Recently, when having a discussion with a gentleman who has developed a new racket game, I was reminded of a funny personal experience in Germany. The Prince tennis racket had been introduced in the United States, but the German distributor was having a hard time introducing the much larger Prince tennis racket into the traditional German tennis market. Hold in mind I knew all the world class tennis players from my years at Wilson, and was in a unique position to pull off the following.
As soon as I got the chance, I went alone to the then top trend setting sporting goods store in Germany. I asked for the store owner or manager, and the manager then invited me to his office and I got directly to the point. Both of us still standing, I told him he needed to buy and inventory Prince tennis rackets. He very politely told me that the top German players did not play Prince to which I instantly replied, “There are no top German tennis players.” [Germany normally has a top player among the world class players, but at that moment they were experiencing low tide.]. We quietly stared at one another for the longest time, and he then started to walk away. I mentioned there were young American players using Prince were winning at national tournaments across Europe.
The next morning he called the distributor and placed the first Prince order for Germany. When it comes to delivering a new idea or selling a new product, be prepared to speak with folks who are going through life on automatic pilot. Sometimes you need to jolt them to get their attention.