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We’re often so involved with the products we sell that when talking to prospective customers we don’t address their problems and solve them with the solution we’re selling. We focus on the product itself, and then wonder why the customer is not jumping at the opportunity…

When Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s iPod twenty years ago, he didn’t talk about storage capacity, processor speed, or any of the technical details. What he said was, “With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go.”

The company focused on simplicity of use and on battery life: no more juggling tapes as capacity was many thousands of songs (“your entire music collection”), while 10 hours of continuous play was something of a revolution in 2001.

This was the genius of Apple with most of its product introductions – the iPhone and the iPad, like the iPod, established new categories for devices and pushed Apple to become the world’s most valuable company.

But the same goes for most successful brands – they focus on the problem they solve, not the technical details. This is how some of the top German and Italian car companies can command such a premium for their products. In these cases, they’re selling status symbols – the products are not intrinsically that much better (in fact, looking at motor vehicle breakdown statistics, many cheaper brands are far more reliable), but they make the owners feel good. They’re selling a dream.

And, of course, we see the same thing with other products – wine / champagne, perfume, clothing, and so much more.

The secret to success is identifying your ideal customersreally understanding who they are and drawing, in effect, a picture of your ideal customer in great detail. This will also enable you to avoid wasting money marketing to people who do not fit your profile.

You can then start to understand the pain points, or problems, they are experiencing and how your product can alleviate these. Show how your product addresses these and highlight the differences between your product and the competition, doing so in a quantifiable way wherever possible.

For example, if customer service is a problem for many of your customers (it generally is one of the pain points), get specific. Domino’s, for example, overcame the pain of slow delivery and cold food back in 1984 by offering the pizza for free if it was not delivered in 30 minutes. This was dropped about 10 years later, but by then quick food delivery had become commonplace.  

And, of course, if you can highlight how your product produces a real return on investment, that’s an ideal point to make. It might be that you know your ideal customer could suffer sales losses of millions of Rands (or Dollars, or..) a day if their systems are not available, but your cloud solution guarantees no more than 5 minutes of unavailability a year (the ‘five 9s’ 99.999% availability guarantee) for a small fraction of that potential cost.

By identifying your customers and understanding their concerns or pain points, targeting these customers and then addressing these issues directly, you’re selling the problem you solve, rather than the product, and this will mean considerably more success in your sales efforts, at a much lower cost.

 

#BusinessFitness #Customers #Focus #ICA #Marketing #Product #Sales #Solutions #Strengths #QOTW

 

Some of my other posts around customers and selling which you might be interested to read: