What innovative strategy do 99% of businesses use to drive their business and growth? They look around and follow what the competitors are doing! This means that most new sales and marketing ideas are 5-10 years old.
As a Sales Recruiter, most businesses tell me that they want to hire a great Rainmaker to transform the business overnight. In fact, most are afraid of innovation and will force potential Rainmakers toward mediocrity. Most businesses force salespeople into the very same activities that the failing competition has used for decades.
The best salespeople in the world are innovators – period! Leapfrog Your Competition!
Steve Jobs was not a technological Genius he simply knew that it is ‘the sizzle that sells the steak’ and demanded a bigger sizzle! Remember, Steve Jobs was fired by his own board before he came back to rescue the failing Apple business. Apple is a computer company but it was innovation that took them into Music Retailing, Mobile Telephones, Innovative Retail Environments, and Tablets.
The success of Apple is the result of innovation not invention and certainly not an effort to dominate markets through competitive prowess. In fact, Apple’s success really has come from creating markets – it is a poor competitor. Apple has created some of the largest, most successful retail stores ever created but they break every rule of established retailing. Apples stores are huge, confusing rooms with lots of people playing with computers. It can actually be a challenge just to buy something!
Being different has worked!
Ray Kroc, of McDonald’s fame was a salesman through and through and knew little of the restaurant business, but recognized a different and successful business model when he saw it. Ray capitalized and leveraged the difference: no seating, assembly line production, and low pricing and joined a winning design with a relatively new concept of franchising.
Until Ray Kroc, at age 53, stumbled across the McDonald brothers and recognized the potential in their innovation he had been a modestly successful traveling salesman. It was his recognition and belief in innovation that changed the eating habits of an entire world.
Ray did not follow a tried and tested path of restaurant success – he championed a revolution! Leapfrog Your Competition!
Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals is not a name that most people outside of Spain would know where Pujals is a billionaire entrepreneur.
The magic about Pujils is that he is not even Spanish – well, he did not start there. Born in Cuba, Pujils joined his thousands of countrymen who ventured the 90 miles of sea to find a new life in the United States. He worked hard, joined the army doing a stint in the Korean War before starting off into sales with P&G and Johnson&Johnson.
Always looking for an opportunity Pujils recognized that Spain in the 1980’s was full of opportunity. After 5 decades of dictatorship under Francisco Franco, Pujils recognized that there was tremendous opportunity in fast food, which had never made an appearance in Spain. Creating a business model based on the systems of McDonalds and the guaranteed 30-minute delivery of Dominos Pizza, he launched Telepizza and quickly dominated the Spanish fast food market.
In the years since he has created a personal fortune and transformed the eating habits of an entire country – perhaps not for the best!
These three business giants are examples of salespeople who understood that selling what everyone else sells, using the techniques that everyone else uses will only buy you a crowded place in the rat race.
To be heard, to stand out, you need to take a risk and try something different.
Calling the same customers with the same pitch puts you in direct competition with everyone else and if everyone sounds the same it is a tough sell! Sure, keep doing what you’ve always done but take some of your resources and try some different approaches.
Look to other countries or industries and see if you can import an approach that works elsewhere.
Could hotel room service have anything to teach the Recruitment Industry or could McDonalds teach Professional Consulting a thing or two?
Henry Ford did not create the assembly line because he was crazy for production systems. His quest was to build and sell an automobile for $500. The creation of the assembly line simply lowered production costs to make that goal possible.
Think Different – Sell Different! Leapfrog Your Competition!