What is it you’re selling?

What is it you’re selling?

One of the struggles that entrepreneurs and many others seem to have is the answer to the simple question, “What is it you’re selling?”

In a major marketing text, McGraw-Hill Publications starts a chapter out with these telling words:

I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now–what was it you wanted to sell me?

The reality is that you are selling yourself first, followed by your service or product, followed by your company or organization.

As far as selling yourself, the cornerstone is that people must like you to purchase from you. It is very unlikely that, given the choice between buying from someone they like and someone they don’t, a buyer will select the person they don’t like. The key
is to get the buyer to like you, and that is done by finding out about them, as quickly as you can. Your buyers are just like you–complex, interesting, hardworking, personable and friendly. They are worth getting to know!

Harvey MacKay’s book “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” provides some great examples of how an individual can overcome many perceived obstacles and learn a great deal about a potential or current customer. This book is an excellent
investment that you should make at any stage of your life.

The second area to tackle is to define the product that you are selling. It might be you, as a job seeker, a person wanting a promotion within an organization, a consultant selling services, or someone marketing a service or a product. Ask yourself this
question when defining your offering: What problem do I solve by providing this good or service? You may have to fine-tune your offering as you discover the various kinds of problems buyers are seeking to solve.

Focus on benefits when you sell. What benefit will you bring to the buyer when he or she has purchased your service, hired you, promoted you, or is using your product? In the competitive marketplace that we all operate in, you can no longer afford to
say, “Here I am, here is my offering, take it or leave it.”

A third method in this process of defining your offering is to take a somewhat more radical approach. Tony Robbins, the great motivator, understands that “we will do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.” Give some thought to how your
offering will help the decision-maker to avoid pain. Do some simple research to determine what kind of pain your potential buyers have, and then work to clarify what you offer to remove the pain both now and in the future.

A third area to focus is on your personal reputation. This comes from having good work habits, dressing the part, returning telephone calls, being on time (if not early) and prepared for all meetings, being professional with all that you encounter, and by
going the extra mile for your customers, internal or external.

Each of us recognizes the reputation that large, well-known firms have. Take an organization that you respect and write down the specific things that you enjoy about that reputation. Ask yourself if there isn’t something that you can do to make your own firm a little more like the firm you admire. Is there a policy that they have that might be adopted by your company? Is the quality they have superior, and if so, what can you do to upgrade or change the quality that your organization provides?

It has been argued that one individual cannot change the reputation of a company. That argument is countered by the fact that when you are communicating with a customer, you are the company, and by acting as if that customer could solely decide your professional fate, you can change or maintain a reputation that an organization has based on how you deal with that customer.

Increasing sales has been determined in a national poll to be the number one concern of business managers and business owners all across America. Knocking on doors or making telephone calls may get you an appointment, but as you can see, there is a lot
more to answering “What is it you’re selling?” How ready are you to answer the eight statements made at the beginning of this article?

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