Dish Network is running a radio ad for their service that suggests that just like peanuts, satellite TV is “all the same” so why pay more from another supplier when you can get it for less from Dish.
While I espouse that nothing needs be a commodity if you look at what the customer is buying rather than what you are selling, the use of the peanut analogy really got my attention. It reminded me of a story my friend Ted Steinberg told me about his first sales experience.
While Ted’s first sales experience was “selling” a peanut to a squirrel (you have to read the story to get it, and I recommend it), this Dish ad focuses on peanuts in a ballpark and that is where Ted learned to sell.
Ted’s experience at selling peanuts is insightful in many ways, including creating a difference, promoting that difference and thinking like a customer instead of like a producer.
Dish can keep promoting price if they want to, and maybe that’s really all they have to offer, but selling on price doesn’t usually lead to better profits. A quick recent example notes that while Apple has less than 50% market share in smart phones they generate over 90% of the profits. Why? Samsung and others sell their phones for materially less than Apple sells the iPhone.