Gentle Bamboo Solutions

Gimme the sapling, not the fruit


One of my good friends once gave me this advice when dealing with prospects and potential clients.

He works in a highly commoditized business. That means there’s barely any difference between his products and his competitors’. The only real difference is the price.

The vendor who quotes the least price usually gets the sale. The key word is usually.

According to my friend, most people in the industry go after a ready customer. Someone who has an immediate need, has the cheque-book ready, and is willing to sign right now. They fight for the lowest prices only because they go after fruits. The problem with such clients is they have made up their minds about what they want to buy. They have done their market research. They have negotiated with multiple vendors. They have a clear price point in mind. Such clients aren’t profitable. When you and I approach them, there is no way for us to make them look beyond pricing since they are at the last stage of their search.

However, there is some good news. There are many people who are in the initial stage of their search. They have only a faint idea of what they want, they don’t fully know the offerings in the market and they haven’t spoken to may people. Yet. They are the saplings.

They are not naive or uninformed. They just happen to be at the beginning of their journey. Now is the time for you and me to show them how we are different. How we are better. How we have a product that no one else has. How that product can solve the problem the client faces now (or may face in the future if they decline our offer).

The advantage with saplings is that when you are with them in the initial stages, you build a certain relationship that ensures you are not treated as a commodity. Don’t just go after fruits. Work with a few saplings too. Nurture and help them grow. It takes a little longer – but when the tree starts bearing fruit, you can have as many as you want.

Hanging with saplings,