Random fact, the other day I was waiting for my husband to come out of the shops. I was sitting there enjoying the winter sun and doing what we all do…people watch.

Anyway, as I was sitting there, I saw this car pull in, a clapped out car with spiderwebs, dirt, and believe it or not, a business sticker front and centre.

Did that business owner realise the perception I now have of their business?

If they don’t have time to look after their car, the thing they use as part of their business, how will they look after me?

An interesting question for sure.

 

Years ago, when I first began building my first business, Nurse Power, I gave little thought to selling, I just assumed, everyone would see how great my business concept was, and would just buy it.

Now, as I sat there musing over the business parked next to me, it got me thinking, what are we selling, when I first kicked off my first business ‘Nurse Power, I literally thought I could build it and the people would come.

Classic!

This could not be further from the truth, we are all always selling in business.

It could be an idea, a concept, a product, a service, even carrot sticks to the seven-year-old, who won’t eat anything that resembles a vegetable.

The non-salesy sales process…one I wanted nothing to do with, or thought I would have to participate in.

Oh, what a mistake that one was.

Whether you are selling offline or online, it can be a tricky process.

It’s trying to work out what people want and need, and what they will buy.

 

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

As a general rule, most people could not care less about your product or service.

They care about what is in it for them, they care about what it is going to do for them.

Take the fitness industry.  You are a PT, your clients are not that interested in your qualifications, or your boot camp, they are interested in how they are going to look and feel after sessions of exercise they do.

They want the rewards of looking and feeling great, of all that comes with having a super lean, super amazing physique.

It’s NOT about losing weight, it’s about wearing the clothes they want, having confidence…the payoff of working their butts off.

Why you need to have a clear and focused picture of what you are really selling.

 

In his famous paper ‘Business Myopia’, Theodore Levitt certainly understood this concept in 1960.  Although a number of his statements are no longer as valid or relevant, there are many which are.

Levitt wrote about industries going into decline, and how it was not the changes in the industry that were the problem, rather the management of change.

Rather than being in the railroad business, if the focus by management had been on being in the transportation business, the result may have been quite different.

Levitt stated that imagination and innovation are the essential ingredients to ongoing growth and sustainability for any business.

Fast forward well over 50 years, how is this relevant today?

Simple.

Go beyond the product or service, look for what people want, how they want to feel, ask yourself what business are you in? What are you really selling?

Your product is not what you are selling.

Your service is not what you are selling.

What do your customers say about you?

This is where imagination and innovation are the keys to making more money, being on brand, with a focus on the right thing to continue to grow and evolve in a frenetic environment.

 

APPLE

Take Apple, an experiential experience to say the least.

I have purchased a number of Apple products over the years, and the ones purchased at an Apple store are a standout.

You start at the front of the store, greeted by an Apple representative, complete with their Apple t-shirt, their lanyard filled with cool little tools, to their personable style, who actually care about you, not just a sale.

You then go to your product section of choice, for me it was the Mac Book Pros…I was then provided with valuable information about the models, the

friendly staff member asking lots of questions about my business, and what I am going to use the machine for, and then steering me to the most appropriate machine.

I make my choice,

I am then handed over to a third staff member, the transaction is made, they go out the back, and I am left waiting with anticipation at the work station near the back of the store.

The box is brought over, the fourth friendly staff member, complete with t-shirt, lanyard and a friendly smile helps me open the box, turn it on, set it up for me, and gives me a quick walk around the basics of my new laptop.

Browsers are set up; I am good to go…ready for work when I get home.

The art of experiential shopping at it’s best.

Was it worth the 2 ½ hour drive to the Apple store? Damn straight it was!

Apple is a product, they sell technology.

But what are they really selling?

 

DISNEY

Take Disney, it’s a theme park, with rides.  What an understatement.

We had the pleasure of visiting a few Disneyland’s both in Hong Kong and Paris.

The Disney experience starts with the Disney train taking you over to the theme park, starting with Disney seats, to the Mickey Mouse shaped windows.

The excitement builds as you walk thru beautiful gardens, fountains and walkways, Disney topiary, and plantings in abundance.

 

 

And the experience goes on and on…when you look into your kid’s faces, as they run from ride to ride when they meet Woody for a photo and fairy floss on a stick, a dream come true.

Disney is for families, a memory to last a lifetime, an experience for everyone.

The price of entry and the outrageous price of food fades, when you look at the fireworks display over the magic Disney castle, the kids Disneyed out after a 12 hour day!

Disney sells dreams!

It’s not about the action, it’s about the meaning.

 

HOW TO APPLY THIS TO BUSINESS

One

Define the business you are in.

Take a few moments to really think about what you are selling?

What does your product or service provide your customer?

 

Two

What do your customers want, how do they want to feel, what is the experience they desire?

Knowing who your ideal client or niche is, is paramount to your marketing and sales success.

What do they dream of?

Think of the PT and how their ideal client wants confidence, courage, and to reap the rewards of having an amazing physique.

 

Three

Take the information you have gathered and written down from points one and two.

Allocate time to give your Facebook page, your social channels, your website and your store or premise, a health check against what you are really selling.

Check your images are on brand, check the copy and make sure it is written to your customer and not about you.

Perhaps you need to change the layout of your pages, rather than have a page full of product, or information about what ‘you do’…make it about the experiential experience you provide.

Think of Apple… the price is the price, it’s about what you are able to do with their product, and how it makes you feel.

Wishing you a great week,

PS: Not sure if you have seen our monthly magazine ‘The Business Owner’s Collective’, here is a quick video to share what it is all about, make sure you subscribe to get the magazine sent directly to your inbox each month.

It’s our way of supporting local business without advertising, selling or a pitch.

 

References:

Levitt, Theodore, 1960, ‘Marketing Myopia’, Harvard Business Review.  Copyright © 1960 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.