Posted at Independent Publishers Discussion Group Nov. 8, 1997
at 15:42 (slight revisions)
Several years ago I did demo work; a lot of grocery store food sampling
included. My toughest challenge was white bread and the first time I sampled it out, it
My supervisor told me "NO ONE can sell white bread". My ego
accepted the challenge. Actually I put about as much enthusiasm into it as a garden slug.
So the first thing I did was change my attitude.
That week I became like "Bubba" in the movie FORREST GUMP; I
fried it, sautéed it, baked it , broiled it, well you get the picture.
The next Saturday I set up the mother of all demo displays, with
multiple fondues, oven broiler and trusty fry pan. I was no longer selling "great
tasting sandwich bread" as I did the week before.
NO, I had uncovered the most versatile, inexpensive and tasty food
product ever created, the AMAZING, incredible White Bread.
I showed those people that white bread was simply the greatest thing
I sold every loaf of white bread in the store by 11 am, I had started
at 9 am. The bakery was just a few blocks away (at the corner of Newberry and Broad for
you locals) and they rushed another truck load, which people were buying as it was coming
off the truck.
The manager said he had never seen anything like it, and quite frankly,
neither had I.
Personally, this confirmed what I had always been taught, and strongly
believe; you cant do anything well without enthusiasm.
Which I certainly lacked the first try. Also, it showed to me that
when it comes to selling, the "sizzle" is indeed as powerful as the steak
NOW then. This past month I was commissioned to review 500 web sites,
250 were chosen for me, and the half from my favorite files.
A year ago I bought one of those huge "yellow page"
directories of web sites, complete with CD, and as of today, fully ½ of the entries are
no longer valid. Most have just disappeared.
Most of the web sites that are trying to sell something (my estimate is
80%) are folks that have plain old white bread sitting on the shelf begging to be bought.
I urge you to have some trusted friends review your web page honestly,
because if these sites continue, nothing is going to happen for you. I know people who
have been out here a year and have never made a single sale from their site.
Since Cyberspace has been compared to Disney World (well it has been
NOW) most web sites are those little "Dumbo" rides that go around in circles and
it bores even the 3 year olds quickly.
Some sites, like this one, are and E-ticket ride. What is Bill Myers
doing right? Of the 12 people that visited his site for the first time this month, 9 of
them commented on the printing press on the home page. Its somehow magical, and it
makes you want to know whats being printed. Its one of the most effective
animated graphics in use.
Secondly, it allows the lurker (stalker for some of you) the chance to
observe. I have NO idea, but Id bet that for every one person that actually posts,
there are 5-10 or more people that dont. But they are here and they come back, and
eventually, probably will buy something.
The content changes on a daily and monthly basis. It is one of the best
intersections in this lake of the Internet for both technical and marketing minds to
mingle. Each bringing what the other is seeking.
This site is ONE of the successful models you can use in constructing
your own sites. Those of you that have sites, ask yourself what it is about your product
or service that excites you, that makes you proud to sell it.
What is there (at your site) that creates ENTHUSIASM for
you? Enthusiasm that you can share with others.
Because, (and this is of course MY opinion) a great many people have
sites that could be used as sleeping pill substitutes. There simply isnt any reason
to stay there.
If you have a great product or service, then I encourage you to go
"into the kitchen" and stay there until you can be as proud of your product or
service as a White House Chef is over Thanksgiving Dinner.
Give me a reason to sample your site. Catch my attention QUICKLY, and
give some options. Try to sell me too soon, and Im gone.