SIMPLE SALES SERIES
It’s No Good if It Doesn’t Sell
We don’t decide what is a great product or service. Customers and clients do. If we what we do well is what our customers value, it will sell. In my publishing job, I said this over and over . . .
It’s not a good book, if it doesn’t sell — at a profit.
Customers decide whether our offer is better than any alternative. They let us know by how they vote with their money. Our job is to make an offer they find attractive, knowing full well that we cannot coax or coerce them to behave.
The Recipe for a Product Offering that Sells
While I was publishing, I spent a great deal of time talking to customers who used my products and to customers who did not.
Most marketers would recommend that you find out how folks are using your “stuff,” what they like, what they don’t, what they wish for, and what other “stuff” they like just as much or better. They would suggest that you especially find out why folks who aren’t using your “stuff,” aren’t using it. I did all that — but only about 10% of the time.
The other 90% of the time we talked about THEM, not about my “stuff.”
That’s how I got to my recipe for a product that sells. It’s the recipe I used when driving the strategy of the company we turned around.
- Talk to your ideal customers about
- what wish they had more time to do.
- what they wish they could learn.
- what they wish someone would invent.
- what problem they would love to get off their mind or off their desks.
Listen actively to understand the outcome they prize. Find the patterns in what they say.
- Build a product or service that does one thing well — in less time. If you bundle more than one need, do it carefully. Less is more. Simple is elegant.
- Design the product or service to match customers’ sensibilities. Make it beautiful and functional, and a reflection of what they value. Adding “quality” they can’t see or don’t want is adding cost they don’t want.
- Price the offer at what the work is worth — what you need to make a profit and what it saves the customer.
- Test what you plan by asking customers who know you, who don’t know you, and who are notoriously on the opposite side of the fence.
Every bit of the development is about how the features of the product or service benefits the customer. Add to “How are WE doing?” the additional question “What drives YOU crazy?”
How do you find customer needs customers that aren’t being met? Are you your own customer? How might you use that in your favor?
I’m really interested in informal ways we get customers to talk about their experiences.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Is your business stuck? Check out the Start-up Strategy Package. Work with Liz!!
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.
Carl Coddington says
It’s important the people give their product or product description time to sell. I feel people change things too quickly because they aren’t seeing results.
I have found that it takes about 9 months for any type of marketing plan to fully take effect.
I see people change their plans daily.
ME Strauss says
That’s a really good point. People don’t give a product time to breathe or get noticed. Products need a champion. I agree that 9 months is what it usually took for what I knew in my market too. 🙂
Really liked the post. I plan on using it next Sunday on the Helpful Reads Post, if you don’t mind.
But, I’ve been reading you for about 2 years and I can’t figure out what the 4.1 means.
Is that part of a Series? Category? Day of the Week? 😉
ME Strauss says
Thank you. I’m glad to see you here commenting again.
The 4.1 means that in this series “Inside-Out Thinking” I’m on what I think of as the first post of the fourth major section. 🙂
It’s also important to design the product to be optimally matched to the bulk of the customers.
When interviewing customers they will all identify the core features they need and every customer will add his/hers specific features. This is what I call the ‘long tail’ of features.
Features in the long tail have to be treated with caution, while each of them may solve a small problem for a small group of users, it may also complicate the overall experience and lower the overall level of the product.
What I wrote here is true for software, but I can it can be applied to any product and service
ME Strauss says
along the same line, most customers won’t add much visionary thinking — they will add what they know they need about what you already have. They will say they need more of the same, but they are unlikely to brainstorm something new.
That is why I don’t concentrate on talking about what I already have. But instead, spend time asking about theire pains and their wishes unrelated to what I offer already. 🙂
I Love It! And you are absolutely on-point. I enjoy spending time talking to and listening to my customers talk about their lives, their dreams, and their greatest frustrations.
To be an effective business, sales person, author, or anything else, you’ve really got to take the time to understand your target audience’s story.
And it’s even better if you wrap what you learn into a product or service that makes them go absolutely crazy because you found a way to make their lives a lot less stressed and a lot more productive and fulfilled.
ME Strauss says
Yes, I agree. It’s all about them, their lives, their dreams, their pains, wins, and losses.
If we can put ourselves in their minds and lives, we can see what they need. That’s how we serve the people who love what we do. 🙂
Yep, we sure agree.