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Selling something NEW is hard: is iPod a case in point?

People often don’t respond well to something NEW -- whether it is a product, service, or process. There’s typically a long build-up period for new things when awareness spreads and acceptance grows.

In The Dollarization Discipline, Jeffrey J. Fox and Richard C. Gregory say "One of the most difficult challenges in selling is persuading customers to purchase a new product or service when they are currently satisfied using an established, entrenched technology or methodology."

Let's look at three NEW "things" . . .

1. Slow iPod sales at start
iPod had a slow sales climb at the start. See chart below taken from a Guardian blog.


2. Solution to Energy problem available in 1976
2009 TIME 100 honoree Amory Lovins had the solution to the energy problem back in 1976. The rest of us have taken 33 years to catch up. Amory kept his "green" drumbeat going and his patience has paid off. As you know, his arguments are now accepted wisdom.

3. Barry Marshall gulped a glass of bacteria
A medical genious like Marshall had to climb over the same hurdles with his ideas as we'll have to climb with ours. In his quest to cure ulcer, Barry's attempts to get his idea across failed. He then gulped a glass of bacteria in front of an audience. He eventually prevailed. And also received the Nobel prize.

Because of little or no reviewable data, nearly everything NEW will first be tested or validated. Yet innovation is the lifeblood of growing companies. Innovators therefore need to have the patience and perseverence and be willing to make personal sacrifices too.

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  1. Maybe the Tipping Point holds the clue to this...

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