry knowledge by those creating the marketing program, the sales force may be in for a challenging time.  So, I try to warn young sales people that they should spend more time learning about their product as they introduce it than they actually spend time selling it. 

What I mean is that the first few weeks of sales calls with a new product should be as much about listening and getting feedback from the potential customers than about getting them to buy what you have.

This week has been a case in point.  Part of the reason for my week of sales calls is that we are rolling out a new service in our business.  We have implemented it into our offering and for the most part, worked out the operational "kinks" that come up with anything new.  Now we are getting feedback from our customers.  That feedback will allow us to more effectively sell the product.  Yeah, I know that sounds backward to most of you who might read this, but, the real world "ain't perfect" and it proves the fact over and over again.

There was only one thing perfect that ever walked this earth and all us imperfect people hung Him on a cross.  So, I suppose I should expect glitches.....


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