Entrepreneurial Selling

Don't Sell the Product!

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

If you want to sell a saw should you try to sell a saw? Or should you sell the idea that the client has a piece of wood that needs cutting?

Sometimes the product's use is more appealing than the product itself, for example:

"Hello Customer, the new re-fangled ScissorSaw is constructed from uber-strong electroplated galvanized metal compounds triple-strengthened with 18,000 iron rods… "

Yawn, yawn, yawn. Bored already? Of course you are. Reading about the attributes of a saw isn't fun. Not under any circumstances. And if you're using that overly descriptive technique to sell saws then chances are you're not selling many.

So what's going wrong? Basically, you've lost the customer at hello!

The mistake you're making is that you're trying to sell the product by describing the product. You'd think it makes sense to describe the product in detail. But it doesn't. Here's why:

What you need to sell is what the product can do. And to do this you have to look at what your customers' needs might be.

Remember, people don't generally go about thinking, I would like a saw. They only consider needing a saw when they have something that needs sawing. Even when they make the decision to buy a saw, they are unlikely to make their decisions based on what the saw is made of. What they want to know is what the saw does.

Present the problem:

  • The shelves that need cutting to size
  • The fencing job that is long overdue
  • The doll's house that needs finishing

Sell the solution:

  • Tell the client how easily the ScissorSaw is to use.
  • Tell them how quickly they can have the job done.
  • The product's light and simple to use. Tell them then!

Show not tell:

Use video media to 'show' how efficient the ScissorSaw is. When you do this, there's no need to go on endlessly about what the saw is made of, you'll start to bore people again.

Yes, you will need to include all the details at some point, but this has little to do with selling and more to do with adhering to any trade's descriptions acts or the laws that state ingredients or components must be listed clearly. But that's small print and has little/nothing to do with selling.

The saw here is just an example, selling the solution works with all kinds of products and services.

To recap the main points again:

  • Trigger people's needs. If they need a hole, you can sell them a drill. If they want different color walls, you can sell them paint and so on.
  • Product descriptions are necessary but not at the stage when you are indentifying need/problems and offering to fulfill needs or solve problems.
  • Demonstrate how your product can solve problems or fulfill wishes. Do this by showing and giving examples. Use video media or even faction stories that people can relate to. Show them so they can see. Visual media is powerful stuff and it lends itself particularly well if showing is a necessary part of your marketing. Action speak louder than words in this instance, or at least they speak clearer.

The new re-fangled ScissorSaw may well be constructed from uber-strong electroplated galvanized metal compounds triple-strengthened with 18,000 iron rods… but, is that too much information in the first instance? Yes!

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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