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First Customer Legend

amazon 1st book and packing slip 400x247

The legend surrounding your first customer is highly important.

In our context, that usually means for a newly released product.

There’s a couple of terrific tales from pioneering web services.

Amazon’s first customer, an Aussie in 1995, was so lauded by them that they named a building in his honour. All for spending $27.95. On a book excitingly entitled Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought.

Whilst the Wainwright Building naturally came later, what about the legend of meeting the order. In the words of customer number one himself;

They didn’t have the book in their stock and the story goes that Jeff Bezos didn’t want to delay the fulfilment and he went charging around bookstores himself to find a copy to send it off in time. Whether that’s true or not, it’s a small testament to his energy and drive that he got it.

Fantastic customer service cultural description.

Another cracker from the same year in early e-commerce.

Supposedly, eBay’s (then, AuctionWeb) first item listed was a broken laser pointer. It sold for $14.83. Its creator wondered why anyone would want a broken item. When checking with the winning bidder, he apparently revealed himself “a collector of broken laser pointers”.

What’s also interesting about first-customer-legend in this case, is the added element of flash-of-genius/lightbulb/eureka-moment backstory. The company itself tried for a time to spice it up. They allegedly fabricated a tale about results from the desire to help the founder’s girlfriend trade Pez candy dispensers. Apparently it was considered more media-friendly.

The truth is always way better.

With b2b Sales, how you re-tell your tale can divulge so much about your intent. What underpins your ambitions. Where you really want to go, and how you aim to get there.

Once you’ve caught that prized paying client. Once you have that fresh entry in the ‘actual’ column. Once you’ve moved from forecasted into done. Then you have a story to tell. Make sure you tell it with impact.

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Category: new products

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