Home > Resistance > Early adopters --acquiring first customers

Early adopters --acquiring first customers

I searched the forum a lot. But couldn't find this topic (may be 'missed a few in between)

Our product is a bit innovative and disruptive (tech-wise).
So far, the ones we prospected have told us, that they are not risk-takers and we are better off going with early adopters.

I see this as an objection (sales) in overcoming their conservatism. Any ideas on how to get them motivated beyond
incentives in pricing (aggessive) and roadmap?

Our early adopters are really the big customers, but we dont have resources as a start-up to engage such big customers! How to get their attention even for a second? Any ideas on this?

Thanks a mil in advance. - by softseller
Soft, there isn't a lot (in the post) to get the teeth into. I've been on the (technology) edge a number of times and have been in front of a market place which didn't understand the offering. It is difficult if you sell the "technology" versus the business-side.

For example: we had a computer vision-based technology which measured to +/- .001" at the railhead. When my predecessor presented this side of the offering, the audience literally glazed over. HOWEVER, when we dug into the implication (of being able to measure with that level of accuracy), we were able to uncover a $10 million savings in rail replacement!!! With a priced at about $250K ... you do the math on the ROI!

If you'd like you can PM me with the details for a more focused dialogue.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales

What Pat is saying is that you must focus on the BENEFIT of your offering and NOT the feature.

Companies, large. small or anywhere in between are ALWAYS interested in things that will BENEFIT them.

You can easily overcome the resistance to risk and innovation when you focus purely on the BENEFIT.

So your approach should be..."If we could show you a way to (achieve/increase/improve/reduce) or whatever would you be interested in taking a look.

When they say....'what is it?'

You simply reply by restating the BENEFIT...."We have developed/invented/discovered a way whereby you can (achieve/increase/improve/reduce) or whatever . . . "

Do not go into the complexity/newness etc....just focus on the benefit and ask again . . 'is that something that would interest you?'

Good Luck - by helisell
Thanks to both of you!

Ofcourse we tie-up everything to $s (benefits/features translated) on showing our value-prop. However, ours is technology + users (end users like ave. Joe next door). Joe is our consumer and a customer to a big corp (say abc). Our customer is abc. For several months, the product is developed with Joe in loop (focus groups-based).

Now, when we approach abc, they comeback and flip the process by saying "we may risk losing Joe as our customer if we dont maintain status-quo; we are not early adopters; go with those who can and please, please come back when you have gained market; we are pleased with technology and the benefits it offers"

We have shown status-qo means how much risk and loss they (abc) have to live with --> all translated into $s.
I do have power to give and motivate customer on whatever incentive abc is interested, and looking for some ideas...

'am still probably talking abstract but will reply to PMs in details.. - by softseller
I've also been in this position and it's a real "Catch 22". I agree with what the other guys say about stressing benefits but the lack of existing customers (= lack of proven solution) is a real objection, and a tough one at that. You may be offering to save them a fortune, but if your product causes a production stop (for instance) because it hasn't been shaken down properly it could also cost them a fortune!
I think as a company you need to take a pragmatic position on this. What you need are some "tame" early adoptors that you can then use as reference sites for other customers, including the big targets that you mention. I suggest you do this by some creative negotiating and deal-making. So for instance if you have a good opportunity and the prospect is pushing for a price reduction maybe you give them it :cu ... BUT only in return for them being willing to be a act as reference site that you can take other prospects to visit and you can base a "white paper" on, including detailed ROI. Of course, you will have to support the hell out of this customer but you then have a great way to answer the "un-proven product" objection... "go talk to these guys!"
Mark - by markgoodson
Soft, we've connected via PM but I wanted to drive home another point for the forum.

Where I've been successful with leading edge technology, it's because I engaged in dedicated "skunk-works" long before presenting the offering:
1. target a minimal (manageable) number of accounts; and,
2. ask and listen about how things are done now (ensure that you uncover the implications of each issue identified); and,
3. find and qualify those individuals with REAL "skin in the game":
a) senior individuals with bonuses based on goal which include productivity improvements (identify how the competition is currently performing); and,
b) mid-line managers implementing the strategy handed down my mgmt to identify/quantify the implications of how it's being done (and possible areas for improvement *); and,
c) do-ers (and ask all the questions about politics here);

* In order to alleviate the pain experienced when you ask about areas for improvement, I found the following approach successful: "... let me hand you the pallet, the brush, and canvas and ask you to paint me a picture of the solution that you'd like to have ... (cost and technology are not part of such a masterpiece)"

While you're going through this exercise ensure that you take copious notes and ensure that they see you taking notes. I use a Time Systems leather binder with an account page for each prospect. When you begin to uncover suspicion or credibility issues, it's always useful to, pull out the binder (theatrically) and, say, "... you'll recall my taking notes at the time ... let me just refer to them now ...".

You need to build a bullet-proof business case and when it starts with a strong foundation, you'll feel the support build around you. Your competition will be flogging "more of the same" but you'll be relating to business implications of your solution.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales

I have seen that these kinds of products are the best to prospect for and sell using internet marketing, assuming your product addresses a real 'want' (or at least 'need') of the market. You need plenty of tools, free newsletters, eBooks, free consulting sessions, etc. to sell, as your prospects won't get educated in one go; the process will take a little time.

You can get prospects (who can become customers) from unknown geographical markets. Believe me, internet marketing will be an extremely cost effective tool for you. It will also help you understand your market better and fine-tune the product, if need be.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.