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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sell Them What They Want

I've just been re-reading "Acres of Diamonds" by Russell Conwell. One story he told during his talk on "Acres of Diamonds" is about A.T.Stewart who went on to become a multi-millionaire. This is what Russell told his audiences:

..."A.T. Stewart, a poor boy in New York, had $1.50 to begin life on. He lost 87 cents of that on the very first venture. How fortunate that young man who loses the first time he gambles.

That boy said, 'I will never gamble again in business,' and he never did.

How came he to lose 87 cents? You probably all know the story how he lost it -- because he bought some needles, threads, and buttons to sell which people did not want, and had them left on his hands, a dead loss. Said the boy, 'I will not lose any more money in that way.'  Then he went around first to the doors and asked people what they did want. Then when he had found out what they wanted he invested 63 cents to supply a known demand.

You must know what people need, and then invest yourself where you are needed most."

The moral is obvious and yet how many companies start-up with the fervent hope that what they offer is something people want?  Or worse it's something people ought to have or should need.

How Do You Find What People Need?

5 skills help you to pin down what people want to buy from you, they are:

  1. Research - by asking people what is difficult, expensive or impossible - but what they want
  2. Act - by quickly and cheaply creating a version of what you propose offering to them
  3. Test - by trying to sell your product or service
  4. Examine - your sales figures and overall costs, if it makes money that's it, if doesn't drop it
  5. Roll-out - Improve and implement your offer to all your prospects

One further thought don't drop your test product or service until you've worked out whether there's a different way of presenting it, changing it or marketing it that might make it profitable. Then test again!


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