Quite Often the Person Who Buys is Not the Sole Benefactor of Your Product

“Selling Past the Customer” is a concept that is almost impossible to quantify, and yet when you sell beyond your customers it can create a significant benefit in the minds of the purchasers or of the buying committees. It is an advanced Relevance Marketing technique.

The idea is that the people buying from you have their own customers, clients, constituents, family members or friends who will also benefit from the purchase by your direct customer.

Selling Past Your Customer

Let’s look at real examples of selling past your prospect. (I’ll use selling products in my examples, but this applies to services as well.)

A B2C Example - If you sell kitchen appliances, you see people enter your store with the idea of buying the most inexpensive refrigerator, stove, etc. that meets their needs. To sell a more costly model, you need to help your customer envision the rest of the family enjoying the more advanced features on the higher priced units.

A B2B example - If you call on maintenance managers in a factory, don’t just sell them the specifics of why they will benefit from working with you. Also sell the concept that they will have happier operations and production departments because of the reduced down time.

A More Detailed Illustration of This Concept:

There are a huge number of companies that sell complex and heavy equipment that needs to be repaired in place and not carried into the service department. These companies need field service forces that are difficult to manage efficiently. The goal is that these field service departments would be profit centers, not a cost of doing business.

Here is a list of service related assets such companies needs to manage:

Spare parts in the service department
Spare parts stocked in the repair vehicles
Repair personnel in the field
Advisory repair specialists in the service department
Skill sets for each repair person
Service life, maintenance and fuel usage of the repair vehicles
Details of any existing service contracts

I make no claims that this is a complete list but these should be the major factors in most situations.

Now, if you sold field service management software you could make a quantifiable ROI based on reduced parts inventory, increased efficiencies of the repair techs in the field, reduced mileage on the repair vehicles, and etc.

However, if the decision makers for the service department can imagine their customers being delighted because equipment is fixed faster and more often done right the first time, then the decision makers for the software acquisition will understand and believe in a cost justification that is powerful yet subjective.

“Mr. Service Manager, try to imagine a client of your department calling in to tell your president just how wonderful it is that your repair reps arrive much faster and their equipment is back in service much quicker.”

Simplistically expressed, but when that occurs, the ROI for field service management software is greatly enhanced.

More Thoughts on B2B and B2C Selling Beyond the Client

Almost all Business-2-Business purchases are made to help the buying customers eventually sell something to their customers. This idea of “selling past your customer” should be considered at all milestones in every sales campaign in B2B. It is very important to remember this concept whenever you ask questions and when you are presenting any primary benefits messages.

In Business-2-Consumer there are two common places where selling past your customers rarely works, and they are at opposite ends of the purchase pricing spectrum. 1) On lower priced consumer products buyers rarely think beyond their own use or consumption. 2) On very high end, luxury products such as $100,000+ cars and $20,000+ wrist watches, the buyers who can afford such lavish items hardly ever care about how others will benefit from their purchase – envy, yes; benefit, no. After all, no one needs a $69,500.00 Patek Philippe Nautilus watch. They just want one.

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Selling Past Your Customer requires critical thinking on your part, careful questioning, and a bit of imagination to develop how to present such ideas. However, this concept can be an important factor to tip the purchasing decision in your direction.

I have used face-to-face selling as my over all method to explain this concept. However, this approach can be applied to all efforts at being relevant in your marketing. It can enhance direct mail if you have a well-defined customer database, and you can use it on web pages that are segmented by user types. And the places for application do not end there.

 

Related Articles

The 1st 7 Seconds Rule for Demonstrations”

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Ted Vinzani is a marketing, business development, and sales consultant who advises, speaks, and writes on Relevance Marketing.

Follow Ted’s Monday through Friday marketing/sales/social media stream on Twitter at@TedVinzani.

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Is there anyone out there that really likes the pharmaceutical commercials we see on television these days? Do you want to take one of the pills described for your ailment when you learn that it might lead to horrendous consequences? Can you relate to taking a treatment that could cause a rash leading to death for an illness that has nothing to do with your skin?

