I spent a few days this week in rural Kenya working on a sanitation project so I wasn’t able to announce a huge milestone. Life Force Kiosks recently purified our 10,000th liter of drinking water in Kibera. Actually, we’re already at over 11,000 liters purified. We’ve also cleaned about 200 water storage containers.
As expected, sales were initially low, but we’ve seen steady growth and have purified over 1,000 liters per day for the past couple of days. I attribute the growth to two main activities.
- Vendor improvements – Our management team has done a great job of making improvements with our vendor network. In many cases, we used a three-day training approach where Steve spent two days running a kiosk with the vendor by his side watching. On the third day, Steve was still at the same kiosk all day but the vendor did all the work and Steve observed. This allowed Steve, who is charismatic and trained in community development, to give our sales pitch to every customer who approached the water tap and generate consumer demand for two consecutive days. It also allowed the vendor to see firsthand what an effective sales pitch looks like, including overcoming objections. Lastly, it let the vendors get over their nervousness about the new service and see that the community is responding positively and they really can make more money by working with us. In some extreme cases, we removed vendors who were not performing and replaced them with vendors who had greater interest.
- Community Raffle – The cornerstone of our marketing program is our weekly raffles. The biggest problem with most health promotions is that they don’t focus on the real things that motivate people. Look at any gym commercial in the United States. You don’t see a doctor explaining how exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. You see beautiful, toned people glistening with sweat in very little clothing because people want to look like that so they can date other people who look like that. Our raffles motivate our customers by giving them a chance to win something they really want like household wares they couldn’t otherwise afford or cell phone credit. I wish that reducing the risk of waterborne disease was motivation enough, but it’s just not and never will be. We had our first round of weekly raffles over the weekend and as expected, they attracted large crowds. Everyone wanted to know how they could participate in the raffle and several asked if they could buy our services right then and there. As we do more and more of these raffles, I expect every member of the community to eventually hear about and at least consider utilizing the services of Life Force Kiosks. I don’t know too many marketers who would say they see that kind of impact from a billboard, brochure, or direct mail campaign.
The entire team is incredibly excited at the positive reaction we’ve seen in the community. Even more exciting is that there’s still a huge amount of potential for growth. We’re just three weeks old and haven’t even started our community presentations at women’s groups, schools, etc. Stay tuned for future updates. We’re just warming up!