Why you don’t really sell what you think you do.
When was the last time you woke up and said “today I’m going to buy some [software/consulting/services/apps/etc]?”. Seriously, when was it?
I’m guessing you’ve never purposefully done that. I know I haven’t.
The truth is, no one is ever in the market to buy your “product”. It doesn’t matter what you sell. If you think people want to buy your product, you’ve got it all wrong.
I held this belief for years when I got started back in the early 2000s — “If we make the best product and have more features, customers will love us!”. We kept adding features (we were building software) but our conversion rate kept going DOWN, despite potential customers telling us they would buy if we just added those features.
What a lie that was. An expensive lie in terms of lost revenue, opportunity cost and all of the stress that came along with having bloated software that no one liked.
The lesson I learned 15 years ago was pretty simple — your customers don’t actually want to buy your products. And they definitely don’t want to buy your services.
They want to buy a specific RESULT your product gives them.
The most common way we as entrepreneurs deliver a result is via a product or service, sure, but that’s definitely not what we’re “selling”.
Over the years I’ve learned that sales and marketing isn’t really as complicated as most people make it out to be. In fact, you can pretty much boil it all down to just these 3 points:
- Find a big pain point your potential customers have
- Build something that fixes their problem better than your competitors
- Talk about how you can give them a result (i.e. fix the problem) in a way that resonates with them far beyond just the purchase
Your customers won’t buy your product because it has more features.
They will buy from the company who does the best job articulating their problem, building empathy for them and showing how they can help solve their problem as quickly and as easily as possible.
If you think about some of the fastest-growing brands in the world, they all have really simple products that deliver an extremely powerful result:
- BeachBody (the company behind P90X, Shakeology, etc) sells workout programs, but is in the RESULTS business of helping you get in shape without having to leave your house
- Slack sells chat software, but is in the RESULTS business of helping teams be more productive
- Spanx sells undergarments, but is in the RESULTS business of helping women (and now men) appear slimmer immediately, without having to lose weight
I’m sure you get the idea.
When you look at the websites of BeachBody, Slack and Spanx, you’ll see powerful messages communicated in their headlines. They sell their story and brand promise (aka which problem they solve) way more than their features or their range of products.
If you can flip your marketing to be about one specific result you provide to your customers in a way that’s better than your competitors, you immediately boost your appeal, because you’re no longer just selling products or features like everyone else.
Instead, you’re selling a promise (that you should be able to deliver on) that resonates with your potential customers on a much deeper level.
Businesses like that tend to build strong bonds with their customers, who ultimately become influencers and “unofficial spokespeople” for the brand, using word of mouth to drive their friends and anyone who will listen, to also become customers.
So in summary, just remember that no one gives a shit about your product (or mine). People care about themselves and about solving their problems. Position your business to do that and watch your sales take off.
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