Invention ideas can come from a variety of places. Sometimes inventions are forced by sheer necessity, and sometimes they happen purely by accident. Door-to-door salesman Edwin Cox became an accidental inventor after coming up with an innovative sales technique to get women to buy his pots and pans. It was the early 1900’s and Cox was trying to sell the latest pots and pans made out of aluminum. But the concept really hadn’t caught on yet and he was having a hard time convincing women to even let him show the wares.
Cox came up with an innovative sales and marketing strategy. He gave every woman a free introductory gift for letting him show the product line. He knew it had to be something of value that was complimentary with the pots and pans line and would solve a problem.
One problem was that food was constantly sticking to the pans and women would complain about it. So he decided to create a product that would combine the scrubbing power of steel wool with the cleaning power of soap. He dipped small, steel wool pads into a soapy solution. Then let them dry, and kept repeating the process until the steel wool pads were completely saturated with soap.
Before long the demand for the soapy steel wool pads outpaced his sales of pots and pans. Housewives were telling their friends what a great product they were, and Cox was struggling to keep up. He eventually gave up selling pots and pans and went into business for himself, just making the steel wool soap pads.
Save Our Saucepans
The name S.O.S came from his wife, who named them after “Save Our Saucepans”. It’s almost a hundred years later and this simple, yet effective product is still going strong. It goes to show that sometimes the simplest ideas can have tremendous staying power. And you never know where a good invention idea will come from, so always be open to new possibilities.
How to have more innovative sales
To have more innovative sales, you need to explore new strategies and approaches to engage customers, enhance their buying experience, and differentiate yourself from competitors. Here are some ideas to foster innovation in your sales process:
Understand your customers
Conduct thorough market research and collect data to gain a deep understanding of your customers’ needs, pain points, and preferences. Use this knowledge to tailor your sales approach and offer personalized solutions.
Leverage cutting-edge sales tools and software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, artificial intelligence, and sales analytics, to streamline your sales process, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions.
Create a compelling value proposition
Clearly communicate the unique value your product or service offers to customers. Highlight how it solves their problems or fulfills their desires in a way that competitors cannot match.
Develop a customer-centric culture
Encourage your sales team to focus on building strong relationships with customers rather than just making quick sales. Happy and satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and refer others to your business.
Offer innovative products or services
Continuously look for ways to improve and expand your offerings. Conduct regular brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas, and involve your sales team in this process as they often have valuable insights from interacting with customers.
Experiment with different sales channels
Explore various sales channels, such as social media, e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, or even augmented reality (AR) experiences, to reach a broader audience and meet your customers where they are.
Gamify your sales process by creating friendly competitions and offering rewards to motivate your sales team. This can increase engagement and drive better performance.
Provide exceptional customer support
Offer top-notch customer support and quick response times. Emphasize proactive communication to address potential issues before they escalate.
Collaborate with other businesses
Partner with complementary businesses to cross-promote products or create bundled offerings, thereby expanding your reach and customer base.
Monitor industry trends
Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry and beyond. Attend conferences, participate in webinars, and read relevant publications to gain new insights that can inspire innovative sales strategies.
Encourage feedback and adaptability
Create a culture that values feedback from both customers and employees. Encourage your sales team to share their experiences and ideas for improvement, and be willing to adapt your sales approach based on their feedback.
Remember, innovation is an ongoing process, and it requires an open mindset and a willingness to take calculated risks. Be prepared to learn from both successes and failures, and continuously refine your sales approach to stay ahead in the market.