Building a Sales Assembly line. Pt 3. First Mover

The first mover has a double-edged sword. We are going to sharpen one side and dull the other. We want to win.
Let’s begin with reverse engineering this example from tech history. Apple did not invent the MP3 player, nor the compression of files, nor their music distribution or pricing. Apple did something far smarter than wrap a good technology in a snazzy design; it wrapped a good technology in a great business model.
Not all volatility is created equal. We want volatility to optimize our chances of becoming the market leader, fail safe solution and the incumbent. That is a 100% win. Every business decision has an ‘optimal’ that has the highest likelihood of contributing to the win. Time is also a value, we have to preserve our distance from competition.
Some part of our winning will be luck and the mistakes our competitors will make. So too is the ‘human’ element. We will make mistakes, we have anxiety, we have fears or make unsure actions. We just want the competition to have more anxiety, more fears and more unsure actions.
Optimal is positional, it’s more important to understand strategies and tactics than trying to make a set of rules conform to every situation.
Always consider alternatives. The mind fixates on a business decision. Sometimes it is accidentally the right decision and that can be because the decision was simple, there is little chance of failure or risk. Unattended decisions lead to laziness and overconfidence in your intuition. People have vanities and groupthink, alternatives can be neglected or discarded merely because they are wrong without an evaluation of why it is wrong.
I have described the conditions on which our war is fought. your battlefield is unknown to me.
The two winning silhouettes up and down the market:
High cost premium provider. Well trained sales feet on the street evangelizing, finding new users, indoctrinating them and developing the social cache of the brand ‘we are the best‘. Staffing ratios are heavy on human  touch and interventions. The cost of acquisition is high but it’s recovered quickly.
Low-cost provider. Clients will benchmark versus the high cost provider and make the choice to compromise for the less extravagant solution. Staffing ratios are less favorable for the client. Sales cycles are quicker. Customer dissatisfaction is high but that was expected and doesn’t imperil the client
Chances are better being the high cost provider. We’ll have more money and a rainy day fund.
The first mover must have a value that is not on a spreadsheet:
Unique Language. Not acronyms, no prospect wants to decipher an excess. We want just enough that it becomes identifiably ours and the competition must use our terms
Proprietary billing methodology. It doesn’t need to be entirely transparent to the client, it does need to be one line item
Charge 300% more (rule of thumb, adjust but keep impossibly high) and then reverse engineer how to justify that cost. Intimacy is always premium product, as is reducing all the burdens of education, implementation, etc., from the client.
Keep salespeople in suits and business attire. This is an important symbol. The low-cost alternative has salespeople coming in casually. The latter builds an identity around ‘quality’ the former around ‘price’
Aggressively define the product as the premier offering. This means also pricing discipline, rigid client selection and being willing to say not to a client. Sometimes walking away from a deal is all you need to do to get them to sign. It also has a type of viral effect that it gains prestige in the marketplace and the non-clients will refer you to their better suited peers
Eye popping presentations. Reduces the presence of the salesperson and puts the company first, prospect second, salesperson third. The lower cost entrant has the opposite order
The End?
This is a long essay that I have divided up into its component pieces:
The Cultural Shift
Define It or the Prospect Will
Exploiting the First Mover Advantage
Reverse Engineering a 300% Price Increase
Each Sales Office is a Franchise
Why Good Salespeople Fail
Why The CEO Should Not Be Selling
Intimacy is a Premium
Breeding Your Competitors
SDR’s. Million Dollar Solution. Hundred Dollar Problem

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