I’ve always said that in a society like ours, our profession – selling – is the tip of the economic spear. We are economic drivers, not passengers, and our profession produces real good and real growth. Particularly in instances where new ideas, concepts, and products need to be brought to market, someone has to persuade someone else to write a check.
This effect, of course, has been somewhat diluted during the age of Internet vendors and product introductions – but it’s still valid. I had a very vivid illustration of this concept presented to me last month in Las Vegas.
For those who don’t go to Vegas, for time immemorial, the huge Strip casinos used to have free parking. Valet parking, self parking, didn’t matter – it was free. That changed about a year ago; now parking on the Strip is paid-for parking. The only casino that I know of that still has free self parking is Treasure Island – but I digress. I’m sure there were a lot of customer complaints. Who, after all, wants to spend their time driving around a parking garage looking for a spot after paying for the privilege?
Thus, when I entered the garage at Mandalay Bay last month, I saw something very surprising and very cool. They now have a system which senses, highlights, and counts the available parking spots in the parking garage. When you drive in, there’s a little display above each turnout that tells you exactly how many spaces are available in that direction. When you go down a row, there’s a row of lights overhead from each parking spot – they are red if the spot is occupied, green if it’s open. You find the green lights and there’s your spot. Easy-peasy.
I marveled over this innovation – and as I went to other Strip casinos, I saw that nearly every one had implemented one such system. It was like a quick wave. Doing what I do for a living, I immediately thought of the salesperson who made the first sale.
You see, someone had to invent this system – but then someone (inventor, company owner, salesperson, makes no difference) had to sell a casino operator on buying and installing it – it couldn’t have been cheap. I bet they had to ask some very tough questions, and make an amazing presentation to make what was easily a seven-figure sale and maybe eight figures.
They extolled the customer friendliness of the system, explaining that they’d likely get fewer complaints.
Then – I’m betting that their trump card was some sort of set of statistics showing the cost of each minute a person spent driving around the parking garage instead of gambling, shopping, or eating in their hotels. ROI figures were presented, a proposal was shown, and then they closed.
And then, after the first one was installed, they probably went up and down the Strip, explaining to other operators how their resort would be left behind if they didn’t install this.
Somebody made a LOT of money. And, more importantly, somebody solved some headaches for their customer – and did so with a product that didn’t even exist a year ago (or at least didn’t exist in Vegas).
Somebody probably had a lot of people telling them why this wouldn’t work, why the casinos would never buy, why it didn’t make sense, etc. But they persevered.
Whenever you get a bit discouraged, or your boss rolls out a new product and you’re skeptical, think of those red and green lights and understand that there’s a business case for everything, that there’s a buyer for everything, and that it’s our job to make it happen.
SIDE NOTE: Is your company going to make its numbers? Why or why not? If you are the owner of a company and you’d like some input, I’d like to make you an offer – I’d like to offer you a complementary Sales Strategy Review session. You can access my input on how to grow your company, completely without obligation, for the next two weeks. We’ll spend about 45 minutes to an hour on the phone (unless you’re in Kansas City; then we can meet in person), we’ll go over your sales approach, staffing, process, compensation, and other issues affecting your sales success. You’ll get at least 2-3 good take-aways that you can implement completely on your own, even if you never spend a dime with me. It’s my way of helping my friends, and if you’re reading this, you’re my friend.