In many cases it can be difficult for a product to live up to the hype created by a marketing department trying to generate customer interest.
From a sales perspective it can sometimes represent a challenge when a customer wants to sit down and have a point by point demonstration of the benefits and USPs described in the marketing literature. Not that these documents are not factual, but there can sometimes be an exaggeration of the facility of a product.
Whether something is “living up to the hype” is a yardstick that is used to measure products as diverse as the latest £1000 iPhone to a £3 fidget spinner.
In some cases during a sale you can create your own customer hype, and an effective coach can generate huge interest in your product on your behalf. Failing to live up to the hype that you have created yourself is even worse! People have come to expect this from marketing after all 😉
On one specific occasion whilst selling our latest flagship product to a customer in the Middle East I found my contact setting up a meeting with his boss, who had been told how incredible our product was.
The product was a field based network analyser, the type of thing that could easily develop faults if it was poorly designed for everyday use. One of the things that my contact loved was how sturdy the product was, something I had demonstrated to their glee by rapping it hard on the 10 inch touchscreen with my knuckles.
Now I sat across the table from an operations director, who had been told just how rugged our product was. “Show him, show him” I was told. I’m not sure exactly what happened. It’s possible that with all the pressure to demonstrate this and validate the customers excitement at this new demonstration that I might have been a little bit more forceful in this second demonstration. I rapped the screen hard with my knuckles. There was an audible cracking noise. The display had broken, and now there was a large broken “star” across the screen. The smile on the customers faces faded fast.
I quickly checked to see if the touchscreen was still working.
“As you can see” I recovered, “even if the touchscreen IS damaged it continues to be useable. Making it possible to continue working without having to return to base for a replacement unit” I said, even as I worked out in my head how much trouble I would be in for the damage to this $100,000 prototype unit and how many demos I would now have to reschedule.
This type of demo became a regular part of product presentations for me (apart from the destruction of the product!). The customer was actually more impressed that the product was still usable when it was damaged, and my initial contact explained that it had worked completely fine the first time.
Understanding the best way to position a product is key to sales success but how well are you able to replicate this knowledge across your team?
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