The English chatterati are besides themselves. The most upmarket national food retail chain dared to suggest to parents what to fill their offspring’s suitcase with as they venture off to uni this Autumn. Specifically related to a storecupboard essentials “starter kit for the fledgling cook about to fly the nest”.
It didn’t go well.
Yet it went amazingly.
Here were their five recommended items (on the first of which I had to ask a grown-up), shorn of their organic regionally protected adjectival brandings;
bouillon powder, cider vinegar, italian seasoning, harissa paste & soya sauce.
The meme artists were quick to counter. Baked beans, cornflakes, pre-made chili sauce, pot noodles and the cheapest possible bulk alcohol making several appearances.
Competing supermarkets also got in on the act. Trolling merrily, with their own-label ranges of ginormous pasta sacks, generic cheddar bricks and frozen pizzas.
My local chippy ’round the corner from my first Halls did a fish ‘n chips special for 99p. Quite the saviour.
Not long back, I was in attendance at a sales meeting where once sat down, the person supposedly running it asked around for a pen and paper.
I could not believe it.
Apparently it was not unusual.
My mind wondered through too many times I’d witnessed a salesperson arrive at a call wholly unprepared.
If there were a shopping bag of five items they ought take with, then what would they be?
In the old days, I recall one extremely senior sales leader confiding in me that he used to make his reps show they’d a copy of the contracts in their case. Then one time he went alone to a highbrow meet of his own. One on one with a big cheese buyer ready to sign, he shuddered. He’d not got his contracts with him that day. Ouch.
Who of a certain age hasn’t had a military style spot-check on whether the latest marketing collateral was at hand to leave behind?
I remember back in the 90s buying loads of whiteboard marker packs. Handing them out to my team as Murphy’s Law seemed to dictate that prospect meeting rooms only had at best, dried out pens of their own on offer.
Such physical pieces may well remain key modern-day messenger bag components.
I’m also though thinking of the more intangible.
You’re selling a new product. Can you run through the key drawing which details said problem and resolution in which you now super-excel?
There’s been a corporate pivot. You’re now so much more closely aligned to where your target customers need to go. Can you get this new perfect partnership-in-waiting across?
It’s not just day one when you can help. You’re backed up with product roadmaps to futureproof your buyer’s career. Can you chart the way?
And perhaps most importantly, let’s raise the spectre of that winning process. Tell me you do know what it entails. Including how best to stick to it.