Thank you Mr Edison!

A genius of an inventor, Thomas Edison was the man behind one of the biggest technical discoveries of the late 19th Century. We owe to him not only, of course, the light bulb and the first power station, but also the alkaline battery, the phonograph, the telephone (for which Bell filed the patent application), and the forerunners of the camera and of the movie projector… With over one thousand patents granted to him throughout his life, this relentless worker revolutionised the daily lives of his contemporaries. But in the working world today, he can still revolutionise our lives thanks to his inspired quotations…

Self-taught, Thomas Edison spent his life seeking solutions to his problems, often day and night. He filed patent applications in their hundreds, and he was an example to all of us through his hard work and unwavering determination. A visionary businessman, he made some universal recommendations that have not aged at all today. We all know the famous “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”, but we should also ponder his sayings about failure: “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
I also like this one: “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”, but I think the Edison quote I like most to share in training workshops remains the following one:

“The true value of a product resides not in what it is, but in what it does. What is important is not the price of the bulb, but that of the light.”

In other words, it is not the object per se that motivates the act of purchase, but rather the desire to enjoy its benefits. That stands to reason, but it is an essential lesson that all sales advisors should take on board fully in order to increase their sales. We don’t sell a bulb, we sell light, i.e. the promise of the product is more important than the product. We don’t sell a four-star hotel room, we sell an exceptional moment in life. We don’t sell a car, we sell the freedom to travel. We don’t sell a night cream, we sell newfound youth. We don’t sell orange juice, we sell energy for starting the day well…

So the next time you start negotiating, take a second to think back to Edison’s light bulb, and refocus your pitch on the light that you are proposing. You will see it can make all the difference… And when you leave the room, think about him too as you switch off the light, even if it is lit with LEDs!

Virgil Benyayer