Peter Thompson heads Custodia Systems, a company in Milton Keynes, U.K., that creates devices to locate stolen vehicles. That’s a simple enough business to understand. Most consumers would express familiarity with the concept. But Thompson’s company has a product with a key point of differentiation. Most vehicle tracking companies use GPS signals; Thompson’s AppelloGEO device uses radio signals. Unlike GPS, these radio signals can penetrate into garages, shipping containers or other covered areas to locate stolen vehicles. His company maintains its own team of investigators—comprised mostly of former police officers—who round up the missing cars, trucks, boats and other vehicles, along with the thieves who took them.
The Challenge: Explaining product differences
The AppelloGEO service is unique, and for Thompson it presents a unique issue. “Every sale for us involves education,” he says. “Half my time at sales meetings is spent telling people why they shouldn’t buy what they want to buy (GPS systems). People think using AppelloGEO is like using smartphone tracking, but thieves can bypass GPS. My biggest hurdle is explaining why our system works where others fail. It’s very difficult to explain in writing without turning off the audience.”
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