How do you BUILD a market for a product that people don’t even know they need until they try it? I recently advised a guy named Canuto who is trying to get beard care products on the market in Chile–a place where men haven’t typically cared about beard care like we do here in the United States. He’s selling beard oils, beard wash, and mustache wax–very niche products.
The first thing to consider is how you’re selling. This guy was targeting hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, motorcycle garages…all the niche spots where you could imagine someone might care about beard care. They were selling online, but very minimally. We’re talking 15 million pesos in salons and brick-and-mortar stores annually as compared to 670 pesos online. Big difference.
When I asked who’s out there in the stores doing the selling every day, I found out it was Canuto himself–the CEO. They’re in 28 stores, which means that he can only hit each one up about once a month in order to keep up with everything else too. When you’re selling AND running the business, you’re gonna get stuck at a certain level. The only way to get out of it is by hiring a sales rep. Hire someone talented and put them on commission. Get them to visit each of your existing points of sale monthly, checking in and re-stocking, and then give them a goal for the number of stores you want to be in by the end of the year. Say it’s 100–give them that number and tell them to GO. If they get to a point where they’re at capacity–say that’s when they hit 50 stores–hire another sales rep to do the same thing. Give them a goal and set them out to manage existing contracts and get new stores on board.
At the same time, you have to think about online sales. When it comes to online business, the secret is continuity. Take the Dollar Shave Club’s model is an example. Their whole thing is continuity and those guys are printing money. I hung out with those guys a couple times and we talked about how critical continuity is for them. In Canuto’s case, it’d be a subscription model. Someone orders beard oil and they’re automatically signed up to get another round in 30 days. They don’t have to come back and order more–they just get it.
At a certain point, the CEO needs to be the big picture thinker–the one who is creating new scents and products and coming up with ways to expand your line to include things like Vitamin E supplements that will appeal to your ever-expanding market. If you’re in the weeds selling every day, you’re never gonna get past a certain level. It just is what it is.