I am not endorsing any product, pharmaceutical or over-the-counter medication mentioned. I am discussing clever television advertising.

tricalm_homepage

An over-the-counter anti-itch treatment, Tricalm, is taking a different approach – using humor and making fun of scientific explanations to gather audience attention and make appealing and clear statements about its features and benefits. Relevance by way of shared disdain for overly intellectual drug related pontifications on television.

Regarding commercials that must comply with regulations

By law if a prescription drug ad mentions an ailment the ad has to list the possible side affects. Logically no one likes to hear such “truth in advertising,” but these commercials are on the rise, not decline. I wrote about a company promoting a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medicine by not mentioning it is a RA medicine. Wyeth/Amgen played a commercial where they promoted a website where people with RA could go for support – therefore they did not have to list possible disconcerting side affects of their drug. I declared it a significantly more tasteful approach.

Well, the ad ran only for a short time and not only have I not seen it in years, I have not seen any similar commercials. However, there are at least several RA related ads I have noticed on TV that list all the nasty possible side affects. They have played for a good while.

I hate these commercials and I hate even more the fact that since Big Pharma continues to spend more and more $millions on them, they must be effective as advertisements.

OTC is different

Over-the-counter treatments do not have to report every possible thing that could go wrong when you feed a lab rat a shoebox full of the med a day for 10 years. So this is not a fair comparison. But Tricalm’s advertising is refreshing by making fun of the technical medical talk. Here is the ad on YouTube.

A scientist – you can tell by the lab coat and the PhD vocabulary – starts to tell us all about the technical make-up of Tricalm and how it helps us. Of course no one with less than a pre-med or chemistry degree can fathom what he’s spouting. After about two sentences, a pleasant lady walks up to him and inserts into his drivel the translation into normal people English. Not only can you understand what she is saying, she uses about one word for every twenty he uses.

She finally states, “Oooh, no steroids – itch, burns, stings, gone,” and calls to her kid so she can go move her car. The scientist is completely bamboozled and ends with, “Who was that?”

I love it. I think others will too. I’m running over my skin trying to find a reason to go buy some to try.

The TV ad sends you to their website

The website is fairly clear of the scientific, although there are obvious links to take you to “How Does It Works,” and “Is It Safe?” Also, the site clearly links visitors to where to buy, and displays the URL to the commercial on YouTube.

After going through surprisingly little of the website you get to testimonials of happy users, all written in real-people English.”

Refreshing Relevance Marketing.

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Ted Vinzani is a marketing, business development, and sales consultant who loves the role of pundit on how not to do Relevance Marketing. He tries diligently to explain how to be relevant in marketing, sales, and advertising. (It’s not that easy to do yourself.)

Follow Ted’s Monday through Friday marketing/sales/social media stream on Twitter at @Relevance.

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My First Two Sales Lessons Taught Me Everything I Needed To Know About Relating To Customers

35 years in sales and marketing

Thirty-five years ago today (1/18/13) I started my career in sales and marketing. I was a brand new sales rep and I knew little about selling or my future customers. Believe it or not I agreed to be a specialist selling factory sealing products under the mistaken idea that it was industrial shrink-wrapping equipment. It didn’t take long to figure out I’d sell products that stopped leaks in pumps, valves, etc.

Robert Daughtridge, the top rep in that sales office, gave me my first two lessons in selling – the hallmarks in my understanding of relevance in marketing and sales.

He sold general products to factories. We went to the drill bits cabinets and he grabbed a quarter inch bit and held it under my nose.

Relevance Lesson Number 1

“There are more quarter inch drill bits sold in the world than any other size. And yet, no one wants a quarter inch drill bit. They want quarter inch holes. Sell holes faster, sell a more accurate hole, sell more holes per bit purchased – but NEVER sell drill bits.”

If you apply the lesson of Holes-vs-Bits to every customer interaction you will always sell with relevance.

Relevance Lesson Number 2

Robert and I then got in his car to go to a customer of his. On the way we stopped at an office supply store and he spent a couple of buck buying me a small note binder, an alphabetic divider set, and lined paper.

