Haiku: New Buyers, Who Dis?

Haiku: New Buyers, Who Dis?

New buyers you say / Not in my Roledex, man / No such buyers then

Today’s product management haiku was inspired by HBR IdeaCast’s podcast with Tom Steenburgh on why successful companies often struggle to sell new products to existing clients.

Here’s a portion of the conversation that I found especially interesting:

CURT NICKISCH: And then you question whether or not you’re on the right track if you have all this early interest, which seems promising, and then converting those that interest into sales, when that lags, all of a sudden, then everybody gets scared, I imagine.

TOM STEENBURGH: Yeah. It’s like the rug gets pulled out from under their feet and they just feel like, “Wow, it seemed like I had tons of interest. It seemed like this would be really a huge hit and it’s not going anywhere”. And then they sour on the product.

CURT NICKISCH: But you’re saying that’s normal.

TOM STEENBURGH: That’s totally normal. I think that’s where the grit comes into to get things done and also being more selective in the types of clients that you choose upfront because there are many clients that just when push comes to shove, they’re not going to buy. They’re just using you to figure out how the market’s working and you want to figure that part out early.

If there’s, if there’s one thing that a salesperson has to jealously guard, it’s their time. So the best reps sort of take a different approach and are much more selective in the clients that they work with.

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomsteenburgh for more sales and product management tips and insights.

For a compelling example of someone who did not know how to guard his time well, check out the story of Adam Warlock, who gets flung into the future, goes insane, changes his name to Magus, founds a religious empire called The Universal Church of Truth, and ends up fighting his pre-Magus self for control of their destiny.

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