OTS 149 | Unique Product


In this very crowded market, it is very hard to be seen when you don’t have a product that stands out. How then can you rise above and become something that must not be missed? It’s simple. Find the uniques of your product. Timothy educates us on how to identify what makes your product shine among the crowd, giving a great and easy exercise that will bring them to light. Answering other questions along the way, he also shares his insights on how you can keep going in the face of rejection, finding your why, making emotional deposits, and more.

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How To Identify The Uniques Of Your Product + #otherquestionsanswered

I’m looking forward to this episode. I got back from a trip to El Salvador. Everybody told me, “Don’t go to El Salvador,” including our government. You go on the embassy website. You’re on the government website. It doesn’t say caution about going. It just says, “Don’t go.” I had a great time. El Salvador is beautiful. The people are friendly. I did a seminar there for about 40 companies looking to bring their products to the US. We had a great time. We did about seventeen one-on-ones after the seminar. I was blown. The seminar went from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM. I did one-on-ones from 2:00 PM all the way to 6:00 PM. If you’ve been watching the news, you would know that while I was there, there was a 6.8 earthquake. In the middle of the night, 3:30 in the morning, a huge jolt woke me up out of a dead sleep. When I say I was sleeping, I was out. I remember sitting on the side of my bed thinking, “I should do something. Should I get something? Should I go somewhere? Should I get under something? Should I put my shoes on?” This thought ran across my brain, “Are we still going to have the seminar?” Those are the things I was thinking about.

By the time I got my wits about me, the shaking and rolling have subsided. I was left there thinking, “You’re not much of a reactionary person during an earthquake or an event like that. I needed to be a little better prepared.” It was a big shock. I’m so grateful that nothing happened. El Salvador held up fine. They had made a lot of changes since the last major quake hit there many years ago. Nothing was damaged. Everything went on, pretty much business as usual. Another big event happening there as I was leaving is the president was changing hands. The swearing in of the new El Salvadorian President was about to happen. I left on a Friday. That was taking place on a Saturday. If you want to talk about security, they had that city locked down tight. Everywhere you went, there were armed soldiers and machine guns. They were not taking any chances at all with security. It was good to see.

What’s interesting is when we have a change in president, there might be some long-term economic differences that in the long-term might make our lives a little bit different or different in some way. Our day-to-day lives don’t change that much when the president changes hands. In countries like El Salvador, it is a huge change. It will affect their day-to-day lives. Everything is going to change when a new administration comes in and they have new ideas. I found it fascinating because everywhere you went, it’s all everybody was talking about was this new president, what he wanted to do and how he was going to do it. The main thing on everybody’s tongue was how young he was, 38 years old. That was a big deal.

We talk about presidential campaigns because that’s all we see. It’s everywhere. It’s slapping you in the face all the time. I don’t think that we talk about it because we think that any major change is going to happen. They talk a good game but their ability to get things done overshadows what they think they’re going to do. We spend time talking about it because it’s the topic. We don’t spend time talking about it because of how specifically our day-to-day lives are going to change. Hats off to El Salvador and my partners down there for a great visit, I can’t wait to go back.

The Uniques Of Your Product

We are going to get into a couple of questions. I haven’t done any question and answer in some time, so I’m looking forward to this. These are all questions that have been asked over the last couple of months. I’m not waiting until now to answer them. These have all been answered via email or phone call. I thought I would share them with you anyway. Number one, this is something that comes up a lot. You hear me talk about it a lot because it’s the major differentiator between you and anybody else. Somebody had asked me, “How can I identify the uniques of my product?” Hearing me talk about your uniques all the time caused this person to write in and say, “How do I identify those in a way that I can call them out in either a buyer meeting, an email or on my pitch deck?”

When they’re not readily apparent, a lot of times your uniques pop out at you because you made it that way. You created the product to have those specific uniques. Figuring those out is not that big of a process. You know those right away. If the uniques aren’t jumping out at you, how do you recognize those? How do you call those out? I had to think about it and think about what I did, what I would do and how I handle that with clients when they’re not readily jumping out at us. Here’s what I came up with. If you’re having trouble identifying uniques, you might try this exercise. First, you need to identify what type of product you have. They’re either an enhancement product so it enhances a current product in some way or they’re a groundbreaking product. It’s brand new to the market, never been seen before, never heard of before but solve an issue that’s universal and that other people can relate to.