“Write down the company name, address, and phone number of every account. Then write down the names and titles of everybody you meet – not just the plant engineers and maintenance supervisors, but all the mechanics and receptionists as well. Don’t just write down everything about the work they do, but write down the names of their spouses, kids, hobbies, etc.

“Everything you can do to show you’re interested in them and their work, as well as trying to be their friends, will help you sell.”

Somehow the way Robert said that sounds a whole lot more personal than the phrases Customer Relationship Management, List Management, and Social Marketing.

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Back in 1978, in the factories scattered across rural eastern North Carolina, I could arrive at a factory office unannounced, ask the names of the key people, and if I said something over the company phone that made them think I could help them, I could usually get about 60-65% of the people I chatted with to come out and talk to me for at least a few minutes right that day.

In 2013 we have to be profoundly clever with multiple voice mails to even get a return phone call from someone we’ve never met.

Today I celebrate 35 years of learning, relearning, and learning again how to get potential prospects to say to themselves:

“Wow! This guy is talking about me!”

 


Related Article

Think, Think Again, and then ReThink to Relate to Your Prospects
 


Photo Credit to baysaa

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Prospects Will Instantly Relate to Your Value Proposition – OR – You’re Doing It Wrong

Selling with the Value PropositionRelevance Marketing and Selling point to the fact that any sales or marketing message must be expressed so prospects see themselves solving their problems, reaching their goals and objectives, and enjoying the success that comes from doing so.

But you need a systematic way, a framework, a method to easily and naturally express these positive outcomes. If you have a patented exclusive capability that people are dying for then study the Unique Selling Point that will be the subject of my next post. If not, read on below.

Stand Out From the Similar with Value Propositions

In my last article I referred to a Jill Konrath article and call her the Queen of the Value Proposition. In her book, “Selling to Big Companies” she states, “A Value Proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from your products or services.”

Konrath also states, “Your offering is simply a tool. Decision makers care only about the results your offering delivers for them.”

Do you market or sell products or services that have similar competitors? This is the vast majority of business out there today, and it is tragic that few sales and marketing efforts “speak to prospects” using a Value Proposition type of message. Everyone thinks they express themselves that way but very few prospects think it.

Therefore, you can often convert prospects to clients of your company’s wares by wording everything you say around tangible results in the true language of the person you are talking to (writing for, emailing, copywriting and designing an ad for).

Let’s Use Commercial Printing As An Example

Commercial printing is a great industry that needs to sell using the Value Proposition. Printing brochures, magazines, packaging, etc. is a custom manufacturing process – every print project is different from the previous and the following projects. Before the computer revolution and what has grown out of the desktop publishing software of the late 80′s, printing was an art, practiced by amazing craftsmen, and hugely profitable for printers.

All of that has changed, and the number of commercial printers today is roughly 60% to 65% of the number in 1985.

Most print buying organizations view it as a commodity, a cost of doing business. They only buy it because it is necessary, and becoming less necessary as the internet provides more and more information print use to, to an audience increasingly wanting to view the info on screen rather than on paper. Therefore, most print purchase negotiations devolve into a price war – ergo print buyers have every reason the think print is a commodity.

To sell printing as a Value Proposition the sales rep must sell what print gives the originator of the request to buy printed material. A print buyer is a purchasing agent. All things of perceived manufacturing abilities being equal, print is bought on lowest bid. However, someone in the organization asked the buyer to make the purchase.

The originator of the print request wants to disseminate knowledge to an audience. That knowledge falls into two primary categories: 1) giving prospects reasons to buy or 2) giving existing constituents/clients more information about current situations or new info about changes.

The print sales rep must become the provider of new and more efficient ways to increase sales or better inform the audience. The solution is to present logical, tangible ways print can be a part of an overall success to the originator – and to provide as many if not all of the parts of the success as possible, above and beyond the printed pieces.

There are three primary tools to use when successfully expressing a value proposition:

  1. The Customer Testimony
  2. Pertinent Statistics
  3. Business Language of the Prospect

1) Customer Testimony – A well phrases testimony in the words of a satisfied client can really capture attention. That’s why I never let satisfied clients write there own testimonies. They always say something like, “They’re a bunch of great folks who sell us good stuff we like a lot.”

