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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Selecting a Distribution Strategy that Works (Part III)

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed the advantages of retail and wholesale distribution methods. This week, they talk about why businesses should consider selling their products through online channels as well. Remember, fire = print.

Marka, Numo, Org and Lucy found Zoot standing outside the Coliseum, trying to sell matches to people in line for tonight’s “Thor” concert.

“I admire your entrepreneurial verve, Zoot,” Org said, “but why these people?”

“We did talk about selling on line, right?” Zoot asked.

“Ugh!” Marka exclaimed.

“Worst joke ever,” Numo agreed.

The ever-focused Lucy directed the conversation back to the topic of O-line distribution. “Distribution success starts with ensuring that FEI’s products are available wherever potential buyers are looking for them,” she pointed out. “And for many Olympians, the O-web is the first place they look when searching for many goods and services. Chariot race tickets, wine, imported grapes from Sicily...”

“Custom togas,” Zoot added. “It’s all available O-line.”

“Not every FEI product is a fit to sell O-line,” Org objected. “With our more complicated products, direct attention from a sales or customer service person will often be needed to answer the prospect’s questions, reassure them and nudge them toward a sale.”

“Take our fire-lighting service for factories,” Zoot interjected. “A factory owner buying a multifaceted service like this wants to know exactly what he’s getting, how it will be implemented, any potential risks involved, etc. Many of these owners will need to be walked through the buying process before they feel comfortable pulling the trigger.”

“On the other hand, most Olympians will be comfortable buying some of our products—matches, for example—over the O-web,” Marka said. “Matches are a simple, straightforward product; what you see is essentially what you get. The customer usually won’t require as much explanation or salesperson hand-holding. In these cases, the O-web can provide our customers with an expedient, convenient way to obtain the fire products they need.”

“What’s another distinct advantage of online sales?” Org asked.

More Customers

“Selling through the O-web will allow FEI to reach a broader customer base than we could through direct sales alone,” Lucy replied. “For instance, it would not be cost-effective to send salespeople to call on farm houses in Olympus’s sparsely-populated rural communities. With O-line selling, however, anyone with an O-web connection can order matches or torches through, no sales visit required. Offering our products O-line can help us establish a presence in these less-geographically-convenient markets, exposing FEI and its products to prospects whom we might have never reached otherwise.”

“I have a feeling we’ve just scratched the surface of how an O-line sales method can help our business,” Zoot observed. “We can talk more about that later. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some ‘Thor’ tickets to buy!”

Today’s FIRE! Point
Distribution success starts with ensuring that your company’s products are available wherever potential buyers are looking for them. Not every product is a fit to sell online, but selling through the web can allow you to reach a broader customer base than you could through direct sales alone.

FIRE! In Action
Bonobos Learns that Where You Sell Matters
The men’s pants company targets the average clothes-shopping-averse male consumer by selling exclusively through its website and social media. Bypassing traditional retail channels helped Bonobos earn $1.6 million in net revenue its first year.

Next week: The FEI tribe discusses more advantages of online selling.

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