Tag Archives: hardware

unsales

I am a huge believer in unsales. And not in the pharmaceutical industry sense.

Because “shipping is a feature“, and because I intensely dislike the “do it for me, then hand me the keys” mentality, I routinely follow the unsales methodology.

What is unsales? It is [almost] only selling what a customer can use today. I want to give a customer something they can both use and play with. I want to give them something at the end of any engagement that does actually accomplish something. But I don’t want to do everything for them – I want them to learn, explore, and discover their own use cases. As they discover what can be done with the tools they’ve purchased, they can start to engage in the paradigmatic shift from “automating” to “automation“. And as they explore, discover, and build, they’ll start to see where further services, training, or products can be brought in to do more.

Some people believe in the “moneyball” approach – sell everything (especially the big-ticket, high-margin products), and then let the customer more-or-less fend for themselves after some extended period of services work.

This is good for the vendor doing the selling … but only this quarter. If you sell “everything”, you have no basis to come back to the customer. You’ve developed no relationship. You’ve only “made a sale”. You’ve followed the Walmart model – sell what you can, when you can.

The better model, in my opinion, is the relational model wherein you spend time getting to know the customer’s employees: the engineers, managers, officers, etc. Get to know them personally, and become someone they can turn to as a “trusted advisor” regarding their pain points.

Relational selling (and working, for that matter) tend to lead towards long-term partnerships, engagements, repeat business, etc.

You can take the short-term view, or you can take the long-term view. One yields consistent returns, one may only ever give a single return.

Be relational.

geeks night out

Last week I went to the Geeks’ Night Out at Beerworks in Lexington.

One of the people I met was a junior EE major at UK named Robyn who, along with two of her friends, is looking to start a home automation company (The Unity Box) – but not in the realm of a company like Ambiance (interestingly, a company I was going to start with as a junior developer back in 2001 when the bottom dropped out of the tech bubble – but that’s another story). They want to make a small control device along the lines of a DVR or Roku that would control smart outlets/switches in your home (and be able to learn a la the Nest about your habits (with, of course, manual overrides for non-pattern events)).

Yesterday I found the WeMo from Belkin.

Robyn – looks like you and Belkin should talk: they’ve done the part about the smart outlets 🙂