It’s a good idea to wash your groin stained pants before an important meeting. But I had bigger problems than embarresing clothing.
I travelled half across Sweden to the second retailer meeting and spent the night at my sisters place. Just before I was off to the meeting I realized my one pair of pants were stained from silicone prototyping. Naturally all the stains were strategically placed near the crotch area.
Despite high confidence from my first pitch it did not go well and my stained pants weren’t helping. On the phone I had accidentally revealed that my invention was a new type of drill bit holder. The problem was that, before I had a chance to whip out my clever invention, the retailer presented all of their stupid drill bit boxes. He had already made his mind up and it was impossible to convince him that my rubber drill bit holder wasn’t a box.
My second USP*
Gallantly I went for my other strong sales argument:
-”Hey it’s a Swedish invention manufactured in Sweden. People love quality stuff don´t they?”.
He replied that they can´t boast about any Swedish stuff because then it becomes apparent that 97% of their other stuff comes directly from China. Quality and intelligence wasn’t their game.
One more time
I had another go at this retailer a year later. Now Gearfix was sold in other stores and this time they were interested. But I got a bad feeling that their business strategy was to tie me up and screw me in some way. I cut my losses and let them keep on with their crappy Chinese stuff.
The seven hour car drive started early. I went through all the phrases over and over. Speaking loudly in the car to myself imagining an imaginary audience.
Expanding for me?
When I arrived to the retailer headquarters they were in the middle of doubling their storage facility. Obviously a good sign, they would be needing space for my new rubber rings.
I met the purchasers and made a two minute pitch. They liked the flashlight and the nifty solution to direct the beam to the right spot. As a finale I also produced the sketch from my sleepless night and the superior purchaser left the meeting room.
He came back with the chief in command and this bossman instantly decided that they should have the one without the flashlight. They quickly left again and I sat there trying to kill the awkward silence talking about the weather with the remaining assistant.
The meeting took less than 30 minutes and most of the time was spent telling me how great they were to do business with. I was extremely relieved and had to phase my self before getting in the car for the long but cheerful drive home. Adrenaline and nosegoblins made it a safe ride home.
On my way back, only 500 meters from my home after another seven hour drive. I got a quite expensive speeding ticket. This day was a real emotional roller-coaster ride that ended with a sting.
My Lampowitz flashlight holder was working perfectly. But I couldn’t sleep the night before my first meeting with a big retailer. Something was nagging me big time.
A worrying problem Ironically the main concept of my invention was it’s greatest weakness. The flashlight was causing a lot of trouble.
It cost a lot more than the holder.
Cheap lights had severe functionality problems.
Extra packaging expenses.
Battery might go flat during storage.
All modern machines already have built in lights.
You don’t really need a flashlight when screwing.
Thoughts were spinning -”What if I just got rid of the problem?”. And I went from bed to my computer, made a scetch of the prototype without the flashlight. Printed it and had a short but good nights sleep.