You’re anxious to get your business off the ground or get your latest product out to the public as quickly as possible. Perhaps you’ve already started your marketing and promotional campaigns. You’ve got visions of a best-selling product dancing in your head. But selling too quickly can be dangerous; there can be drawbacks if you are putting the cart before the proverbial horse. Businesses that start selling new or innovative products without taking the time to put their ducks in a row often regret their decision.
If your new product is another in an endless line of business software or the latest pair of designer shoes that will fit nicely into your well-stocked inventory, you can certainly add it to the mix without much preparation. But if your business is centered on new technology or innovative products or you are starting out with your own line of goods, you want to avoid some common mistakes.
Perhaps the most frequent error with new and innovative products is either undercharging or overpricing. Charging too little is less of a “disaster” because at least you are drawing business into your establishment or onto your Web site, even if you are falling short of your desired profit. Overcharging, however, not only means you may lose out to competitors but that you also are less likely to draw return customers. Taking that extra time to assess the optimal price point can make your new addition a financial winner.
For new businesses, a very common problem in rushing a product out to market is not having more to offer. A shrewd entrepreneur will have several products or additional services lined up and ready to sell before launching the first big-ticket item. There’s nothing worse than a virtual line of customers ready to fill their shopping carts but unable to sift through a variety of available products.
Another misstep is hurrying out a new product without briefing your sales personnel. If they are not well-versed in the new product or service, you can immediately lose your edge. This is particularly true of high-tech items, new inventions, or new versions of old favorites. To sell effectively, the sales team needs time to master the learning curve and digest new information. Likewise, Web sites need to have accurate up-to-date data posted. Customers lose patience very quickly with salespeople who cannot explain the benefits of the latest offerings or with Web sites that have not posted the specs.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of initiating sales too soon was illustrated by a television commercial several years ago that showed a company launching its Web site and watching as the orders appeared. Delighted and celebratory at first, the Web team within seconds began to panic as orders flooded in and could not be fulfilled quickly enough. Putting a hot product and/or service out there quickly is only worthwhile if you can meet the demand. This means having your sales staff at the ready. Everyone has heard stories about television advertisements that loudly proclaim: “Call now, operators are waiting,” and then anxious callers get no answer or an answering machine.
The enthusiasm that comes with the possibility of beating the competition to the punch or launching your own brand-new innovation is hard to harness but, often, not jumping the gun is the more lucrative method. So as they say in the Boy Scouts, always be prepared.