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Incident to Insight


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On a recent flight, I was doing my best to ignore the entire world, listening to a great live recording of the Grateful Dead from 1977 (a very inspired year for the band) and catch up on my expense report when the guy next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “So what do you do?”.
Many of you know the dread that immediately went through my mind: “can’t you see I am invisible right now and you are breaking the code of the road warrior you ***Censored***.” However, by the end of the flight, I had a great lead for a customer (the guy needed a new booth and graphics and was appreciative that I could direct him to an Optima distributor) and some very interesting insight to the thinking of an end-client.
Optima’s wholesale-only position keeps us away from these animals – I guess that makes you guys the zoo keepers. His point to me was that it is not all about price right now but rather that his business has to receive value for what they buy. He told me that his company typically asks what are your value-adds and how do you explain them as bundled within your price or proposal. Now, not all customers are refined enough to think this way, but what he is right about is that we all have value-adds that allow us to sell on factors other than price – do you know what yours are and what do you look for in a vendor?
We all want great (but fair) pricing. In addition, quality and service are extremely important to the consumer. how about you?
What did I learn by tuning into the consumer instead of the Grateful Dead? Consumers still demand quality and service along with fair pricing. In short, values may have changed since 1977 but value in the marketplace hasn’t gone anywhere.
See you on the next flight!
Dave
Categories: Business
  1. November 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Nice post Dave, almost parable-like. We all are “devisolating” ourselves…focusing on input delivered to us through our technology devices and tuning out the serendipitous opportunities to engage with people in the real world, or even our own minds, for a few precious minutes. There’s no app for that.

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