top of page
  • Jerry Phillips

Selling an Unknown Solution

Is there a more personal choice than the coffee we drink? Some people don’t care as long as it’s hot. Others want a special formula with exotic ingredients and sizes. Years ago, when I hated coffee, I was one of the former. It was just for function, not for taste. Today, I’m more of a snob, so I’m not judging.

As I walked through an airport last Friday, I noticed there were two coffee shops within 50 feet of each other. Both had interesting names. Caviar & Bananas, and Harvest Grounds. I admit I didn’t drink coffee for either place because I had gone to a third shop before I went through security. I just found it interesting how creative the names were and the buildout of their shops. It made me think of the effort to appeal to a customer without a strong brand name.

I have sold for five companies in my career. Three companies had very strong brand names and two did not have strong names. The two that didn’t have a strong brand were much more challenging to open doors. One of those companies was my practice. I remember reaching out to a company when I initially opened my practice and the counter sales person answered the call. When I shared who I was and who I wanted to speak to, he hung up on me. It was a humbling experience. I realized that my company name would not open doors. I had to be creative and that was to work within my network and to leverage referrals and plan my calls.

I live in Austin and there are a number of startup companies that don’t have strong brand presence. I realize how difficult it must be to reach out and start a conversation without being known. You can have the best product that drives the best return on investment, but without a strong sales process, the product never gets seen. Your calls must be planned so when someone does have interest, you can align with them.

The lesson I learned was to make it about the customer, and I must be meticulous about planning my calls. The first thing I do is define what I want to say when they answer. What is the purpose of my interaction with the prospect. I want to have a primary and secondary objective for the call, and I want to determine what questions to ask the prospect based on the information I need to know. I want to anticipate what questions/objections they might have and determine how I can answer their questions to help take risk out for them. Finally, I’m very focused on the points I want to make to them, that differentiates our company from others. None of the planning would be possible without research.

While I believe NineRuns is a great company name (it’s a baseball thing), it doesn’t open new doors without some type of connection. I can’t differentiate based on a name or location. I must have the grit to work through a few telephone hang ups or a few “no” answers.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Be Nice

After the economic melt down of 2009, I realized how critical it is to continue to prospect for customers, especially when things are going well for you. With that in mind, we hired a lead generation

We can all be inspirational

When I read this quote, it made me realize that being curious, and consistently looking for better methods to improve performance, are the cause of inspiration. Looking outside of your chosen profess

Every price is too high until you establish value

Early last week I was attending a sales meeting with a client. I was presenting a workshop on the second day, but wanted to sit in on the first day so I’d have a better understanding of what they wer


bottom of page