Back in Junior High School, my class decided to sell cookie dough to help defer costs for our end-of-year trip. To incentivize us to get out there and sell as much as possible, the school set a new bike as a prize for whoever sold the most. It was a great looking bike, and I really wanted it, so I had to sell more cookie dough than anyone else.
I got home that day and asked my mother for help. I figured there were three options for selling—get my family to buy, ask my parents to sell at their place of work (where many of my classmates’ parents also worked) and go door-to-door throughout my town to sell. Of course, for that last idea, I would once again be selling where my classmates lived, competing with them to be first to get to each house, as most people were only going to buy cookie dough from one kid, if they bought it at all.
My mother had a different idea. She put me in the car and drove me two towns over. For the next few hours we rang doorbells and sold the cookie dough in new neighborhoods, streets where none of my classmates lived or visited. Thanks to my mother’s idea, we sold so much cookie dough that I doubled my nearest competition and earned that bike. I also learned a valuable business lesson that I use to this day. One we call the Sleeping Buyer phenomenon.
Think about selling cars. In your market, there’s a group of buyers actively looking to purchase a car. These are motivated buyers, but every dealer in town is looking to sell them cars. That gives the power to these buyers—they can shop for the lowest prices and demand extra features and accessories. You can either give in or see their business go to your competition.
But what if you pursued leads that none of your competitors were fighting for? A small percentage of your market is actively looking for a new car. In fact, we’ve found that it’s about 2% of the population, But here’s the secret—EVERYBODY would like to drive a Nicer, Newer® car than they have right now. All you need to do is tap into the 98% of the market who would love a Nicer, Newer® vehicle, but are not actively looking. These are the cookie dough customers in the next town—the Sleeping Buyers. And just like I didn’t have to compete with my classmates for those out-of-towners, you won’t have to compete with other dealers for those additional sales—you will be the only one selling to them! With this wider net of possible customers, you can also double the sales of your nearest competition, and when you do, treat yourself to a new bike!