Written by: Ratko

How to Sell Disruptive Products

The following scenario has been repeated way too many times with disruptive products. It’s very common in the blockchain space as well.

A group of extremely talented developers makes a product that’s so innovative that it has the potential to disrupt the existing processes of their potential customers. It could help them in a way they couldn’t even imagine.

So, our group of superheroes is eager to put their baby to the market and the sale starts great. But then something happens along the way that seems like a dream-crusher for their project. Sales drop. After additional updates and further product improvements, they give up.

What went wrong? The answer is simple — they suck at sales.

Knowing how to sell blockchain products is different from selling any other software product. Therefore, let’s take a look at several essential pieces of advice you should take into account if you don’t want to experience the aforementioned scenario. Read on!

Understand How Value Works From Customers’ Perspective

On many occasions, developers simply don’t put enough focus on value. What’s value actually?

You can consider your blockchain product valuable if it solves an existing problem. However, you should first ask yourself whether your potential customers are willing to solve their problem in the first place.

In many cases, customers are simply not ready to make additional effort to accommodate your solution. This is very applicable to blockchain — technology that many still don’t understand and cannot see the value it brings.

Google Glass is an amazing example of a product that simply failed to sell. Sure, it had some issues along the way, but many agree that it was simply not recognized as valuable by customers. It required people to change their daily habits in order to start using the product, which is something not many are willing to do.

Another great example is the so-called Dvorak keyboard that came with a completely different button layout, aiming to maximize the writing efficiency of typewriters. Yet, people were already used to QWERTY and weren’t eager to use Dvorak’s product.

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It’s no secret that blockchain struggles with mass adoption, so changing the product itself or its underlying technology is not the right approach here. What is it then?

This is where understanding your customers and their values come into play. You need to give them something that will make them eventually change their habits and adapt to your disruptive product.

This is easier said than done, but it’s definitely something worth taking into account when pitching your product to customers.

Does this mean modifying your product and its purpose to meet the customers’ needs? By all means – no.

It means taking a strategic and careful approach that’s focused on adding value to your product that will make your customers want it.

Early Adopters Are Your Primary Target

Early adopters are essential for blockchain products. They are often the ones who’ll spread the word for you and help you achieve mass adoption.

Being an early adopter matter. Some of them were brave enough to invest money in “that new thing called cryptocurrency” and are now Bitcoin millionaires. They have the power to use your product, tell you about its advantages and disadvantages, and even promote it further for you.

So, what makes an early adopter different from an average user? Well, early adopters are all about embracing change and innovation. Many of them are technology lovers — or even blockchain enthusiasts. Unlike customers who are not ready to change their habits to adapt to your product, early adopters will do it eagerly, making it easier for you to sell your disruptive products

Finding Early Adopters – It’s Easier Than You Think

In the era where information travels faster than the speed of light, it’s really not that difficult to find your target audience. It’s as simple as targeting early adopters of other companies that chose to follow the same sales route.

The least you can do is connect with those companies and present your product to their early adopters.

Clearly Communicate the Outcome

Your potential customers may have a problem and need a solution for it. Their life is good as it is, but what they don’t know is that it can be much better if they start using your disruptive product.

Great technology salespeople are always clearly communicating the outcome — the outcome of using the product. You can often hear them talking about the life their potential customers could lead and the overall lifestyle improvement they could achieve if they bought the product.

Naturally, selling blockchain products is not an average TV commercial. It requires sophistication and clarity. All the mumbo jumbo needs to be cut off from the narrative, while the essence needs to remain — your customers’ life would be better with your product.

It’s always wise to consider asking these questions before selling your blockchain product:

  • How will your product save your customers’ time?
  • How will your product save your customers’ money?
  • Will your product affect your customers’ energy in any way?
  • Is there an aesthetic value to your product and how can it appeal to your customers’ lifestyle?
  • What will your customers feel like after using your product?
  • Will your customers have trouble adapting to the product or is it simple to use?

