Question: Why do people buy quarter-inch inch drill bits? Answer: Because they want to make quarter-inch holes.
Here is a big clue for how to sell. And it’s not a new idea.
You already know that don’t buy things just to buy things. Rather, you buy food because you’re hungry. You buy boots because you want warm, dry feet. You buy investments because you want to have the important things in your golden years.
So if you’re looking for a clue as to:
- How to sell food;
- How to sell boots; or
- How to sell investments …
You don’t have look any further than yourself.
Not only do you buy to take care of your basic needs, but you also buy to add more zest to your life. That’s why advertisements for Apple’s products aren’t about the products themselves but are about enjoying life. Ads for shampoo are about finding romance. Ads for cars are about thrills and freedom.
In each case, ad agencies have taken a product and found a connection where using the product leads to a happy experience. In every ad, a solution is being sold.
So: What solution do you provide?
When prospective customers decide to buy from you, what problem are they trying to solve?
Simple selling: Your “aha” moment
It’s usually a major lightning bolt for an entrepreneur when she realizes that she is not selling a thing, she is selling a solution to a problem.
For example, take fire extinguishers. The fire extinguisher manufacturer could go about saying, “Wouldn’t you like to have a nice canister filled with powder and nitrogen? And it’s available in red!” But they don’t. They know that they are selling a solution: They don’t call them “pressurized nitrogen canisters.” They call them “fire extinguishers,” “Pressurized canister” is what is being made, but “fire extinguisher” is the solution that is selling.
When you buy a new piece of equipment, or software, what customer problem does it solve? Simple selling sees this as a perfect opportunity to tell your customers about how you can make their lives easier.
How to sell a good feeling
Selling a solution is all over marketing in the for-profit sector. But it gets harder to think about being someone’s solution if you’re a charitable foundation going after donors — very few people got up today and said: “I need to give away some money.” Tax deductions are certainly a factor that help seal the deal. But it’s rarely the main reason that people donate.
The savvy marketer for the non-profit organization knows that people have all kinds of needs, and the need for a deal on their taxes is only one of several urges.
People have needs that they’ll state publicly. And they have the needs they keep only to themselves. Most donors say that the appearance of their name on a donor wall means very little to them. Don’t believe it; people have a thirst for public recognition.
People are looking for solutions to all kinds of needs: stated, unstated, and secret. Survival needs and zest needs. If you are in the business of selling a product, get out of that business now. Start simple selling. Get into the business of selling a solution.