Viktor Khodanov and Alexey Vinokurov a little over 20. Three years ago, they, childhood friends, moved to Moscow from Bryansk, where they already had their own small business - a reference service for goods and services. Choosing what to do, the partners decided to sell the opportunity to sleep in the middle of the day. Having agreed with the manufacturers of capsules, in which you can hide from the world, about the first delivery, they began to search for customers and faced with the main problem - how to get into a meeting with the head of a large company if he does not understand why he needs the goods. About how to solve this problem, Alexey Vinokurov told H&F.
In the photo from left to right: Viktor Khodanov and Alexey Vinokurov
co-founder and CEO of Energy Point
When we chose what to do in Moscow, we wanted the business to be socially responsible. We thought about recycling, creating environmentally friendly packaging, but we would not have the resources to make our own production. Therefore, we decided to push off from the basic needs of man - in food and in sleep.
The US Department of Health and Human Services at the annual congress a year ago declared the fight against workplace fatigue a priority, saying that the country's economy loses $ 136 billion annually because people bite their nose at work. We pushed off from this indicator, studied the issue and decided to start selling sleep capsules in Russia, especially since in the world it is already a popular and sought-after product.
Distrust of manufacturer experience
We have been working for half a year, and from the very first day we began to fight with distrust towards us. At first, the manufacturers of the capsules to whom we wrote letters were skeptical. Our portfolio is really not very impressive: we are few years old, we have never been involved in sales, we have no investor or equity. I decided that I would be better perceived by visual contact, made appointments and went on a tour - in Copenhagen I met Christopher Lindholst, the developer of EnergyPod capsules and the owner of MetroNaps, in Stuttgart - with the creators of the Napshell capsule.
The calculation turned out to be correct, we were able to convince manufacturers of their reliability, and soon concluded contracts.
We are an exclusive distributor, not a dealer. We follow the scheme: received an order from a client, ordered a capsule from the manufacturer, bought, resold to a client.
In May-June, we started trying to sell our capsules, and here the most important problem that was stopping us was found out: no one understands why this is necessary. Managers and business owners are not going to give employees the opportunity to sleep for 20 minutes during a working day. We should focus on a fairly large business, capsules cost from 800,000 rubles to 1.3 million rubles, so offering them to small or medium-sized businesses would be foolish. We took up the so-called cold sales.
Very quickly, literally in a month, it became clear: our letters with presentations, our brochures and our calls with offers are sent to spam. We were perceived as people who want to "drag in" an expensive and unnecessary thing. Then we began to act differently: we began to look for approaches.
By friends and the network you can find a lot of information. We asked friends for advice: with whom to talk in a certain company, who is close to leadership and open to everything new, searched for people on Facebook, LinkedIn, looked at their profiles, found out what they were interested in, and figured out how to find an approach to them . Then they knocked, sent information about us. So we work with Yandex (a contract has not been concluded yet), with the architectural bureau of KS (capsules are installed). When they were looking for an approach to a global Internet company with an office in Russia, they sent its representative a large selection of articles about how capsules have been standing in the offices of this company in other countries for a long time. This helped to arouse interest in us.
It is not very pleasant to feel that you are being imposed on people who do not want to waste time on you.
Product confidence helped me. On the day I made two or three calls, but each call was preceded by powerful work - it was necessary to find the person who does not hang up, but listens and helps to break through higher.
From the first call to the right person to a meeting with the leadership, as a rule, three weeks pass. With the conclusion of the contract, everything is more complicated. We are still working on many of the calls we made five months ago. The first meeting is often appointed to get rid of and refuse, but when you come with statistics, indicators, armed with a presentation, the attitude changes. They respond favorably to the following calls, do not refuse, transfer your business to the commercial service and find out the size of the discount and details of the work.
Change of tactics
Now we have a slightly different tactic. We are making more efforts to create an information cloud around our project. We try to work with the media, with social networks, talk about the benefits of daytime sleep, and share research. They began to turn to us more often after reading articles about sleep capsules - this is how we put two capsules in RIA Novosti and installed one in the Nordstar Tower business center. But, of course, the stage of cold sales, which was generally unpleasant, was necessary in order to be known about us on the Russian market. If your capsule is in several Russian companies, it is easier to convince competitors and partners of these companies in its necessity.