When a product is launched, it must still be sold. Salespeople that look to the launch as a salesperson are quickly disappointed by the dismal results they get.  Product launches are a marketing, not sales tool. Yes there’s a yawning difference between marketing and sales. Marketing, usually remotely, creates awareness to attract; selling personally engages to convince to buy. So, unless it’s a sticky loan on phone product like the Hustler Fund you’ve launched, brace yourself: when a product is launched, it must still be sold.

What happens when a new product is launched?

What happens when a new product is launched is a near tangible buzz. Excitement from the razzmatazz of the launch is almost palpable. The inexperienced salesperson, drowning in the excitement and pumped with the belief that this product is the next best thing since manna, effuses about it to anyone within earshot of the launch. “Hii itauza mshangae.” (This thing will practically sell itself).  Like the coronavirus he believes the virulent excitement he is experiencing, will automatically contaminate buyers . And truthfully it does. Typically, the Press asking for more information, and curious buyers; the kind excited by new things. The latter are usually a handful. A product launch is like a group presentation and what happens when a product is launched is what happens after a group presentation: awareness creation. That’s it.

When a product is launched

How do you sell your product before launch?

How do you sell your product before launch? In fact, can or should you sell your product before launch? Launches are not a cheap affair. They cost. That aside, many institutions that can afford it will first want to pilot the product before launching it. In fact, this is the modus operandi of fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) companies. They may do this via sampling in supermarkets, focus group discussions or giving samples on credit to kiosk owners to try and sell, with the request, “Wacha tujaribu kama watanunua.” (Let’s try and see of they” buy). 

Away from FMCG, the wildly popular series Money Heist on Netflix was never launched nor advertised.  It was just added to the pool and found a life of its own.  So how do you sell before launch and should you? That depends on your situation as shared by the foregoing factors. What is important when launching a new product is to understand your situation.  Either way, for sales people, strike while the iron is hot. Engage while your launch is still fresh in their minds and they go, “Yes, I remember seeing it on social media, (or the news or wherever else it was launched at). Tell me about it.” (Further proof that the launch only created awareness.)

Difference between marketing and sales after a launch

A successful product launch is measured by extent of awareness.  “We featured in all mainstream TV stations at primetime news and the hash tag we created has been seen 27,200 times and re-tweeted 2.700 times. And it’s only 3 days now.” That’s marketing talk. Business, and therefore sales, talk, is different and goes something along these lines: “We spent half a million on that launch. We need to recoup that and more. Where are the sales? Why aren’t people buying?” For a product launch to be successful the product must be bought. That’s why a launch is a fleeting moment and a sale is lasting.  

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