Wow … That Is A Beautiful Potato; It Must Be Worth A Fortune! The Importance Of Plan B

potatoHow are you getting the message across that your product/service has real value for your prospects and customers alike? Do you struggle to do this, especially in a world where technical advantages can be eroded in next to no time? If so there could be an important lesson to learn from history and from a man whose exploits earned him the right to be called Frederick The Great .. by promoting the value of the humble potato!

Frederick was ruler of Prussia in the late 18th century (king Frederick II) and was faced with a nation struggling with famine; held ransom by bakers whose bread was too expensive and beyond the reach of many. Frederick realised the potato was a good alternative, cheap food supply and attempted to get people to switch to it. To his and his advisors’ dismay the people rejected royal advice to grow them themselves saying they were, ‘tasteless, odourless and even not wanted by their dogs’. As such, his and his advisors’ efforts weren’t improving a worsening situation.

Faced with this Frederick had a great idea to give the potatoes value. He had a royal field of potatoes planted, then stationed a guard around it to protect it and prevent people stealing them (the potatoes nobody wanted!). With this new ‘royal status’ and guard protection from theft though, the peasants derived that the potatoes must be valuable (otherwise why guard them?) and set about stealing the plants that grew them. Frederick ordered his guards to defend the crop weakly so they could be stolen … and they were! The successful poachers valued their prized captures like golden treasure, planted them at home, cultivated them and ate them duly bringing the famine to an end!

A fantastic piece of reverse psychology and a wonderful plan B when their original plan of telling people to do something failed.

If you’re struggling to get your prospects and customers to perceive the value in your product/service it could well be the way you’re trying to do it.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When I speak about my product/service how do I describe/demonstrate its value?
  2. Do I value it highly enough and show that I do (like Frederick’s guarded royal field)?
  3. If I was a prospective customer of my product/service what would be the most important reasons why I’d choose to buy it?
  4. What do I need to improve in each of the above areas?


plan A and BThen simply make any changes you need to in your pitch.  Ensure you have a plan B developed and ready to put into practice should you fail to get your prospects and customers to derive value in your products and services. Remember that even the humble potato can have a high perceived value, so your product/service definitely can. Then you can be known as ‘Salesperson The Great!’


I wish you every success.


About Trentham Whitmore

Salesperson, trainer, author, speaker, student and forever curious about what makes top performing salespeople so much more successful than their contempories.
This entry was posted in demonstrating value, Selling Parables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wow … That Is A Beautiful Potato; It Must Be Worth A Fortune! The Importance Of Plan B

  1. Great to see some of the comments coming in about this blog post via Twitter, including …

    Really loved the article on the potato! You should consider adding a share button to your blog posts so many more could enjoy them. Very well-written😊

    Great article!

    That was a lovely article (and story). And I didn’t expect much from a potato (but had to click it). Awesome!

    Informative article @WIT2S.

    … many thanks to all. Please follow the wit2s blog for my regular posts on sales, success and achieving more.


  2. Youս havee ɡot a very grеat website, Gladiola I noticеd
    it through yahoo.

    Liked by 1 person

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