Though I have never sold printing, in my many years of selling to printers and related industries I have heard dozens of print sales reps talk about the Big 3: High Quality, Quick Service, and Competitive Prices. From the biggest to the smallest they all claim to deliver all three. With this highly competitive market they deal in, talking about being better that another printer in any of these areas will be disbelieved.

• Having a hugely well known client state that they like the quality of a certain printer’s work might, just barely MIGHT hold a little sway – probably not.

• A testimony about Medal of Honor level service could cause a print buyer to pause for a few moments, maybe….

• The second a print rep mentions pricing in any way, the best he/she can hope for is, “I’ll put your name in my bid list with 37 other printers to see how you guys do on a small project.”

Testimonies about print must be about anything but the Big 3. The originator of the print purchase request wanted to accomplish something. Discover that decision maker’s original goal and the results the printed piece accomplished and have the person give a quote about that.

I interview satisfied clients, ask a well-thought-out list of questions, record what they say and tell them at the end of the interview that I will write up what they said to help other prospects become clients as well. I tell them I’ll send them what I write up so they can be sure I didn’t miss something or incorrectly write down what they expressed. I have done this for a number of my consulting clients, and their customers have never rejected the idea. They usually want to make their testimonies as helpful as possible. (Call or email me to do this for you.)

2) Pertinent Statistics – These are comprised of Industry Statistics and Client Results Statistics. Industry statistics are great, but too often everyone is spouting the same details from the industry mouth piece. Many stats become cliche – something true but trivialized from over use. The trick is to always find fresh stats, dig down to get the data unused by your competitors and make it pertinent to the situation.

Perhaps the best print industry organization for hot facts about successful print projects is the Digital Printing Initiative – PODi.org. (They used to be referred to as the Print On Demand Initiative, hence the acronym.)

PODi’s website points to a new report by their managing partner on response rates to 1-to-1 printed marketing. The first paragraph states that “relevance can deliver over four times the response of static.” By relevance they mean personalized and variable data printing.

Great news, that’s a real number to help sell higher priced variable data digital printing. So every print sales rep runs out and tells their print buyers. The print buyer yawns politely and asks them to bid on a new project with the 37 other printers on the list. The originator of sales and marketing projects including print will probably find that fact interesting, but he/she already knows variable data printing works.

The smart print sales reps, who probably have some title like “Marketing Projects Coordinator” on their business cards, will dig down to the next-to-last paragraph and will read, “The highest response rates, as expected, are seen in the data gathering (19.1%) and loyalty (25.2%) segments.”

First off, the numbers 19.1% and 25.2% are very believable statistics. The phrase “over four times” is suspect at best – though the 4x number is not disbelieved, it is not compelling. AND the mention of using advanced personalization in loyalty programs and data gathering is a conversation with a marketing project originator, not a print buyer.

Client results statistics are the positive outcomes you helped your own clients derive from working with you. Here is where your value – YOUR VALUE – is really embedded in the mind of the prospect. And please make your stats as specific as possible.

To hitch hike on the statistics above if the printing rep had a client he/she had helped with a particular project and could report any statistics like from PODi above, those are the stats to lead with in a value proposition.

It’s not about printing, but a client of mine recently did an energy savings study that saved 5% on electricity. That number killed me – 5% dead on is not believable. We did the monitoring over several times until we could state “field tests showed electrical savings of between 4.8% and 5.2% on qualifying equipment.” Those are viable statistics.

3) Business Language of the Prospect – The final major way to make potential clients take notice of your statements, has to do with using the language of the business. This can be a green light to many for useless verbal diarrhea. It is too common for sales and marketing to use their own product knowledge and words, assuming it is the business language of the prospect. Your product’s features and benefits are NOT the language of your prospects’ businesses.

Let me repeat: Language about a product or service is NOT the business language of a prospect.

Business language in this case is the language used by each individual company, focusing on their specific needs, problems, goals, objectives and personalities in that company. Also, a business’ language is the language your prospects use when they talk to their prospects and customers.

