What is Your Sales “Hammer Test”?

b787_schem_02The Sales “Hammer Test”

In 1933 the Rohm and Haas Company brought a new and groundbreaking technology to the market – Plexiglass. Until then, any transparent material was based mostly on some form of glass. And in 1933, all glass was inherently brittle and dangerous. With the introduction of Plexiglass, defense contractors such as Boeing, Douglas and Martin were all very excited about news of this new technology.

However, as with any new technology, the engineers had to be convinced. Even though R & H could provide reams of scientific data sheets discussing all of the research and testing done, these contractors were very skeptical.

So, when the R & H salesman went to provide the sales demonstration, they used a simple method that created an unquestioning sales environment.  The salesman would enter the designated presentation room. And then, simply open his bag pull out a small square piece of transparent material, much resembling glass, and walk past the participants peering at them through the material. Then, he would set the square down on the table in front of the main decision maker; raise a ball-peen hammer over his head, crashing it down upon the material. Of course, everyone quickly looked away and covered their faces expecting to be covered in shards of glass. But then, to their shock and amazement, the salesperson raised the piece of Plexiglas in the air for all to see – and to see no damage at all! These groups repeatedly ordered all stock available – R & H sales blew up!

But that was 75 years ago – how could that methodology apply to today’s advanced technology world? Fast forward to 2004; Boeing is undertaking the greatest commercial airline project in history – the 787 Dreamliner. This plane is being built with new, groundbreaking technology – composite materials. This project will ultimately cost Boeing over 30 Billion dollars in development. For this plane not to sell would mean the end of the commercial division of Boeing.

And, again we find skeptical engineers. In October 2003 All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) chief engineer, Shinsuke Maki told Boeing’s sales team that going with composite plastics was a mistake. With the new material, he thought the dings and dents typical on airplane loading ramps would be a nightmare to repair.

Boeing had to have the endorsement and key launch order from All Nippon Airways’ for this project to be successful.

So in February 2004, Boeing flew a 6-foot by 3-foot composite panel over to Tokyo and invited a team of ANA engineers to beat on it with hammers as hard as they wanted.

They barely managed to scratch the panel. Boeing offered a live demonstration of how to repair the minor damage.

A month later, ANA signed for 50 Dreamliners…

What is Your Sales “Hammer Test”?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: