Do you want to know the secret to selling?
It’s quite simple and it all comes from changing your perspective. Forget what you think you know about your industry.
Your product is unique.
It doesn’t matter if you own a lawn mowing service, a yoga studio, or a financial services company. Whatever industry you’re in, there is a way to ensure your product flies off the shelf or your services are constantly in demand.
There could even be hundreds of identical businesses contributing to the challenges you face. All of them are selling the same thing you are. But with this secret you’ll always be at the front of the pack. You could be selling takeaway coffee on a street filled with cafes, and still come out on top.
It’s not about:
- The quality of your product
- Or even the price at which you offer it
With a shift in perspective, your business can become one of a kind in the eyes of your customers. Once you reach this point it doesn’t matter how much you cost, or how good your product is. You become irreplaceable. And I’ll show you how with a real life case study.
Let’s take Fiji water as an example.
As an unorthodox shaped bottle that costs triple the price of a bottle of generic spring water, it shouldn’t be a successful product on paper. Both competing products are water, both essential for all consumers, so those same consumers drink it as a necessity. Again, on paper the lowest price and the most convenient access should dictate sales, right?
Fiji Water has grown to become one of the most recognised international brands in a highly competitive bottled water market with a valuation above US $35 billion. Let’s break down why…
When you’re holding that quality bottle of Fiji water, you can feel the quality of the bottle in your hand. The same applies to the taste in your mouth. With the crispness of the label, the rich colours of the classic Fiji water flower and the instantly recognisable bottle shape, you’re holding a product that stands out. That’s not all. Fiji Water is loud and proud when it comes to their eco-friendly choices.
- Reducing their packaging
- Investing in rainforest renewal
- Reducing carbon emissions
So not only are you holding a product that exudes quality, but more importantly, you are holding the most valuable intangible a business can create.
Why does your story matter?
It all comes down to the story you tell your customers. Then the story they tell themselves when they interact with your business. Here’s the value of a story in the simplest form…
Pour some Fiji water into a cup, and some generic spring water into another identical cup. Have someone hand one to you while you’re not looking, and see if you can tell them apart. Really, go try it yourself and see if you can tell them apart. It doesn’t matter that it tastes identical.
The truth is, Fiji water makes you feel good when you drink it, it makes you feel good when you buy it, and it makes you feel good when you hold it. You feel like you’re part of an exotic island experience with each sip. We buy experiences, the stories behind the product, and the way this all makes us feel.
“Better” is a subjective concept. It’s all a construct. A myth.
It’s all about perceived value. In 2019, people buy whatever they want. They buy the clothes they like, the food they like, and the technology they like. How important is it really that you have the latest smartphone? What actual benefit do you get from having a slightly better camera and resolution, that you can’t even tell apart from the old?
But it makes you feel good. That’s how you make your products or services stand out. You don’t make them see what it does to your customer’s life. You make them feel what it does.
The Starbucks method
Too many businesses try to be everything — fast, good value, delicious, easy and so on. Instead, target a specific audience and find out what they think is the most important.
Look at Starbucks, they don’t have the tastiest coffee or even the cheapest. But they have a nice atmosphere, a place you can go to relax and enjoy a nice cappuccino, cold brew, frappuccino or whatever you want. Because the customers they are targeting, they all value this.
The result? 28,218 stores worldwide and a value of over $30 billion.
Decide what to focus on
You know your business can stand out by focusing on what actually matters to your audience.
But how do you find out what’s valuable to them? Start by asking yourself this…
- “What do they REALLY want?”
- “What is their ultimate goal?”
- “What is the main benefit of buying your product or service?”
Let’s use Blockbuster as an example. Their customers wanted convenience, they didn’t want to go to the cinema to watch a movie or spend $30 on a DVD they’re only going to watch once. But somewhere along the line, Blockbuster stopped asking themselves this and lost touch with their customer’s desires. This is where Netflix first swooped in and took advantage.
They were renting out movies and TV shows, just like Blockbuster. But they listened to their customer’s desires and made themselves stand out. They provided a delivery service. With 148 million streaming subscribers worldwide, the rest is history.
So far we’ve discussed positioning. You now know the value of understanding what your customers truly want and the importance of making them feel your products as much as you should showcase your price, quality and so on. Now it’s time to get into the good stuff. It’s time to learn how to make your audience love you and have them running to their friends and family telling them about you.
How to tell stories
In the words of Seth Godin, entrepreneur and marketing guru…
“There are no small stories. Only small marketers”.
Let’s look back at the story of Fiji water. According to their website their water is:
- ”bottled at the source, untouched by man”
- “filtered by volcanic rock”
- “over 1,600 miles from the nearest continent”.
Why have they created this unique and memorable story about their brand? Because it stands out.
It doesn’t affect the taste of the water at all. But it enhances the experience of the customer, and the way they feel. Knowing that every bottle has gone on a journey from the stunning South-Pacific to the shelves of your local supermarket brings you into the story.
And you become a part of it too.
The secret to selling any product
Remember, your business has a story. Which means, in addition to having guides for your style and tone, you should adopt a storytelling style too. Let’s say you’re running a fictional local lawn mowing company, ‘Blades of Glory’.
Your story could be how every blade of grass is inspected after cutting with an antique ruler passed down from your lawn mowing father and his lawn mowing father before him to ensure there are zero uneven patches. It’s true that a quick once over, a good quality lawnmower, and perhaps going over the grass again at a different angle will have the same result. But that’s not how you’ll stand out in a crowded industry.
Saying you go over the lawn a few times at different angles, doesn’t make your customer feel something. Telling them a story and highlighting something they value is what makes you stand out. This is what sets you apart and what will start bringing you more sales.
If they like the way you make them feel they will buy from you
Remember. it’s not enough that your product or service makes your customer feel good. YOU need to make them feel good.
Imagine a cute little kid in his scouts outfit, beaming with enthusiasm, puffing out his little chest and showing off his shiny new badge. He runs up to you with his little backpack bobbing up and down with him — “Would you like to buy some cookies sir?” he asks.
I don’t need cookies. I don’t even like them…
But yes I am going to buy some cookies!
Now imagine some kid dragging his feet along, he comes up to you while chewing gum loudly and says “hey, buy these cookies”.
How do each of these people make you feel, and who are you more likely to buy from? It’s not the product that will make you stand out, but the story you create around it.
How to sell your product today
If you want your business to survive in a sea of identical businesses you need to make your business stand out.
According to SEO copywriter and storyteller Michael May, it’s not always possible to innovate your product or service, and that’s why you need to change your perspective instead.
He explains, “you can focus on, and emphasise the features your customers value (even if your competitors offer the same). You can tell stories that make your reader feel good and enhance the experience they get from your product or service. And you can make yourself or your brand more likeable, and make your audience happy to buy from you. It’s a simple 3 step approach that will reward you in the long run.”
Doing these things set you apart, brings you more customers, and doesn’t cost you much at all.
With a fresh perspective, and a new story that captures your product or service perfectly, you’ll be better placed to charge what you want, attract more customers, and position yourself for lasting success.
So, what story are you going to start telling your customers?