In regards to printing, if they buy mailers for a sales campaign talk about the goals and thinking behind the campaign. Talk about the success of the Call to Action, or the demographics related to the variable data used. Discuss segmentation of their prospects. Also, talk to a prospect about their prospects succeeding when they buy your prospect’s products.

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The Value Proposition is the best tool for making yourself stand out from your competition. Even those trained to use it usually don’t. It needs to become a force of habit for your.

All you have to lose is the opportunity to NOT make the sale.

 


Related Articles

The “1st 7 Seconds Rule” for Brochures – Part 1

The “1st 7 Seconds Rule” for Brochures – Part 2

Think, Think Again, and then ReThink to Relate to Your Prospects
 


Photo Credit to PinkMoose

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Which Relevance Selling Tool Will Work Best for You: The Value Proposition or the Unique Selling Point?

 

Value Proposition vs Unique Selling Point ImageThe second hardest thing about Relevance Marketing is developing your framework to consistently express your Relevance Points in a clear manner.

(The hardest thing about relevance marketing is to figure out what it is and how it applies to your sales and marketing.)

The Value Proposition and the Unique Selling Point are probably the two most famous tools used to concisely explain why a prospect should buy, using terms relevant to the prospect. As I refer to them above you use these tools as the “framework to consistently express your Relevance Points in a clear manner.”

Let’s define these two sales concepts:

A Value Proposition is a definitive expression or statement of the concrete outcome of using your products and/or services.*

A Unique Selling Point (USP) is that aspect that differentiates a product or service from all other similar products or services.** The “uniqueness” is in some way singular, exclusive, one-of-a-kind.

(In footnotes below you’ll find the origins of the two concepts.)

If your product/service truly does have a unique, “no-one-else-has-it” capability that is a defining reason to buy from you regardless of price, then jump down to the section below on the USP. If you aren’t that lucky then keep reading into the next section.

The Value Proposition – Can You Make It Strong Enough?

In my opinion Jill Konrath is the Queen of the Value Proposition. I highly recommend her blog, books, and courses. *Jill states, “A Value Proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from your products or services.”

A Value Proposition should “shock awake” the prospects who might have been perfectly happy with their status quo products or services moments before. At the very least the prospect should begin to really pay attention to you after you give a well reasoned value proposition.

In the article linked above Konrath gives 3 primary ways or elements to develop value propositions that customers can relate to.

1) Testimony – A well phrases testimony in the words of a satisfied client can really capture attention. However, left on their own satisfied customers usually don’t express the aspects they most appreciate about your products/services in the best way you’d like them to.

In the next article I’ll post soon I’ll go into more detail about the Value Proposition including how I develop a powerful customer testimony.

2) Statistics – These are comprised of Industry Statistics and Client Results Statistics. Industry statistics are great, but too often everyone is spouting the same details from the industry mouth piece. They can become cliche – something true but trivialized from over use. The trick is to always find fresh stats, dig down to get the data unused by your competitors and make it pertinent to the situation.

Client results statistics are the positive outcomes you helped your own clients achieve by working with you. Here is where your value – YOUR VALUE – is really embedded in the mind of the prospect.

It’s extremely important to make the statistics relevant to your prospect.

3) Language – The final major way Konrath gives to make potential clients take notice of your statements, has to do with using the language of their business. This can be a green light to many for useless verbal diarrhea. It is too common for sales and marketing to use their own product knowledge and words as business language. Your product’s features and benefits are NOT the language of your prospects’ businesses.

Business language in this case is the language used by each individual company, focusing on their specific needs, problems, goals, objectives and personalities in that company.

The Unique Selling Point (USP) – Is It Possible?

Susan L. Reid wrote a concise, well reasoned article defining the Unique Selling Point** and giving a 5 Step Process to develop your own USP. She defines the USP as “that aspect that differentiates it (a product/service) from other (products/services of) similar businesses.” Her first step of developing a USP is to “List the features and benefits that are unique about your product or service.”

I see the concept of uniqueness as the problem of the USP. Uniqueness is both (1) difficult to have and (2) tough to explain to the point of purchase preference.

Uniqueness basically means “exclusive.” You have to be the only one, or only company to have an exclusive. It usually means either a patent, or a head start, or a person.