You're never going to get there if you're afraid of rejection. Click To Tweet

The big differences between the two are mostly trend and buyer acceptance. An enhancement product is an enhancement of a current type of product that’s already out there. Buyers already have identified it. They know that they’re in charge of it. They know that there’s a category for it, a trend around it and pricing strategies that have been used. None of that has to be figured out. All they have to decide is, “Is your product better, faster and easier? Will it identify with their customers more? Will it enhance their overall category drive, their margin?” It sounds like a lot but it’s not as much as they have to do when it’s a groundbreaking product. First of all, nobody is technically taking responsibility for it, “That’s not my product. That’s not my category. Send it over to Bill.” Bill is like, “I don’t know about that. Send it over to Cindy.” Cindy’s like, “Maybe this is my category.” Somebody’s got to take responsibility for it. They have to decide, “Where’s it going to go? How are we going to merchandise it? How should we price it? How’s it going to grow if it’s the only thing in its category? Can I attach it to another category to help grow my margin there?” All those questions have to be considered when you’re going to talk about your uniques. If you don’t know what category you’re in, you don’t know what to call out as something that might be different from what’s already there.

If your product is a groundbreaking product, almost every feature that it has is a unique because there’s nothing like it out there anyway. The fact that it solves some major problem and it does it by doing this and this, those are all uniques. You don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring that out because everything it does is a unique. It is unique. That part is far more simplified than an enhancement product. An enhancement product is where you have to spend time deciding what stands out about your product other than what’s already on the shelf. If you’ve heard me talk about this subject before, it can’t just be price. It can’t just be the fact that you can build a lot. A lot of people can build a lot. It can’t be just the fact that it’s cool. There are a lot of cool products out there.

Here are a couple of things that you can do to help get your brain juices flowing about what’s unique about this enhancement product. Number one, “What are the different things that you like about the product?” Stop figuring out what the buyer might like or what the customers might like. Why do you like it? What did you do to it specifically that made it better or unique? What do you like about it? Let’s start there. List out the things that you like about this product. Once you have those listed out, I want you to ask yourselves, “Why do you like these specific things?” For every item that you listed out that you like, I want you also to list some reasons that you like it. What does it do? What does it serve? Who does it serve? What does it make better? Why do you like those specific things? First of all, “What are the things that you like?” Second, “Why do you like them?” The last thing here is, “What is the one thing your product does that no other product does?” Is there something that your product does that no other product does? Can you explain it in less than a minute? Anything that your product does that takes more than a minute to explain is going to get lost. You’re going to lose people’s attention. If it takes pages and pages of copy to explain it, if it takes an hour to talk about it, it’s too much. Probably, people aren’t going to get it.

OTS 149 | Unique Product
Unique Product: If your product is groundbreaking, almost every feature that it has is unique because there’s nothing like it out there anyway.


First, determine what type of product it is, enhancement or groundbreaking. Second, what are the different things you like most about the product? Third, why do you like those things? Fourth, what’s the one thing of that product that nobody else’s product can do? Can you explain it in less than a minute? That’s what I challenge you with. If you have a product, you want to figure out some uniques. Go through that exercise. Feel free to hop on and shoot me a comment in OnTheShelfNow.com. Let me know how that process worked. Did it help dislodge some ideas for you on how your product is unique? I’m dying to hear about it.

Facing Rejections

The next question is more of a psychological question. It has nothing to do with products or getting into retail. It’s more of a pick yourself up off the ground type of question. The question was, “How do you keep going in the face of so much rejection?” This seems a little dark because the question was raised so much rejection. I don’t know how much rejection is so much. That could have been two noes. In the course of several years, I have had thousands of rejections. You’re never going to get there if you’re afraid of rejection. Here’s what will happen. Here’s how this works. You sit on the phone. You have the buyer’s phone number. You think to yourself, “What if they say no?” You start negotiating with yourself, “Maybe I shouldn’t make this call. They’re probably not going to be interested. I’m going to move on to the next one.” Every call you do, you’re going to negotiate with yourself. You can’t be afraid that somebody’s going to say, “We’re not interested. It’s not the right time. I have other products that are like that.” It’s going to happen a lot. You can’t be afraid of that. You have to learn how to lean into that. You have to learn how to embrace that. It’s only going to make you a better salesperson. It’s only going to make you understand your product better, pitch it better and get that first yes.

