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Stop Selling Your Product, Start Selling Your Solution

You have “the best, the fastest, the greatest” product or service…we know – we’ve heard it before.

Truth is, if we don’t like one single feature of your product or service – we simply click to the next company offering the same thing. Because you led with selling the features and benefits – that’s what we subconsciously start looking for. Whereas, if you led with your solution – we automatically start thinking about it how it would make our lives easier. While it’s important that we share the “features and benefits” of our product and/or services. It should not be ‘top of funnel’ content. In the B2B space, ‘top of funnel’ content should be focused on the solution or the result…of the “features and benefits.” Let me further explain.

This concept is based around the late Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt’s Marketing Myopia, essay. At a high-level, the concept is quite simple and the easiest way to sum it up is in his own words: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” Meaning, we shouldn’t run Google Ad campaigns or LinkedIn ads that are designed to showcase the F&B of a product to drive traffic back to a landing page where we ask for all of their information.

Instead, create a 1:30 video of one of your customers talking about how your product helped change X, Y, and Z. Post that video to LinkedIn with some targeted ad spend behind it, driving traffic back to a landing page that further drives home the solution your product offers (this is where the features and benefits come in handy). A good example of this is Pigott. They are an interior design firm helping companies transform their workplace culture. When you open their website, the first thing that pops up is a well-produced video of a happy customer talking about how it changed their work environment, for the better.

As sales and marketing folks – we tend to become impatient. We are innate hunters and simply “want to get the job done.” But many buyers sense this ‘hunter mentality,’ and it can quickly turn them off. They are often looking for more of a ‘guide’ (think Donald Miller/Building a StoryBrand). They are looking for someone to help them understand their problem while offering potential solutions – sometimes free solutions – sometimes we offer solutions that don’t even involve our product or service. But in the true paradoxical fashion of the universe, the ‘guide’ is the one who ends up winning in this scenario.

I have sold to both small businesses with but a handful of employees and large organizations with hundreds of employees and the same is true for both. They are more apt to buy from someone they trust.

Trust is built over time with the consistent message of “we’re here to help you with XYZ.” And it’s important that we retain this message with scale. As we grow – we often feel more pressure to “gather leads and drive sales.” In this scenario, it becomes easy to just throw content out there justifying it with low CPC and “building brand awareness.” All the while knowing that the leads we are gaining are simply people who were searching for our specific product, at that specific time. Meaning they happened to perform a Google search and your name popped up. And we know that as soon as something new and shiny comes along – we will lose them to the next guy. Therefore, consistently creating content around your core brand message will garner more qualified leads while driving the customer lifetime value. This is what creates true fans. They love your work and they resonate with your message.

“We don’t need to please the masses – just the few who believe what we believe.”

This is the message we should be selling.

I will be the first to admit – with our agency, UnderDog Social, we will be the first to refer potential clients to other agencies. We want to work with those who resonate with our message – we want to work with those who want to do something different than “what’s always been done.” This is obviously within respect to familiarity – meaning, there is a reason most CTA buttons are in contrasting luminance with the rest of the web page. It’s what the user expects to see when they come to your site and are more apt to click on it because they know that’s what they’re looking for. But when it comes to your message – the last thing you want is to be ‘familiar.’ If you’re too familiar with your message – you fail to stand out and again, you lose the sale to the next “new and shiny.”

We will also refer leads to other agencies if we don’t believe we’ll be a good fit. In our context, we have a few general rules of the types of companies we want to work with. For example, we choose to work with companies who have an amazing internal culture – after all, our goal is to showcase you, the real you – to the world. And buyers know happy employees = a better customer experience.

The point is – we are not looking to please the masses. Only the few who resonate – this has relieved a ton of stress and pressure to drive leads. And it’s worth saying twice…as marketers we must remember that we are looking for those who believe what we believe and that’s it!

Show your potential buyer what the buying process looks like. Make it easy for them. Work to reduce the 'hassle factor' and sell the solution!

**I try my best to speak to what I know, and I know very little of the D2C/B2C space. While I believe I have a solid understanding of people, my background is B2B. Therefore, I will only say with confidence that I understand people at a “selling to an executive” level. So, I only wrote this from a point of view to which I understand and sharing an opinion with which I am confident in standing by. **

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