Often I hear “Why don’t you have any sales people?” or “It seems like you could pay young college kids all over the country to walk into restaurants and sell Schedulefly – why not?” or “Why not partner with a food service business that is visiting restaurants already and have them sell Schedulefly too?” (We actually did try that early on and it flopped quick – so we backed out). I can see the dollar signs spinning in the eyes of those who ask me this question – and usually it’s the same kind of friend asking. They are traditional business thinking people and most wear a tie and spend the bulk of their day in meetings thinking up ways to sell more stuff to more people.
You see when I tell someone about Schedulefly – they get it right away. It’s a product that is easy to explain and easy for almost anyone to picture the value it would bring to the staff and managers at a restaurant. Heck, most of the people I’ve told about it over the last 5 years have worked in the service industry in the past – so they really get it. They are thinking: it’s a no brainer and should be easy to sell to hundreds of thousands of restaurants across the country – or millions across the globe – right? In fact – most poo poo our focus on restaurants and think every business in the world with hourly employees could use this. All these places with schedules hanging on the wall and phones in the office ringing off the hook with staff on the other end asking about schedules and shift changes could use Schedulefly. It should darn near sell itself if a salesperson just walked into a restaurant and said “Here is something that will make your life easier, please make the check out to Schedulefly”.
Right? Wrong. It does not work. Here’s why.
We are not selling a bread warmer or a cash register or a freezer. We are not selling food that they can sell to their customers. We are not selling silverware that their customers need in order to eat. We are not selling wine that will make their customers relax and better enjoy their meal. We are selling something they have never used and most have never heard of before. So in order to do this – we are actually trying to sell the success our current customers are having with our product. We are selling the happiness and the flexibility and the freedom it has created for the owners, the managers and the staff. The freedom to spend more time with their customers. You just can’t walk into a business and sell that. You’ll be laughed out the door – and quick – especially at a restaurant run by people who literally have zero time for “vendors” that they don’t know and trust and expect. I don’t blame them.
So rather than focus on building out a large (and likely annoying) sales team that pushes our product on restaurant owners that are not ready for it or simply don’t need it – we are trying to position ourselves to be here when they are ready. To be here with a simple product that does not lock them in or try to do too much. A product that is easy to adopt and use. We’ve learned that readiness, which ends up creating a happier more loyal customer that renews every month, is something we can’t force or create. We can’t talk them into being ready. So we are trying hard to make a great name for ourselves so that when they are ready – they give us a shout.