I was given a task some years ago to develop a sales strategy that would allow a company to expand its reach by selling big ticket items online and over the phone. The idea was to attract customers who lived too far away to come into the company’s brick and mortar location. This was an exceptionally challenging assignment as purchases for this company could come out to be well over $100,000 and establishing trust with the potential customers was crucial for winning the business. My team and I spent a couple months coming up with the basics. We identified our target audience, determined what marketing channels we would use and of course our product offerings.
Our initial approach was an absolute bust. Since we were asking these customers to do business with our company online and over the phone instead of their local retailer down the street, we thought a sales strategy centered around being the price leader would be our golden ticket. Out the gate, we essentially attempted to buy the business in these distance markets with product offerings several thousands of dollars less than the local competition. Instead of buyers lining up, we ended up with emails and calls from customers that perceived our low prices as being, “too good to be true.” It was clear that customers in this industry were not making their buying decision based on price alone.
I was attending a night class at the time for international business and was fortunate enough to have a professor who refused to teach out of a text book. One night he showed the class an 18 minute YouTube video that completely changed the way I was attempting to tackle this company’s problem. As I watched his feature on Ted Talks, I felt as if Simon Sinek was speaking to the heart of the issue my team was having back at the office. The solution he offered up was this,
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
The next day, I brought my team into the office, showed them Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk I had seen the night before and decided to scrap our entire sales and marketing strategy and start over. What happened over the next 12 months was one of the most exciting rides I have been on in business and that sales team ended up doing over 5.2 million dollars in sales over the next year.
Below is a step by step infographic on the path we followed the next day to turn the owner’s idea into a viable business.