What are you really selling?

2013-11-02T16:45:00Z What are you really selling?Larry Galler Times Business Columnist nwitimes.com
November 02, 2013 4:45 pm  • 

The late Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics, was quoted as saying, "In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope."

In thinking about it, maybe the question I asked in the headline should be changed to: “What are your customers really buying?”

In the case of Revlon Cosmetics, its customers are buying the hope their purchase will make them more glamorous, attractive, alluring, confident and stylish. Lest you think I am picking on women, consider the fact that few people ever want to purchase 1/4-inch drills. What they really want is 1/4-inch holes; not the drill that produces them.

So look at your offerings with a goal of understanding the underlying need or desire on the part of your buying public. Consider what they really want to buy instead of what you think you are selling. You might even ask them, “why are you shopping for this?”

When you have enough answers you should be able to then craft a message more in line with their need or desire and that message should better appeal to them in terms of their emotional or practical needs.

The attorney sells a will or trust, but the client wants to buy security and a method of transferring assets at death.

The heating/air-conditioning contractor sells furnaces, air conditioning units and services them, but the client wants to buy efficient, reliable comfort.

The florist sells artistically arranged flowers but the customer is buying a message (or a representation) of love, congratulations or sympathy.

In many cases, once you know what your clients really want to buy, your marketing, advertising and sales presentations can hone in on their needs and desires in terms they will emotionally connect with. And when you’ve created that emotional connection, your message will resonate when compared to those who are just selling lipstick, drills, wills, furnaces and flowers.

Discover their real need to position your company’s products and services to meet those needs. See whether you can create a more powerful emotional connection.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Larry Galler, of Larry Galler & Associates, is a marketing and management consultant for small and mid-size companies. Get Galler’s new free special report,  “Six Steps to Creating Your Culture of Excellence.” Send an email to larry@larrygaller.com and put “Excellence” in the subject line.

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