Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sell what is in your bag

My first sales manager always said, "Sell what's in your bag." By this, he wanted us to sell what we had today and not what we might have in the future. Stay focused on the current products and current business. This was good advice 20 years ago and is still good advice today.

Now, customers always want more and expect to pay less for it. We wrongly believe our job as marketers is to give the customer what they want. If we give the customers what they want - they will only want more. In fact, the faster we supply the customer's wants, the less satisfied they will be and the faster they will expect further and more dramatic improvements. This treadmill is impossible to sustain.

We recommend a different course. As marketers, we need to reinforce our value to our customers so that they are happy with what they currently have. This is just a marketer's version of sell what's in your bag. If we can develop a way for customers to appreciate us now, they will more likely appreciate us when we improve the products and services we deliver.

Charles Kettering, the famous R&D head at GM said, "The key to economic prosperity is the organized creation of dissatisfaction." This is how GM created the annual car model. However, we marketers have missed a key word here - ORGANIZED. We want to keep our customers completely satisfied until we, and not our competitors, have the next product for them to buy. Only at that time do we want them to have any dissatisfaction. And then, we only want them to be dissatisfied on the attributes we satisfy with our new offerings.

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