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I Liked the Product So Much, I Bought the Company
Victor Kiam once said, "I liked it so much, I bought the company."
When was the last time you were so motivated by a product that you called the company asking how they handled distribution just to see if you could be their next best distributor or rep? It just happened to me about 2 months ago.
I was on a sales call with a local podiatrist. We were discussing the use of a new, cutting edge product that includes stem cells for the healing of diabetic foot ulcers and other maladies of the foot and ankle. Somewhere in the discussion the fact that my 54 year old knees have been 75 year old knees for at least 25 years. I was continuously in pain, and it was worsened when I had to stand for long periods when I was supporting surgery, or even when I am hunting or fishing. The doctor looked at me and said casually, "I want to give you a trial of this product we use for foot pain. Let me know if it does any good for you."
That was 3 months ago. At the time, I was taking as many as 12 or more ibuprofen or other pain killers every day. I wore a knee brace almost every day and woke up many nights in pain. That night I rubbed this magic elixir on my knees. I slept through the night with no pain. The next morning, for the first time in decades, I got out of bed and walked to the restroom without thinking about how bad my knees hurt. Since that time, I have had maybe 6 ibuprofen, and I never wear my knee brace anymore. I have introduced the product to several friends and family members, all of whom have experienced similar levels of relief.
So I went online. The company is very restrictive about sharing information so it took a little work to get to the right person. Finally, I got through to the decision maker and said, "I just wanted to tell you I am a disciple for your product. Now, how can I spread the word for you?"
He was a bit taken aback. I explained that I was a medical distributor in this region and the experience I had with his product. He laughed and said that was just what he hoped everyone experienced when they used his products. As it turned out, he didn't have any distribution in this area. He does now - and since I used the product myself and found it so helpful, my sales pitch is backed by personal experience.
Here's the other advantage for me now, and it may be applied to something you sell. In the medical field, selling a doctor on using your product in surgery doesn't enhance that doctor's pocketbook by one nickel - or at least it isn't supposed to. Medical devices are bought and paid for by the hospitals and surgery centers, not doctors. But a product that the doctor can dispense in the front office as a pre/post-treatment for surgery or pain or orthotic device like diabetic shoes, for example, he can actually make a nickle off of these items and the government doesn't get to dictate what he charges. So now you can effectively provide him something that can enhance is bottom line. This is valuable to him - and makes you a hero.
So I didn't really "buy the company," but I did buy into the company and now I own this territory. What a great opportunity for me and my customer physicians.
The question becomes how do you look at products that you could sell into your current markets that you aren't now? Does it dilute your pitch to offer too many different options to the same person? Or does it make sense that you are bringing value because you can think past one product? Independent reps know the difference.