How often do you hear,'What's new?'

Probably one of the most common questions you get from customers every day is: "What's new?"

Be first

Long-term sales success comes from knowing what's new. For instance, years ago, a young insurance agent introduced Beth and me to the Medical Savings Account. Getting an MSA slashed our premiums and gave us tax-free savings. We became innovators. Less than 100,000 people in the U.S. had an MSA when we opened ours in 1998. That agent won our business by being the first to talk about MSAs. He positioned himself as an MSA expert. He may or may not have been, but he earned our respect and trust by being first. Later, that same agent rose to the executive suite at a major financial services company.

In the same way, becoming the jobber that's the most knowledgeable about the newest tools and equipment will give you another competitive advantage over other jobbers. When your customers hear about new products from you first, they'll assume you are more knowledgeable about trends and technology than other jobbers. Although most of your customers won't buy a new product the first time you introduce it, you're planting a seed in their mind. And, in time, they'll remember who told them about it first when they're ready to buy — be it in a week, a month or a year.

So, how will you answer your customers the next time they ask you, "What's new?" Will you have something really new to show them, or just something they haven't seen for a while that you'll pull out of inventory and dust off?

Phil Sasso is president of Sasso Marketing, an aftermarket advertising, PR and Internet services agency. Sasso is also a speaker, trainer and consultant. And just thinking about Industry Week makes his feet hurt. Sign up for his free weekly marketing tip email at

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