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If you are a fan of the movie office spaceso as soon as you read the word “printer”, I know it will conjure up the vision of the motley crew at Initech ritualizing the destruction of the infamous printer.
One question that has puzzled me for years since I saw this movie is: why didn’t the brilliant management team at Initech solve this problem by simply buying new printers? While this question may not seem relevant, this riddle can unlock the holy grail of sales challenges.
The vast majority of companies on your marketing list will shoot you down as soon as you contact them saying they are happy with what they do or don’t need. This simple truth makes finding qualified leads as difficult as looking for a needle in a haystack.
1. The concentration problem
The simple answer to why the micro-managers at Initech haven’t purchased new printers is that they haven’t focused on this problem. We could assume that the management team might not even have been aware of the issue with the printers. This is most likely what happened, as it was clear that executives like Bill Lumberg were staff deaf.
It’s clear from watching the film that managers were more focused on trying to get as much productivity out of their employees as possible. They suffered from the misconception that micromanaging their staff with paperwork like GST reporting could forcibly increase productivity.
This is evident in the film because these executives had contacted a process management consultant to achieve this goal. Ironically, these experts have begun to realize that the management team itself could be the broken piece, slowing productivity.
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to realize that the idea of selling new Initech printers with traditional methods is laughable.
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2. The marketing conundrum solved
The holy grail marketing solution in this situation is to realize that the prospect – in this case, Initech – is not focused on what you are selling or the traditional benefits of the product. You need to find out what problem business leaders are currently focused on solving. The answer to this question for Initech is to achieve increased productivity from its workforce.
Now you need to get creative and try to figure out how marketing your product or service can indirectly have a major impact on problem management that is currently focused on resolution.
Related: How to Overcome the Hardest Part of Cold Calling
Why did Initech not decide to buy new printers? This action may not have been on management’s radar, as they saw no way the purchase of a single printer could impact productivity gains beyond their wildest imaginations.
However, new printers could have an exponential impact on team morale and the belief that Initech is ready to invest in its people. This investment might even cause Peter Gibbons, the business leader of this organization, to rethink his conclusion on how overwhelming it is to work there.
In fact, Michael Bolton’s evangelism to new printers is said to be so widespread that it could trigger an increase in productivity. The entire staff would be grateful for the brilliant gesture from the management, which would boost morale and loyalty.
You can close significantly more marketing deals by connecting the non-obvious benefits of your product or services to whatever problem your prospect is focusing on.
Related: 3 Prospecting Lessons You Can Learn From The Devil