Inventor Story: David Hart
Usually you aren’t the first one to see a problem and try to fix it. Sometimes you will find patents for products that try to solve the same problem your product solves or people within your industry may have seen five to ten products similar to yours try to make it to market and fail. When industry people have seen a certain type of product fail a number of times, they will be highly skeptical that another similar product can be successful. What do you do when you have a great new product that really works for a great price, but other similar products (although much more poorly executed) have failed, leaving potential buyers or partners highly skeptical?
David Hart faced this same problem. Hart had created a great new way for carpet cleaning companies to clean out the air ducts common in many homes. Hart noticed that after cleaning someone’s carpet, the client would turn the heat on and dust would fly all over the freshly cleaned carpet. Many other products had come out trying to solve this problem, but none of them did a good job and required too much machinery. Hart’s system used the existing carpet cleaners’ machinery with an attachment and a clear box, both of which he sells, called the RamAir ClearView Duct Cleaning System.
When Hart started to sell his product, he faced a lot of skepticism. What drew the first buyers is that fact that the system was so simple. John Carter, of Cleaning and Restoration Supply, said, “Over the years, there have been a number of air duct cleaning systems designed for carpet cleaners to have as part of their service offering, and for the most part, they were just pretty ineffective. [When Hart] called me and I was very skeptical, because I had seen five or 10 systems fail in the past and had pretty much abandoned the idea.
“When I saw it, I said, ‘Well OK, this makes sense, there’s not a lot of parts, you can use the industrial equipment the carpet cleaner already has in the vehicle,’ and so I worked with him and it definitely works better than anything else I’ve seen … .”
Hart also wins over end customers with the clear box attachment that collects all the dust and dirt from the air ducts. Customers might be hesitant to get their air ducts cleaned, but when they see that clear box fill up with so much dust and dirt they are amazed and glad they had that done.
To overcome skepticism you need to do at least three things: show your product is easier to execute, show that it works better than past products and show that customers will understand your product better than past failed products.
Many products fail because they are not easy to execute. Maybe they require too much investment, either to manufacture or investment in equipment to operate the product. They might require too much training for personnel to use or many other things. All of these things increase the cost and difficulty for customers to add or buy a new product. If it is too expensive, or too much of a hassle, most people will pass on your product, no matter how big of benefit it can provide. If you can show how your product is easy to adopt and use, that will help you overcome the skepticism that past product failures cause.
Performance is also an issue that causes many products to fail. Products that under perform, especially high priced products, may sell initially but as people start to realize that they don’t work as well as they should, they start telling their friends and family not to buy the product and they will be skeptical of all new similar products. If your product doesn’t perform significantly better than other failed products, you won’t have a chance at success.
Finally, even if your product performs much better than all other previous products, if your customers don’t quickly grasp how much better your product is, you will never overcome their skepticism. That is why Hart’s clear box is such a good idea. Customers are wowed at how much dust and dirt the RamAir ClearView Duct Cleaning System blows out of their air ducts and into the clear box. That kind of visible and clear way of demonstrating your product is often the best way to overcome even the fiercest skeptic.
No related posts.