Understand What You Really Sell and You’ll Sell More

How to know what you sell

Understand What You Really Sell and You’ll Sell More

It’s easy to start a business and become obsessed with the product. The business takes most of our waking hours. We fall in love with our product. We can’t stop talking about it. We think we’ve got the best answer of anyone in our marketplace.

But we’re not really selling a product.

Our customers don’t really want our products. Although they might not be able to articulate it, these folks buy our work for a deeper reason.

In a minute I’ll explain what people really buy.

Once you understand what you really sell, you’ll sell a lot more and your marketing efforts will be a lot easier. We hate to be sold, but we love to buy. When you know what you sell, the buying process becomes easy for the customer.


We Buy the End Result

We don’t buy your shoes. We buy the way we feel when we wear them. We buy the attention we get from people in our tribe. We buy what your product does, we don’t buy your product.

There’s an old marketing slogan, “We don’t buy the drill bits we buy the hole.”

Your customer doesn’t want the product. She wants the solution, the feeling, the lifestyle, the peace, the status, the added health, the productivity, or the extra money your product delivers.

If you don’t want to build a commodity business, where all you can do is compete on price, it’s time to focus on the reason your customer buys from you.

It’s time to understand what we sell.


Your  Customer Isn’t as Excited as You

You might be in love with your product, but if you fail to sell the end-result your customer won’t be convinced she needs your product. Your customer isn’t as excited as you.

How do you get her excited?

You re-frame your offer. Focus your product in terms of what it does for the customer. What problem do you solve? How do you transform your customer’s life from where she is now to where she wants to be?

This doesn’t mean you ignore how your product looks, or your skip all the features.

Instead, you channel those things you find exciting and aim them in a beneficial way to the customer. How does your product improve her life? What problem do you solve better than anyone in your space?


Understand Your Why

When you know why you do the thing you do, why you sell it, you uncover your reason for being. Simon Sinek teaches us that we should start with why. We need to understand our reason for being before we can offer our work to customers.

When you know why it’s easier to tell the others.

What does your business stand for? Why are you here? We need you to understand your why, so you can help make a decision.

Part of the reason we buy, is to add to the people we are inside. Our buying decisions are a reflection of what we stand for. If I don’t know what you stand for, it’s hard for me to make a buying decision.

Unless you sell a commodity like toilet paper, we need to know your why.


Become the Only One

When you understand what you sell and why you sell it, it’s easy to become the only choice. When we’re the only choice we have the tollbooth position in our marketplace.

When you’ve got the tollbooth position you no longer compete on price.

If you’re the only game in town and your audience is desperate for the solution you offer, you can charge a premium price. To become the only one, we focus on the real reasons your customer buys your product.

Stop selling the thing. Sell the why instead.


We Buy with Emotions

We make buying decisions with our emotions and validate those decisions later, with logic. If you present your offer in the wrong order, starting with logic, you’ll have a hard time converting people into customers.

What story does your product tell?

How can you reach your customer on a gut level?

This is the visceral place we make decisions. Emotions come from the gut. There’s no logic-ing your way out of it. We might buy a product because our grandmother always did. Even though the product is ten times more-expensive than the generic version.

The emotional buying reasons tell a story.

We tell this story in our marketing, our ads, our content, our social media, and on the homepage of our website. Emotions grab us by the collar. Emotions disrupt our logical thinking.

  • We want to be healthier
  • We want to be safer
  • We want to make more money
  • We want to look better
  • We want more freedom
  • We want less anxiety
  • We want escape

None of these things are your actual product.

These are the emotional rewards and triggers of your product. We buy what your product does. We don’t ever buy your product.


We Use Emotional Marketing

Once we know what we really sell and why we sell it, we can build our marketing through an emotional window.

Instead of selling one more calendar app, we tell the story of a five-year-old’s first piano recital. We write about how her parents almost missed the show, but the calendar app, with its proprietary alarm, saved this priceless moment.

We don’t sell the calendar. We sell the result.

If we want to engage our work on an emotional level we start with a compelling story. We paint the before picture. This is the current world, the world without your product in it.

We then agitate the problem.

We explain what will happen if the reader doesn’t buy your product. We future-pace and show how things will end if the reader continues, life as is.

Finally, we present the alternative.

We show a new world–a better place. We paint the image of what the current life will be like with your product as the solution. When you do this type of storytelling it’s easier for the reader to place your product in her life.

She can feel the better life. She understands what will happen if she doesn’t take action to change it. You have framed your product in a way she understands. We don’t sell the product. We sell what the product does.


We are Wired for Stories

When we sell on the emotional level, with story, we meet the customer at the decision point. Stories are easy to remember. Lists of facts are not.

We remember stories after a single telling.

We can share a story with someone else. We don’t share lists of facts. We share what your product does for us, not your product itself.

When you speak about your brand you have to help the reader understand how you’ll help her survive and thrive. According to the book Building s Story Brand, by Donald Miller, these are the only reason we buy anything.

When we tell a great story based on survival or thriving, we instantly earn a slot in her emotions.

Once we develop a story for our brand we can later add all the facts and figures. We still need those too. Our readers want to feel like they’ve made the right decision.

But, before we get to the place where we justify our purchase, we must decide to purchase first.

What we think our customers hear and what they actually hear, are two different things. Stop trying to sell your product and start selling the end-result you deliver. Tell the story of your brand in a way that helps the reader survive and thrive.


Stop the Clutter

Uncover your why. What’s the one thing you want your reader to remember about your work? When someone lands on your content will she understand the outcome she gets from your work?

Instead of cramming fifty pounds of garbage in a five pound bag, eliminate all the noise, save for the bare-minimum to tell your story.

In a couple seconds we will choose to stay or go.

If you want us to stay, you’ve got to grab us. We need to know the hero of our story. We need to know our life will improve (and we believe it will improve) with your product in it.

When you use the customer as the hero of her own story, you explain the result she’ll get if she buys your product, and you make it easy to buy–you’ll earn more in less time.

There’s so much noise in the marketplace.

Everyone creates more content to grab your attention for a few seconds. But none of that content matters if we can’t put ourselves in the room with your product.

We don’t want to be yelled at or fleeced into selling. We want a guide, not someone shoving-us towards the ATM. If you can show us how we are the hero of our own story and your product will help elevate us, or reach our goals, we’ll buy.


Make it Easy to Buy

Whether you have a payment plan, a free trial, or a low price, you must make it easy to buy your product.

Remove any remorse we might face later.

Offer a great guarantee and a powerful return policy.

When the entire message and sales process sits in the customer’s favor, she can see how the product fits in her life, what your product actually does, and a simple way to get the product into her life.

This is how we sell more, by understanding what we sell.


Tap here for August’s free, Tribe 1K list-building masterclass. Get your first 1,000 subscribers (or your next 1,000)

August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor

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