Back when in-person events were possible, I knew I wanted a new dress for an upcoming event. I wasn’t going to walk out of the boutique without it. The manager came over to me and asked me about the event. I described its formality. I described all the people I was excited to see there. I described how excited I was to have a night out with my husband. I shopped for what I thought I wanted as she also pulled a few for me to try. I’ll never forget the floor length gown she held up to me because it now resides in my closet. She said, “You’ll feel so sophisticated in this. Simple elegance.”
She sold me the dress without ever mentioning the dress itself. Instead, she sold me my feelings and desired experience. Who doesn’t want to be sophisticated and elegant? She’ll make it far in sales and marketing.
Unlike the talented saleswoman I mentioned above, we often fall into the trap of selling the wrong thing– and by that I mean we sell our product and forget about our offer. I’ll explain…
Just as I knew wanted to purchase a dress before I walked out of the boutique, our ideal customers already know they want to buy something from us. However, we ruin it in the close because we focus on the product they already know they want instead of the offer it brings with it. Your job is not to tell your ideal customer what they already know, it’s to make them feel comfortable moving toward what they already know… and that lies in selling the offer.
The tightrope walk graphic included here is an illustration of this. Who gets on a tightrope and doesn’t want to make it to the other side (the product)? Absolutely no one. But… who chickens out before they start walking on it? Most people. These people who desperately want to walk the tightrope but are too scared to step out do not need you to sell them on how great the other side (your product) is—again, they know that and want that. They need you to make them feel comfortable stepping out. They need a net. They need your offer.
Here’s an easy and fun five-minute activity for you: Grab a piece of paper and write down the main things you sell (if you’re a nonprofit, write down why you ask for donations or volunteers). Then, next to those products, write the offer. Are you selling your takeout meals? Great—don’t sell them on the food, sell them on the experience they will have eating it with their loved ones. Are you selling virtual events or classes? Great—don’t sell them on the details of the event or classes, sell them on the convenience and how this event or virtual learning experience will change their lives. Are you trying to get them to volunteer for a trash pickup day? Don’t sell them on how clean they will make the neighborhood— sell them on how good they will feel contributing to something bigger than themselves.
Every car salesman knows you want the car when you walk on the lot… but the closers know you want the experience. They sell you the offer, not the product.
Don’t let your ideal customers walk off the lot.