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    Carey Smith on Core Product Understanding

    Last week I was fortunate enough to travel throughout New Zealand with a leading real estate knowledge expert, Mark McLeod.  Mark’s style of presenting is very much about the change that people have to achieve in their thinking before they can enact a programme that will lead to success.  We spoke about one particular area of business, being that of the core product and to think about how the core product can make a business more decisive, responsive and to give the possibility of delivering outstanding sales results. 

    What is the core product for a salesperson, an individual who on a daily basis has to understand their core business, potentially has to deliver a company’s core product, but what is a salesperson’s core product?

    The definition of core product is described as ‘the prime purpose for the product to exist’.  This differs from the core business which is ‘the essential activity’ that makes the business exist.  When a individual or business understands its core product it then becomes focused on the customer needs but exactly how do you define a core product within a business and how do you know that it will match the needs of the customer? 

    drivethruarchTake for example, McDonalds.  From the very start its business was based around standards and repetition.  Ray Croc began the concept of McDonalds through the sale of a milk shake machine, he offered this throughout a number of businesses that then standardised their milk shake menu and also prices.  But what does this all mean to the core product of McDonalds? 

    Some would say the core product of McDonalds is hamburgers, others might consider it to be consistency, but when you give thought as to the reason why you go to McDonalds then we all understand that their core product is time.  Simple question…when do you go to McDonalds? The majority would answer that question “when I am in a hurry” and others add to that “when they are hungry”, but McDonalds core product is time and this is evidenced when they introduced their drive-thru concept which lifted their revenues by a staggering 15 times over 3 years.

    We also looked and thought about other companies, such as airlines.  When it is hard to work out a company’s core product it is generally because the company hasn’t air_new_zealand_thumb1defined itself well enough.  Take for instance Qantas and Air New Zealand.  Qantas in their information overtly describe their core product as safety, but is that a perception or a core product?  What about Air New Zealand? Is their core product changing to be an airline that delivers truth and value? 

    There are others companies who have also defined their core product that have shone in today’s environment. 

    When you go to Google, what are you looking for?  That describes Google’s core product which is ‘information’.  So if Google deliver consistently every time you go to search , the core product of information that you are expecting to receive then you will continue to return as a repeat and referral customer.

    So what is a salesperson’s core product?

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