Find, Capture Or Create?

Bear with me through just a tad of fundamental economics. It’s a needed foundation for being honest with yourself about my real question in this post.

  • If you were mildly hungry and loved bananas, how many would you buy if they cost $9,000 each? Lots or none? (Point #1 on the blue curve)
  • Same question, but now assume you could lock in a lifetime supply at 10 for $1? Lots or none? (Point #2 on the blue curve)
  • If you had sole ownership of a banana farm and they were flying off the shelves at $9,000 a pop, how many would you try to pick each day? Lots or none? (Point #3 on the red curve)
  • Same question, but now a 12 hour workday yields $8.12 in banana-picking profit? (Point #4 on the red curve)

The law of supply and demand is one of those things we sales types ignore at our peril.  Now on to my real point.  Consider three different reps with three different core skill sets.

Rep #1 can Find Demand. There are lots of prospects out there looking for the “X” that #1 is selling, and he has a knack for spotting them. Good ole’ #1 also has an outstanding work ethic; making call after call after call. Nobody will outwork him!  He’ll track ’em down and if he’s low bidder, he’ll win.

Rep #2 can Capture Demand. She’s smart. She follows all the Type #1s around knowing they will lead her to qualified opportunities. Then she engages in heated competition hoping that no other #2s are around. She regularly beats the #1s, but when there are three or four other type 2s in mix, things can get dicey. The RFPs can get more complex. Presentation/demonstration prep can consume a lot of time. The pressure to add more bells, whistles and services (for free),  can get pretty intense. Oh, but work-ethic-wise, she’s no slouch either!

Rep #3 can Create Demand. Our intrepid type 3 rarely if ever responds to an RFP. #3 doesn’t even pay too much attention to the problems of all the decision influencers. #3 spends the day defining and developing solutions to problems the prospect hasn’t even thought about yet. Every now and again #3 waltzes into the customer’s office with a recommendation for action, complete with a detailed financial justification for its implementation.  From the decision-maker’s perspective, its’ ROI on a silver platter.

Now go back to the supply and demand curve. How high is the supply of type #1s? (High.) How many type #3s are around? (Few.) How many type #2s? (Somewhere in the middle.)

What’s the relative pay for each type of sales rep? What’s your focus? Where do you want to live? Find; Capture or Create?

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