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Redial: Rotary Phones
How many more times are you going to
buy the same thing?

We've got to give the baby bells credit. Seriously. I mean how many more times are we going to by the same thing again?

Take a second and think back as far as you can to the first telephone you used to communicate with someone over distance. Remember doing that? Do you remember the rent charge for the rotary dial phone that sat on a table? Do you remember wall mounted options and cord extensions and those little things you bought to keep the cord from twisting into a tangled mess?

Then there was touch tone. There was actually a moment in time when you had to "stay on the line" because your phone was not touch tone yet. In fact, the touch tone phones that first came out had the option of switching between the regular system and the new touch tone. Then cordless phones came out. Then call waiting, caller ID, fax numbers, extra numbers. On and on and on.

If you consider the root here you have to admit that all of us have purchased two-way communication, over copper wires at least 10 to 20 times each up to this point. How do they do it?

I am finally free of this. I got off the grid, so to speak. I have only one number now and it's all mine. I just have a cell phone number and that's it. Plus I have a cable modem. So I'm no longer using mama bell's system for communication. But that doesn't really matter. She got me 10 or 12 times personally. I asked "how do they do it?" Here's a better question for us: How do we do it?

What's the point of being in business if you can't have some way to do things easy. Let ma bell model success for you. Find a way to reposition, repackage or repurpose a product or service you have. Don't keep reinventing the wheel just add features or make it seem different or create the next hot thing with it.

If you actually took some time to sit down and look at what you have to offer the market that is substantial, proven and/or a winner could you sell it to the same market again? Not in an insidious way, but how do you recreate demand for the same thing?

Easy: features. But features with benefits. Phones got us talking. The rotary dial freed us from operators. Touch tones sped up the process. Longer cords freed us to roam the house. Cordless phones did that one better.

Oh, the biggest benefit they exploited was the teen-ager phone conversation: imagine getting them their own line so that you can park the conversation in their room for peace and quite while freeing the main number so your friends could call you. Brilliant!

How many of you really needed a fax machine at home? Especially after your first attempt at a business didn't really pan out? You bought the machine so you might as well keep it and have it tethered to the phone company. Paying for it every month.

When my great aunt died we discovered that she was still "renting" her phone well into the late 90's. Wow. Check your phone bills to be sure you're not renting hardware still.

I would love to be able to do business this way. Build an infrastructure, get it to a point where it sells itself and then sell on top of the existing sales.

Features with great benefits. That's the key. Oh, and in marketing you really just want to trumpet the benefits. That's another article. I need content for my newsletters in coming months so I'm going to stop here. We'll pick this point up in a future issue.

| patrick |


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