Book Excerpt: Do You Have a Million Dollar Idea?
Marty J. Carty is the inventor of the patented ShurTrax System-a safer alternative to add traction to your vehicle. He has written the book, Do You Have A Million Dollar Idea? Learn the Seven Steps of the Invention Process Through One Man's Incredible Journey!
This is an excerpt from that book.
The chapter is, Let the Sales Calls Begin!
Selling is a credibility issue. The more names you can drop-this newspaper, that TV show, this radio program, that truck magazine-the easier it gets to wedge your foot in the door and actually talk to someone at some company who can buy your product! I was getting more and more excited with the free press we were still getting and decided to use these wellwritten, professional-looking articles to start calling on potential retail customers for the upcoming fall season.
There are several types of customers to call on. By grabbing a pickup truck accessory magazine and leafing through it, you can find several companies that sell products over the Internet and/ or Catalogs. They are all potential customers. Until you get funding and start doing some major advertising, you can forget about getting into the big box retailers. But don't be discouraged; like everything else, selling is a process. It grows slowly, but it grows. Today ShurTrax products are sold in stores throughout the United States and Canada-big stores you know and shop at-but it took time.
But even with targeting our retailer lists carefully, we once again started to hit the same obstacles with the retail people as I had with the manufacturers: our lackluster, rushed packaging didn't present the same impact as those great newspaper articles and magazine ads did.
As a result, our credibility-and potential sales-suffered. Clearly we needed to get a professional package put together. While we worked out the packaging issues, we also realized we needed to create demand. Although retailers love new products,they are not into selling-rather, they are into fulfilling their customers' demands. Once people start asking for your product, retailers will want to carry it.
So how do you create demand? We began to do some rigorous testing on the ShurTrax units so we could answer the consumer questions that began to mount from prospective retailers. I then put together a Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, document and put it on our Web site. The tests included freezing and thawing, loading cargo on top of the device, and several others that we knew potential customers would be interested in.
Momentum was building, but we left no stone unturned. We did big things, like appear on TV commercials, and we did small things, like reaching out to those we could see and hear. For instance, I sold a couple units to co-workers, and they liked the product.
I then decided to cold-call a local truck accessory store called Pickups Plus. I called Larry, the owner, and asked him if I could stop by and show him this "amazing new product" and he agreed. I quickly folded, wrapped, and placed a PowerPoint insert inside a ShurTrax package and headed to the store. I even took my truck so he could see one installed. Larry came out with his son, Kyle (the store manager), and they looked it over and said they could sell these and placed an order for twelve units.
I could have skipped all the way home! With sales growing steadily, and interest maturing right alongside our sales momentum, Jim and I realized we could no longer put off designing a better ShurTrax logo. So Jim immediately dug in on developing a professional ShurTrax logo.
We wanted something bright, colorful, memorable, and, above all, recognizable as our own. We wanted to represent ShurTrax so that it stood out, but more than that, we wanted people to remember it. It just so happened Jim knew a freelancer that developed several ideas for the ShurTrax logo. I then called my patent attorney and had the logo registered along with the patent. It was official: not only did ShurTrax finally have professional packaging, but we also had a logo.
I like to think we picked the best one.