Sell Your Value, Not Your Product

Author: Gerard Ferreira

Value Bomb

Ever listen to a bad car salesman? They’ll attempt to bamboozle you with all the gadgets and specs, hoping that you’re so impressed that you throw your money at them one time. How much did you end up using all those fancy tings that enticed you to buy? Chances are, not often.

Now, if the salesman took the time to learn about you – perhaps discovering that you’re a relatively new mom who has a long daily commute – he could have explained the safety features, gas mileage and cargo space that can hold many baby items. In doing so, he’d still impress you, but also get you thinking deeply about the car and the interaction, leading to a sale and a more positive perception of the whole experience.

As the owner of a product or service, naturally we know how great our item is – we’re excited by what we have to offer and we want our customers to be excited too. But in our excitement, there’s a tendency (we’ve all seen it nuff times) to end up like the first salesman, rather than the second.

We try to show off our product/service to potential customers, explaining all the cool features; “The new Thingamabob does things faster!”  “My service will get your furniture cleaner!”  But while this makes customers nod in appreciation, it doesn’t make them really connect with you or with your product/service; They’ll understand you but won’t imagine their lives being better for choosing you, and it’s this latter state that you want.

So, WWS2D (what would salesman 2 do)?

  • Spend time getting to know your customer. Find out what their pains and frustrations are, both directly and indirectly, related to your product and industry. Learn how they usually interact with or use your type of product or service.  E.g. “Why is your furniture getting so dirty all the time?”  “How often do you clean your furniture and do you usually use cleaning services? Why/why don’t you?”
  • Relate your product to their life and their pain points. But don’t shoehorn: remember it’s not about the bells and whistles – don’t force yourself into their scenarios if it really doesn’t fit. Instead, aim to be helpful.
  • Explain your product or service in terms that alleviate their pain or increase their pleasure e.g. “My Thingamabob does things faster, allowing you to get back to enjoying life the way you really want.”
  • Frame your sentences so they directly associate a feature of your product/service with some meaningful benefit to the customer.

An additional point to note: Sometimes your customer may not be as self-aware as you’d like them to be, i.e. they may not be aware of the true nature of their pain points. In cases like this, the ‘5 Whys’ is a good tool: essentially ask a series of 5 ‘why’ questions to get to the true cause of something.

When you start thinking about how your product will add value instead of how it can show off, you may even start to see it in a new light. This deeper emotional connection to your customer may also mean even if they don’t go with you now, they’re more likely to remember you when they are ready for what you’re selling.

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