1) A patent must be defendable, and must be on a significant capability that you can make extremely important in the eyes of your prospect. If you can say, “How would you like to do __________?” and most of your prospects respond, “I’d kill to be able to do that,” then you have a patent of significance.

2) By a head start I mean coming to market with a product or service early enough that even though you don’t have a patent, you have a proven and exciting solution to a noteworthy problem at least several years before any competitor can catch you.

3) A person can be a Unique Selling Point if you can build a “cult following” around him or her. If Warren Buffett left for a new investment company tomorrow morning what would Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price be by noon? It is still almost a weekly occurrence to see an article in business or technology magazines or on websites about whether Apple will really survive the death of Steve Jobs.

Conclusion

I just love the opportunity of a Unique Selling Point. You have to map the benefits and justifications to each individual company you call on, but making your case with a solid USP is a lot of fun.

However, most marketing and selling revolves around competing with those who are similar to you. Specifically crafted Value Propositions are your foot in the door, reason to stay at the table, and tool of choice for closing the deal.

In the next couple of weeks I will post two articles, one each on these two frameworks for communicating relevance in your marketing and sales messages.

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Footnotes

The origin of the two concepts discussed here:

The Unique Selling Point (or Proposition) was posited in the early 1940′s by the legendary ad man and copywriter Rosser Reeves.

Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton created the Value Proposition during their work at Harvard.

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For Sale

We are in the process of preparing to sell our house. We’ve lived in the same place for over 18 years and there is a lot that needs updating, repairing and replacing. We are making decisions on what home improvements to make based on two factors: Market Value and Salability. Those two factors also impact decisions on how you market and even create your products and services, as we will see after I explain these basic ideas in regards to houses.

In all types of marketing, house sales and all others, any feature or improvement only adds value or increases buyer desire based on how the prospect relates to the particular feature or improvement.

Market Value – How much a house is worth in its present condition, location, and market. Much has been written about the housing market and the reduced current housing values across the country in this economy. At any one point a house has a certain value assuming someone will buy at at all.

In regards to a house, any improvement may or may not increase the market value. Remodeling a kitchen, assuming it is both tastefully and correctly done, will definitely increase the market value of a home. The problem is that $20,000 spent on remodeling a kitchen will probably only result in a $10,000 increase it its price – market value. Now, if that $20k was a quotation from a home improvement company and you have the skills to do the work yourself for $5k total money out of pocket, then you will have a return on your investment.

Salability – Attractiveness of a house in its given market to potential home buyers. A completely remodeled house will have great appeal to many types of potential buyers if done tastefully. In this market a coworker of my wife’s sold their home in less than 3 weeks and for just about their asking price.

Their home’s Salability Factors were: 1) good neighborhood, 2) good school districts, 3) a part of town that had lost less value than others and should recover value quicker, 4) a beautiful, tasteful and up-to-date interior with an excellent room layout, 5) a well maintained yard, and 6) an attractive but not overstated price point.

A house in ill repair may sell quickly to a professional or amateur home remodeler, if it is priced right.

A fixer-upper needs the following Salability Factors: 1) Agressive pricing (read–low priced), 2) that price point needs to be well below the price houses in the area are selling for AFTER future repairs are all paid, 3) a fairly decent neighborhood, 4) fairly good schools, and 5) no major structural damage unless the house is priced for a fire sale.

Let’s look at how these factors “play together” when selling a home.

• A house needs a new roof. That $10,000 let’s say, will not add a penny to the price of the home, but in this buyer’s market with way too many homes priced to sell, buyers can be picky and who wants to consider a house they’ll immediately need to re-shingle?

• The house may benefit from a remodeled kitchen, but $20k is a lot of money, and hoping to get the $10k I mentioned above still adds $10k to your asking price. Perhaps new paint, a new appliance or two, and a new designer ceiling fan will make an older kitchen decor a non-issue.

• All the houses in a major portion of the city have experienced flooding over the years. You might spend $10k having everything repaired, or you might spend $15k on the same repairs with a national company offering a life-of-the-house guarantee that the in-house-flooding won’t happen again – ever – or they will make any repairs free of charge. This additional expense creates no market value but substantially increases salability of the house in this flood plain area.

