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Element 4. Demonstrable Now > Practical Experience—This Deserves the Minimum We...

Practical Experience—This Deserves the Minimum Weight of 1

Customer confidence can be hard to win if you have a product that defies easy understanding. At PTAT we were attempting to actually sell pieces of an underseas fiber optic cable to the end users.[1] Until that time they were aware only that their circuits terminated overseas and any sophisticated knowledge or understanding was therefore unnecessary. But a new era in telecommunications began when customers could actually own their own portion of the pipe in a condo arrangement. People had trouble understanding this when we pitched the sale. So we handed out actual one-inch-long pieces of the cable along with an explanation of its physical path, including a survey of all the wrecks at sea between New York and England. We had been able to determine that the cable we were selling passed very close to the Titanic and several other interesting wrecks. Armed with the map and a section of the cable, we received 17 preliminary expressions of interest in the purchase of capacity on our cable more than 17 months before it was installed and placed into service. Seeing and touching pieces of the actual cable, as well as understanding its projected whereabouts, made all the difference.

[1] For further explanation see Appendix II.

Dr. Market’s Observation:

Use plenty of metaphors if you cannot provide a working copy. The point is to make the prospect comfortable with what it is you are selling. For a really revolutionary idea, the substitution can even come from your imagination. Consider this early description of television: “radio with pictures.”



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