That first yes is out there. You’re going to have to go through some noes to get it. There’s no question about it. You’re going to go through far more noes than you are yeses. If all you ever got was, “Yes,” you’d be rolling. You’d be crushing it. You’d be writing a book. Don’t be afraid of the noes. That’s on the surface. Rejection comes from a couple of noes. You negotiate with yourself. You’re trying to figure out. The next thing you know, you’re stopping making calls. You’re not talking to anybody. You’re not sending out any emails. You start thinking to yourself, “I’m going to get somebody else to do this because I’m no good at it.” All those things are just fear.

If you don't know your why, there is no end to the hole that you'll dig for yourself. Click To Tweet

In every entrepreneur’s life, in the span of every entrepreneur’s business life from this year to this year, there’s going to be some serious downtimes. There are going to be times that you’re going to question, “Did I take the right path?” People are going to say to you, “I told you so. You shouldn’t have done this. You shouldn’t have started this product. You’re too small. There are people out there that have so much more money than you and they’re crushing you.” You’re going to start looking at what other people are doing and saying, “Why is that not happening for me?” That’s going to start to get you down. It’s going to start to wear at you. The next thing you know, you’re going to doubt yourself. You’re going to be, “They were right. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have gone there. I shouldn’t have stepped out on my own. What was I thinking?” Here is where the rubber meets the road. You have to know your why.

If you don’t know your why, there is no end to the hole that you’ll dig for yourself. There’s no end to the catastrophic flow of negativity that will fill your brain. The why of why you do the things that you do is what snaps you back. It’s what stops it. It’s what puts everything back into perspective, gets you back on the phone. I could tell you how I came up with my why. I’m not going to go through that with you, but I will tell you what my why is and how it has saved me over the past years. You most likely have read the blog, Top 10 Lessons in the Last 10 Years. Not all of those years were great. Not all of those were hunky-dory. There have been in every single one of those years some tough times. As an entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. Sometimes that’s hard to swallow. It’s always been my why that has snapped me back, got me to sit up straight, go take a shower and get back to being busy. That why is that I want to control my destiny. Let that sink in. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Here’s what it means to me. When I am in control of my own destiny, nobody gets to tell me when I can go on vacation. Nobody gets to tell me if I can go to one of my daughters’ competitions. Nobody gets to tell me when to get up, when to go to bed, how much time I spend here and how much time I spend there. I don’t have to get on the road and be at a certain place at a certain time unless I have meetings. I dictate those. I’m the one who chooses. I learned a long time ago when I started this business and my daughter, when I started it, was six. I’m going to give you this one example. I truly believe in emotional deposits. I believe that you are either taking withdrawals from the people that you love emotionally or you’re making emotional deposits.

OTS 149 | Unique Product
Unique Product: If you come and have the same old thing and the same old way for the same old price, that line review is going to go very quickly.


When I started TLB, my daughter was ending second grade, maybe going into the third. From that day until the day she started doing her virtual online academy, I took her to school every single day. Every single day I put that in my schedule. Before that, I was up before she woke up and off to work. I was back in time for dinner before she had to go to bed. Instead of being gone all the time, I took her to school every day. That was our time, father and daughter chitchat. That’s where all the emotional deposits were created. It’s all that time that we spent together, all that wonderful conversation that we had during that time. Since that day that I started TLB Consulting, I put my daughter to bed. I’ve tucked her in every single night, other than the nights that I’m traveling. Those are emotional deposits. You can’t put a price on that. Now that she’s older, when things are tough, things happen. She weathers those storms like they’re nothing because of all the emotional deposits that happened early on.

If there’s a withdrawal, it’s not even scraping the surface. I know we’re getting deep here. I didn’t want to do that to answer this question, but that’s what controlling my own destiny means to me. That’s why I do what I do. When I’m down for the count and things are bad, I start asking myself, “What are you going to do? Do you want to go back to work for somebody? Do you want to give up control of your destiny? Is that what you’re saying that you want? Is that what you’re saying that’s going to be best for you and your family?” I’m answering myself, “That’s not what I want. I still want to control my own destiny.” I sit up straight and I get back to being busy. What’s your why? That’s what you need to figure out.

If you’re interested in going through the process of finding out what your why is, I would love to do that with you. If you want to invest an hour of time with me to figure out what your why is it’s probably going to end up being different than you think it is. If you’re interested in spending one hour with me, I guarantee you won’t be able to put a price on it. Once you find out what your why is, then you can get through anything. Email me at Tim@OnTheShelfNow.com. Tell me, “I want to spend an hour with you figuring out what my why is,” and we’ll get it scheduled. I’d be honored to work with you to do that. It will change things for you forever.

