Why is the Hound Dog Howling?

March 23, 2013 | by Dan Kraus

Hound DogA salesman is walking down the street the street and he hears an old hound-dog howl.  He looks around and a ways down the road, he see an old hound laying on a porch, his owner near-by in a rocking chair.  The sales man walks a little further, getting closer to the house, and the dog howls again.  This time the sales man is close enough to give a short wave. The salesman keeps walking and sure enough, a few minutes later, dog howls again. At this point, the saleman is close enough to the porch to talk with the dogs owner.

He says to the owner “that’s a peculiar dog you have there.  I can’t tell whether he’s greeting me or warning me”.  The owner says back “oh, its nothing to do with you, he’s laying on a nail”.  The salesman says back “ I guess he really is peculiar. Why is he staying there?”.  To this owner says “ well, the nail is sticking up enough to bother him, but not enough to make him move.  So everyone once in a while, he just lets out a howl to complain.”

So here’s our question to you.  Is that nail the issue that is keeping your business development process – sales or marketing – from being successful?  Are your prospective customers feeling a little bit of pain, but not enough to take action to get rid of it?

The best tool to use in working with a nail, is obviously a hammer.  And with that hammer, (to stay with our story above) you can go under the porch and either pull that nail out, or pound it up higher.  Either  way, you change the conditions and the dog moves, or stops howling.

For your business development process, you can take much the same approach.  You help your prospect recognize more pains that you solve or you can change your packaging/pricing/service approach, to move the nail.

Your on-going communication and nurture marketing programs should be continuing to expose your prospect to insight you have into their likely problems. It should be helping them to understand that the nail that is bothering them is probably just one they are aware of and there are other issues and challenges that you can help them address.  This communication is not about telling them what you do, rather it is asking questions and offering insights to likely solutions to questions they answer “yes, we do have that issue” too.

And for those prospects where driving up the nails still wont cause them to take action, go the opposite way.  We’ve written a couple of different posts recently on packaging. Take a look at what you are proposing to them, and do some reconfiguration.  How can you start them off with something smaller or less risky? How can you get that prospect to move from standing still to any level of forward momentum? It doesn’t have to be free, it just has to fit better (and feel more comfortable) so that they feel more comfortable with you.

If you’d like to talk this through, take a few minutes to drop us an email or pick up the phone and call. And as always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

Topics: strategy, Packaging, Sales

Dan Kraus

Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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