Entrepreneurs are a diverse group of people, from a ton of different professional background.
Not everyone who starts a small business is a salesperson by profession.
Maybe you're a developer, or a blogger, or something else entirely.
But when you're not sure how to approach sales — at a higher-up, abstract, “bird's eye view” kind of level
You might find that for all of the passion and expertise you've put into your product or service, you're just not making enough sales to get by.
Take a good, hard look at just about any successful brand. It can be anything. B2B service companies, streetwear brands, weight loss systems, whatever.
They all have something in common.
They're not just selling a service or a product. They're selling the reason, value, and utility behind that product.
They're selling the “why,” not the “what.”
The intuitive thing to do is to focus on what your product or service is, and what it does.
That doesn't sell.
What sells is the “why.” Why should someone buy your product or service?
What need does it meet? What problem does it solve?
Sometimes, the “why” is something pretty concrete, like bringing in new clients or customers with a content marketing strategy.
Sometimes it's a little more abstract and conceptual. You see that kind of thing with lifestyle brands, apparel, weight loss, and things like that.
Either way, if you want to sell, you need to put the “why” front and center. A recent article from Entrepreneur explains the reasoning behind this approach.
You gotta love entrepreneurs.
All their passion and excitement around the innovative new products they are building.
And, they love talking about their products with others, detailing every feature and functionality of their offering. They are laser-focused on getting others to love their products as much as they do.
But then they realize, sales are not coming in.
They question how can that possibly be, given how great our product is?
It’s about that time I usually need to tell them, their customers don’t really care about the product itself (e.g., the “What”), they care much more about how it can improve their business (e.g., the “Why”).
The sooner you learn to ditch focusing on the “What” and start focusing on the “Why” to get their attention, the sooner your sales will start to accelerate.
For most customers, the things they truly care about are:
(i) how will this help me drive more revenues;
(ii) how will this help me lower my costs;
or (iii) how will this improve my user experience (e.g., where users can either be their customers or their employees).
Sure, there are other things, but these are the big ones.
And the bigger you can economically illustrate the impact of your product or service to helping them achieve one of the above three goals, the more attention they will give it (e.g., a 10% boost will resonate a lot better than a 1% boost).
If you are pitching a revenue lift to their business, first you need to research what their current revenues are, and ideate ways on how your business can help them grow their revenues (where a minimum lift of 5-10% should get their attention).
If you are pitching a cost savings rationale, you need to estimate how big their current costs are, and how your product can help them lower those costs by at least 5-10%, where costs savings on their biggest expense line items will get more attention (e.g., help them maximize their overall margins and cash flow).
In both scenarios, you don’t want to price your product or service any higher than 10-20% of the overall revenue lift, or the overall cost savings estimated (e.g., a gross gain of 10%, may only net them 8-9% after they pay your fees).
Again, the bigger the lift, and the more of the lift they keep for themselves (vs. paying it to you), the better it will be for them.
You can learn more about the deeper, more abstract psychological elements of selling over at Forbes.