Don’t Get All Technical on Your Potential Customers

There’s a great article on Coinbase that talks about how focusing on the blockchain when selling may not show great results.

Customers are either scared of adapting to something new or they rush to embrace it, hoping to get on the gravy train. Since both of these cases are extreme, the essence of the product is overshadowed by emotions and the purpose gets lost along the way.

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Image by rawpixel.com

One thing you should take into account is that your customers may not be into tech at all. That’s why you need to keep things simple and straightforward, focusing on solutions rather than the underlying technology.

But there’s another piece of advice for you that refers to those customers who were too eager to join — avoid using buzzwords. Don’t get this wrong, as buzzwords can be pretty useful in certain circumstances, but they are often misunderstood and oversimplified. If your customers accept your disruptive products only because it’s blockchain-based, that can lead to a lot of misunderstanding.

Simply put — it’s bad for business. Instead, try to explain how your customers can make the most of your product and improve their processes with it.

Cracking the Enterprise

Selling your product to individuals or small to medium-sized businesses is not easy, especially if it’s as disruptive as they come. That’s why you should further explore pieces of advice listed above.

However, if you aim at the big fish, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to.

Selling your blockchain product to enterprises is by no means easy. As a matter of fact, it’s a long process that can get quite tedious at times. However, you should be aware that the rewards it yields are far greater compared to those of selling processes focused on individuals and small businesses.

Explain How Your Technology Tackles an Existing Billion-Dollar Problem

This Forbes article used Ripple as an example of a company making progress through strategic partnerships. Ripple’s officials managed to partner up with huge players, including some national banks.

In this case, banks were not interested in the technology. They were interested in — this might sound awkward — money. What Ripple offered them was a solution aimed at cross-border transactions, a huge problem they were facing.

That’s an essential piece of advice when it comes to tackling enterprise customers — offer them a solution to a problem that currently costs them a lot. Now, that may not be simple at first, but Ripple was able to understand how their clients operate and adjust its product so as to become a solution.

Before this approach, banks were very wary of cryptocurrency-related products, but Ripple completely changed the narrative, adapting the product along the way.

Cut the Fluff

Let’s get you in a philosophical mood. What’s the deepest human desire? Is it love? Is it happiness? We’ll never find an answer to that question. The unexplored spiritual world will remain a mystery for centuries to come.

But you know what we did explore, understand, master, brush up, fine-tune, and refine? Material world — aka money.

Like it or not, money makes the world go round, and decision-makers in Fortune 500 companies only care about their ROIs in the end.

The bottom line here is rather straightforward. Don’t focus on technology and how it can be applied to various processes of your client’s business. Talk about money.

Take a step away from your product and take a good look at the step-by-step process that begins with the enterprise buying your product and ends up with them earning more money. It’s all that matters.

Understand the Hierarchy of Your Client’s Company

Every big company has a hierarchy and no decision is unilateral. Even the people on top need other board members to make a final decision. Therefore, you need to play your sales strategy based on the internal hierarchy.

First of all, you need to know who has the final power to say “yes” to your product. Those can be technology budget holders, product budget holders, various managers, and more. They are often referred to as “gatekeepers” as they are the ones who’ll ultimately open the gate for you.

One specific gatekeeper type includes those who are not incentivized. In other words, their actions will not affect their salary at the end of the month, so they won’t be affected by the actions they take.

That’s why they are not willing to risk with new products much, especially if what you offer is a disruptive SaaS. In that case, the right approach to selling your product includes assuring them that by buying it, they won’t risk a lot, but the benefits will be manifold.

Final Thoughts

Some sales processes are universal. Yet, when selling disruptive products, you need to be ready to alter some of them and adapt them to your target market.

The key is not only understanding your customers but also learning how to present your product in a clear and straightforward way, making them willingly take action to adapt to it.

All pieces of advice presented in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re about to sell your product, make sure to further explore the options mentioned here in order to see the whole picture and understand how to sell blockchain products.

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