Frequently Asked Questions TOC and Market Constraints

What is that? A market constraint?

Constraint stands for 'limitation'. Something that stops or prevents us from achieving better results. When you ask that question to the people who are busy with sales on a daily basis, you certainly get a long list of reasons why it is so difficult to score better. What's more, those reasons are usually very correct!

Have we made any progress, we cannot solve all these problems straight away, can we?

It is true that we cannot solve all the problems with the blink of an eye, and yet it is very useful to have the courage to draw up this 'list'. Something must therefore be done with our list, otherwise we will only create more frustration. Reliable techniques have been developed within TOC in order to build up a strong logic with such - even semi-subjective - reasons, in which everyone can recognise themselves, and which points to a core cause. These root causes differ from company to company, because they arise from the interaction of individuals living in an organisation. The good news is that it is then possible to focus on a very limited number of causes.

What do we do if these causes are outside our business, such as falling demand or competition from cheaper countries?

We cannot tackle the problems of the whole country, but our experience shows that the market share can be increased for individual companies. This is made clear by drawing up the company's 'market-constraint model'. In the event of a downward trend, this model will be extended to the next few years and it will be much clearer how the company's own market share can still be secured. It also happens that this model shows that a lot of energy is put into the wrong solutions or into solving a problem that has no impact whatsoever on the competitive position.

But my client is a real price buyer and the buyer is judged on the 'percentages' he has been able to extort!

Every seller knows that there can only be intercepted if your offer is completely identical to that of your competitor. This applies not only to the product itself, but to everything that goes with it, including certain services or features of your offer that your customer benefits from.

Surely that buyer is not going to tell me what he gains from?

No, but there are good techniques for finding out. This is - if necessary - part of the full implementation of a new offering in the market. But of course you have to have a new offer first, because your customer does not listen to a salesman who always comes to sing the same song.
You have to be able to make a difference compared to your competitor.

Does that mean 'USP' or 'Unique Sales Proposition'?

That may be the case, but the USP approaches have at one time or another caused many sales people a serious hangover because those actions were too often limited to a few (often very good) sales tactics, which were not supported in the rest of their own organisation.

Surely you can't turn the whole organisation upside down just to put a new offer on the market?

Fortunately, this is not necessary if, at the same time, there is a sufficiently clear picture of the real constraints of the organisation in this respect. Yes, many problems may arise, but the number of core problems always turns out to be very limited. That is the big difference between TOC and classical analysis techniques.

Will all this not take too long?

The marketconstraints module of the TOC SCAN & PLAN lasts only a few days on its own and opens up both short-term and long-term possibilities. What can give immediate results should therefore not be postponed. The 'plan' not only gives the direction of the solution but also indicates the necessary steps and the preconditions that lead to the result.