You are either taking withdrawals from the people that you love emotionally, or you're making emotional deposits. Click To Tweet

That was a bit deep for On The Shelf. We’re going to get into some lighter topics. “What is dead net pricing?” I’ve only ever heard a couple of retailers use it. It’s your best price with nothing built in. When I say nothing, I mean nothing. It’s your factory price that has no returns, no co-op, no anything. What the retailer is telling you if they ask you for this is that they want your best price and they’re going to take care of everything else. They’re never coming back to you with their hand out saying, “I need this. I need that.” They’re saying, “I’m better at promoting your product. I’m better at flowing your product from your factory. I’ll deal with my own returns. I’ll do any of that. I just need your best price.” If you’re going to give that to them, please read all the fine print that it is dead net pricing. You don’t want to give them your bottom basement price and have them say, “There is this one thing that I need from you.” Ask the questions and get it confirmed. Get it in the email. Get the buyer to tell you, “Nothing else is built in. We’ll take care of everything else.” Dead net pricing is your bottom basement price.

Dead Net Pricing And Line Review

Our last question for this episode is, “What is a line review?” Line reviews are only held generally by big-box retailers. It’s Walmart, Target and big companies that have to structure when they look at certain products. A category review is different than a line review because a category review is a period of time when the buyer is looking at a certain category. A line review is an even further truncated time that they’re going to hold face-to-face meetings to take a look at your product. Think about this. If you send them a product during their category review, they might review it online. They may take a look at your buyer deck, your pitch email, go check you out on your website and all of that. They may say, “I’m interested. Send me a sample.” The process will start from there.

A line review is where they take a quick look at your information and say, “I’m holding line reviews for this time to this time. Are you available to come in at this particular time on this particular day? Bring your samples and all your information.” They’re going to meet you face-to-face. During that time, it’s all they do. They’re meeting with people. Once you’re in a retailer, your line review will come up every year. If you’re already in a retailer, they pretty much want to see you, what you have new, what you’re doing and how you changed anything each year. The line reviews will become part of your yearly schedule on certain retailers that you’re in. If you have products in Walmart, you’re going to go and see your Walmart buyer at least once a year during your line review.

Any retailer’s expectation after you’re already in there is that you’re going to have something new, a new product, a new concept, better pricing or new packaging. You’ve been working on something during the year, not just sitting back and saying, “We’re doing great over at Walmart. I got a new car. I got a new Benz. Things are great.” They want to make sure that some of the money that they’re spending on your product is getting recycled into R&D. You’re going to have something new to tell them. If you come and you have the same old thing and the same old way for the same old price, first of all, that line review is going to go very quickly. Secondly, you could lose your space. They want innovation. They want people that are taking the time and investing in their business to do something new and expand their line so that they can take advantage of that. That’s what a line review is.

There are two types of line reviews. It’s one where your product’s not in there yet, but they’ve invited you during the time. If they meet with you during their line review time, they’re sliding you in between people that are doing business with them. That’s a great thing. Be happy about that. If they say, “Come in for our line review during this time and nail it down.” Make sure that you can do that. Don’t miss that opportunity. The other type is the one where it’s a yearly schedule thing because you already have a partnership with them. You’re already selling them a product.

We talked about how I can identify the uniques of my product, how to keep going in the face of rejection, what’s your why, what is dead net pricing and what is a line review. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to speaking to you next time and trying to get this show back on a regular schedule. I don’t know how good I’m going to be able to be at that. I’m traveling quite a bit. I’m doing my best to get this stuff out to you and help make a difference in what you’re trying to do every single day.

If you want to support the show, we’re in that 30-day period of time. I want you to reach out. Down the road, I may ask you for something different. I want you to reach out and start a conversation with us. Let’s have some comments on some of your favorite episodes. Let’s get the conversation going and create a little bit better, a little bit more of a community. That’s all I’m asking for. It doesn’t cost anything, just a little bit of time. You’re part of this community. We appreciate you. It’s because we appreciate you, we want to know what you think. We want to know that the information that we’re providing you is good information. It’s information that you can take action on and that you can make a difference in what you’re trying to accomplish.

There are a million ways to reach out to us. We have our closed group on Facebook, On The Shelf Now. You can ask to join that and get into that conversation. You can go like our Facebook page, On The Shelf Now. You can check this out on Twitter, @OnTheShelfNow. You can go to the website, OnTheShelfNow.com. I appreciate you. I look forward to talking to you again soon. Until then, I look forward to seeing your products on the shelf.

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