Market Value and Salability in “Regular” Marketing

Market Value – I have always preferred selling the higher priced products with the better feature set. In my first sales job I sold a replacement parts product that cost 3 to 10 times more than what the prospects were using. Customers would usually see remarkable improvements in performance and cost savings from avoiding future repairs. My $200 item replacing a $30 item could easily see $500 to $700 a year in savings and last two years or more.

The market value of this product was suspect, because this was all new and ROI was not a very well understood term at the time in this market niche. My claims seemed too good to be true. However, also at this time cost of labor and cost of replacement parts damaged by the cheaper solution came under close scrutiny. Higher ups in most of my customers realized that reduced cost of labor alone would justify my products.

My customers would try one or two of my products in their worst situations. Rather than a year or more, these bad situations would prove the cost savings in a few months, sometimes even in weeks. Soon they were buying 3-5 of my products a month. Not long after that it was a dozen or more per month and the purchase orders quite often came in without me having to do a thing.

The proven market value overcame all price objections. My competitors would say, “But ours cost less!” My customers would look at them and grin before saying, “I know but it’s way too expensive to use.”

Salability – The last physical product I dealt with – I am more into helping sell services now – was for a consulting client who I helped develop their sales model. It was a physical wellness product, and the wellness arena has few products, mostly programs to help people. Major corporations were the big prospects because in the boom days of 2002 to 2007 these companies made a lot of good press and cachet with their employees instituting wellness programs.

The physical product my client invented could be scientifically proven to reduce stress. There was a good bit of data out in the medical community stating that reducing stress would reduce specific health related costs for businesses. My clients $500 per office worker device had a rock solid ROI. Every major prospect agreed with us on that.

However, we were approaching these corporations in late 2007 and throughout 2008. The economy was accelerating down a slippery slope and all of these corporate prospects were rightly scared of the future. Also, the real innovators in wellness in big businesses were on average spending $30 to $50 bucks per employee in wellness per year – not the $500 per for this device. At this time all the executive suites were cutting costs and wellness spending was one of the first programs on the chopping blocks. At best wellness budgets were frozen in place.

The market value of this product was obvious. All circumstances around it made its salability impossible. Everyone could relate to the ROI message. No one could pay for it.

Market Value and Salability Relevance

All of the words and pictures of a sales or marketing message are just product fact gibberish unless you can help your prospects relate what you say to what’s important to them. Powerful ROIs and great capabilities are crucial only if somebody cares.

Wonderful features and benefits are absolutely essential for a viable product or service, but can your prospects say, “Wow! This sales/marketing message is talking about me and my situation!”

Related articles:

Relevance In Marketing – It Easily Eludes Us All

Deny Thy Father and Sell With Relevance

Photo credit goes to Ian Muttoo.

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Are You Ready for 2012, the Year of Social Business?

January 20, 2012

Before we look at the how you can be ready for the “Are you ready” part of this article, let’s look at the idea that 2012 is the Year of Social Business. You can only understand the “why and how” of wanting and being ready to be a social business when you understand why it […]

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SEO Second, Relevance First

November 30, 2011

Have you ever made a Google search and gone to the top picks on page 1 and been frustrated with what you found? You said to yourself, “This isn’t what I’m searching for.” You wonder what the website was thinking when doing SEO to get to that particular ranking to post that particular information. That […]

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The 1st 7 Seconds Rule for Demonstrations

November 4, 2011

Part of an ongoing series explaining how and why to capture your prospects’ attention immediately with any type of marketing or sales message you offer. In today’s ultra hectic business atmosphere you must immediately cause prospects to relate to you with the first sentences of any form of sales or marketing message – regardless of […]

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A Relevance Marketing Birthday Rant

August 26, 2011

Yesterday I hit the double nickel, 55 years old. I joked that I’d go out first thing and order a senior coffee from McDonald’s, but didn’t. Instead, I experienced one of the most important basics in Relevance Marketing — Segmentation — used in direct marketing. When you segment a mailing list — divide it up […]

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