Thursday, August 28, 2008

Probably the hardest sales job ever

The VP of Marketing of my old company is an absolute master at analogies. One of my favorites was when he described to me the idea of selling a new product that creates a brand-new niche - often a very difficult task.

He likened it to the first person that had to break ground selling thermometers. Not the "How's the weather" thermometers, I mean the "Do you have a fever thermometers". Surely nowadays these are digital little gizmos, but when they came out they were the old-fashioned mercury based ones.

I can imagine the sales-pitch:

Customer: So, whats it good for?
Salesman: It will tell you your temperature.

Customer: Why do I care about that?
Salesman: Well, then you will know when you have a fever.

Customer: Um. I already know when I have a fever.
Salesman: Yeah, but now you'll be sure.

Customer: Erm.. k.. What's it made of?
Salesman: Glass

Customer: Whats that stuff inside it?
Salesman: Mercury - careful, its toxic.

Customer: How do I use it?
Salesman: You just put it in your butt for 2 minutes.

Um. So basically, you want me to take this toxic-substance filled thermo-thing made of breakable glass, stick it and leave it in my butt for 2 minutes so that I'll know something I pretty much already knew.
Salesman: Yepper.

Customer: Awesome - I'll take 2 !

That had to be a hard job. Solve a problem that was perceived as not needing solving and then do it in a new, dangerous, and highly uncomfortable way. And you thought software was hard.


Sleep Deprivation Ninja said...

reminds me of the first person to recommend drinking cows milk:

Seller: here, try this!
Buyer: Wh-what is it?
Seller: you know those big, smelly mammals over in the fields? I just squeezed one's tit and this stuff came out!
Buyer: oh! Well alright. Hook me up with a bucket full.

Scotty Allen said...

I've always thought smoking must have a tough sell. "You want me to light what on fire and then inhale the smoke? Doesn't sitting in the campfire smoke make me cough and make my eyes burn?"

And who ever thought smoking would be something worth trying in the first place?

DigitalHobbit said...

Lol, nice one! :)

Rich said...

You could sell anything if you have the 2 major US media networks on your side.

TechnoSamrat said...

LOL... good one dude.. It is very difficult to be a great sales man..

Poca Tinta said...


Denwai said...

nice one, lol

paddy said...

The way you explained it was nice :)