Do not sell to the unsellable
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Today's episode is a super short and sweet one I feel coming on. I want to just dive into the concept of not trying to sell the unsellable. Do not try to sell the unsellable. It's the number one rule when starting out as a freelancer or starting your own business. I'll be diving into all that in this episode. If you have a subject, thoughts or things that you want me to explore in future episodes, please reach out to me, I would love to hear from you.
Read on for the full transcription or listen to the podcast episode here
So I think this is going to be a super short and sweet episode, but it's such an important concept to wrap your head around, to not try to sell the unsellable. I remember a few years ago, a friend of mine was starting a company, and in a totally different industry, nothing to do with the creative industries, it was actually in a very specific niche within recruitment. She said to me: ‘Alex, this is the first time I'm going out by myself and I'm just scared because I really hate sales.’ And I was like ‘What do you mean “you hate sales”? You can't go into business for yourself and hate sales, that makes no sense.’ We talked for a good hour or so about her business and about her passions, and why she'd started the company, blah, blah, blah… And when we got on to the topic of why she hated sales, it became really apparent very quickly, that the reason she hated sales, is because she was trying to sell the unsellable. She wasn't refining or reaching out to the right people that she had a shot at convincing to use her company. And this is so important, right? And it's like when you are in a really fierce argument with someone, and there are just some people who are just not willing to change their mind. There are some people that are just so stuck in their ways, or they have such a closed mind to things that they just can't understand, that there's nothing you could say that would convince them otherwise. You could have the best argument for why - in our case, VR 360 was the solution to that person's problem - but they just don't want to hear it because they've already decided in their head that tech is the enemy, or they don't see the point in it, or ‘isn't that just the gamers’ or whatever it might be, they've already made up their mind. Those are not the kind of people that you want to waste your energy on. Now, granted, at some point down the line, that person might change their mind, maybe it will take until the tech is much more widely adopted. For example, there were people that slated the iPhone when it first came out, they said ‘it's a phase that will never take off. Smartphones will never take off. I think in fact, Blackberry, Japan - I think I remember hearing an anecdote about their company that was like - no, it will never take off, the old glass display you know, no buttons, people like buttons. Guys, people love a keyboard. We're never going to get rid of the keyboard. People will not take this up. It will not last, we're not worried. Ooh, awkward. Imagine being that spokesperson for the company. So painful. It's a bit like blockbuster. Did you know that Netflix, offered themselves to be bought by Blockbuster? They kind of went looking for a buyer, I
can't remember what year it was but it was before obviously they turned into the most powerful streaming giant in the world and they offered up there their company to potentially be bought by blockbuster, who at the time were obviously the kings and the dominant force in the video and DVD rental market. And blockbuster said no because again, they just didn't have the vision, they just couldn't see the point in it. They didn't want to know, people liked the experience of renting a DVD or a video. And now I don't even remember, it's crazy because I literally sold my whole DVD collection recently because I realised I don't even have a device in my house that could even play a DVD even if I wanted to. Anyway, my point being, there will be some people, some companies, there will be people that you come across in your journey that just will not budge, they are not interested. Do not waste your time trying to sell the unsellable. You want to go after people who are adventurous or innovative and kind of are looking at the space of VR and 360 or emerging tech because there are going to be way more open to the conversation now. Of course, VR and 360 has to deliver on its promise, which is that it's the most valuable format that they could be doing something in, whether it's training or marketing, or using as a sales tool or whatever it is, it has to still prove the point. But there's going to be some people in your journey that will already be bought in before you've even had a conversation and your job then, is to kind of a make sure that are showing that you're the right person for that job. But also making sure that what you deliver will actually hold up to the standards and expectations that hat person has. But the most interesting people and the majority of your clients will come from people in the middle. They might not even know VR exists yet, it's not something that they're looking for but they have a problem. And they don't yet know that VR or 360 is the solution to that problem. And so it's your job at that point, that you go in there and open their eyes, bring them into this world. Your job is to go in there and kind of show why VR and 360 is the solution to their problem. And you'll know very, very quickly if those people are open minded or if they are open to the discussion, because they will show you. Whether it's responding to your outreach email saying - 'you know what, this sounds interesting, let's have a phone call' or whether it is. Maybe they're interested in hearing more or maybe they say - 'it seems a little bit scary to us, because the tech is so new, but we'd be open to the conversation, can you come in and give us a demo?'. Do not waste your time with people that respond in any other way than showing a slight interest. Just say - 'thanks so much for your time' and move on.
Sometimes companies have experienced VR but haven't had the infrastructure to support. So it might be that they got a VR headset, but then no one used it because no one in the company knew how to use it or, you know, it was used once but they didn't find a good way to kind of keep people coming back for more. But there might be a way to kind of take that experience and flip it on its head and try initiate something but I really, I really - especially if you're just starting out - wouldn't spend your energy on that. I would go after the people that are open and excited about the opportunity or the or the the idea of working with you with this new medium. Don't waste your time trying to sell the unsellable. It is a waste of time. It's the people in the middle to go for, the people that are on the fence, go for the people that might have either never heard of it but as soon as they have they might be like, scared but curious and those are the people you want to go after. I promise you, I promise you, you will not regret this.
I'll leave you with this - do not sell the unsellable. It will make your life so much easier. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, if the person, if the relationship starts off with you having to desperately try and convince someone why they're wrong about VR or 360, chances are, they're not going to be a great client to work with, it's going to be an uphill battle. And if they don't believe in it, then it's just better to move on and work with someone that can be shown the light.
Listen to the Alex Makes VR podcast here
Subscribe to the newsletter here
Follow Alex on Instagram here