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What Do We Sell And What Do They Buy?


What do we sell? Our products, our services, our knowledge, skills and experience. Something to which we have applied our effort in order to make it either distinct from others, or exactly the same as others. In any case, we are secretly proud that we managed to make our product exactly the way it is. Indeed, why should we work if we could not be proud of the results?


What could we be proud of if our product is similar to others like a twin? At least by the fact that we sell this product at a better (lower) price, on better conditions, with better service, or, say, with home delivery. In short, differences, either real or imaginary, could still be found! So, there is always something to be proud of.


OK, we sell what we are proud of. This pride is organically woven into the sales process. We offer customers product features rather than the product itself. Features that distinguish it from other products: unique properties, parameters or characteristics. It doesn’t matter if these features exist really or in our imagination only.


Pride in our achievements is, of course, good. But, as it turned out, it is not good for sale. When we sell what we are proud of, we stick out this pride. Without hesitation, regardless of whether the buyer is interested in our pride or not.


For example, we manufacture and sell the sleeping bags with thickened insulation. What could we be proud of? There are a lot of sleeping bags of different types. Our one is worse than others because it is more bulky and heavy, and its price is higher. But we are proud that we managed to find a way to make it (do you think it is so easy to stitch the thick insulation?), that we found a way to better isolate a person from cold ground and cold air. So we tell our customers that Polar Explorer (we called this bag so, isn't it the cool brand name?) has insulation as thick as one inch! We hope that buyers could guess why this is better. Alas, the buyers went kind of dumb. Didn’t they study physics at school?


Now, let's look at this question from the other viewpoint: what do the people buy?  What is the buyer thinking while looking at the offered product? Is he thinking how good are those fellows who created this product? Hardly. Rather, he thinks of something else: "If I buy this product, what is in it for me? What benefit could I gain if I buy this product rather than that one?"


Well, he thinks so, so what? The buyer might think of anything. We just care if he buys our product, right?


That's right. Think one step further: the seller, of course, plays an active role in the sale, the buyer is assigned, rather, a passive role, however, the decision on whether the sale takes place is ultimately made by the buyer. It does not matter what the seller is proud of. More important thing is what the customer likes. What the buyer thinks about your product is more important.


When you go fishing, what do you take with you, worms or chocolate? What would fish bite? The same here. The fish doesn't give a damn that you like chocolate. She only pecks at the worm.


Dear sellers, it's time to learn: if you want to sell successfully, do not sell your pride but rather sell what the buyer wants to buy.


It would seem a banal idea. All motivational talks, books and articles say so. They say, sell the benefits rather than the features of your product. One guru even stated, “Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle”. Then, why only few people are successfully doing that?


There are several reasons for this. It's difficult to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes (“How will I eat worms?”). It’s quite impossible to separate ourselves from our emotions (“But I love chocolate!”). And most importantly, we cannot imagine the “big picture” (“What would the fish gain by eating worms, not chocolate?”).


Look at your product or service ad and ask yourself:


  • What product is offered?

  • What distinguishes my product from others?

  • Who is the consumer?

  • What could this customer gain?

  • Why does this consumer need that?

  • What is the customer's benefit?


Answer these questions honestly, and then re-read your ad again. Could the inquisitive buyer find there all the answers? What could the buyer find in this advertisement, your pride in yourself and your achievements or concern for her / his interests?

| Marketing Message | Where do the benefits come from?

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