One of the hardest things in marketing and sales is knowing how to sell must have vs nice to have.
Here’s a mini story for ya’ll.
I’m someone that’s super passionate about digital health and healthcare. A while back I tried to build a startup in the mental health space that would allow companies to request mental health therapist to their workplace as an employee perk.
Well…that startup didn’t do too well. Matter of fact I failed.
I did a ton of cold emailing to CEOs and most of them would respond with, “Not interested. It’s not a must have right now.”
From that day on, I studied and learned the difference between a must-have solution vs a nice to have solution.
Let’s talk about what’s considered a must have:
A must-have product is something essential to the customer’s life or business. A computer is a must-have product in our everyday lives.
For most consumers, a mobile phone is a must-have product.
For a taxi driver, a reliable taxi is a must-have product.
I think you get it..
A nice-to-have product is something the consumer might enjoy but does not need.
It is a luxury, a frill.
Collectibles are a nice-to-have product.
Subscriptions to consumer magazines, membership in a book or record club and jewelry are all nice-to-have products.
You can sell nice-to-have
Does this mean that it is impossible to sell something that is nice-to-have?
Absolutely not. Matter of fact, you can turn ANY nice-to-have product into a must have by selling its benefits.
Let’s take a look at an example that we’re all familiar with – Apple Ipods
Apple understood the appeal of outcomes when they released the first iPod. MP3 players were nothing new, and the technology trounced CDs.
The problem was marketing; the right pitch hadn’t been made to explain just how much better customers’ lives were going to be once they owned an iPod.
So this became a nice to have and not a must have.
The picture below explains Apple’s approach quite well:
Storage for 1gb of MP3s vs 1000 songs in your pocket..
Which one sounds better? You get it..
Gigs of data have nothing to do with me, but a pocket full of my favorite songs certainly does.
Stop focusing on yourself and start thinking from the ideal customer’s shoes. What will benefit them? It’s not all about me, me, and me.
There’s a natural inclination for copywriters to want to talk about their own success and craft.
But remember, customers generally won’t care about the cogs that make your product turn.
A benefit that you offer that the competition doesn’t is a unique benefit and a competitive advantage.
Creating an advantage that’s difficult to duplicate is the ultimate competitive advantage.
A benefit is a competitive advantage when it:
- Gets the attention of prospects
- Sells your product or service
- Keeps customers coming back
- Causes prospects to talk about your product to other potential buyers
- Stands out in terms of competition
A feature is a factual statement about a product or service. Factual statements aren’t why customers buy; benefits are.
Many factual statements are often referred to as benefits:
- Self-cleaning oven
- 200-CD jukebox
- One-click buying on Amazon
- Live operator on duty 24/7
- 125-page owner’s manual included
- In business since 1910
- We have the biggest widget maker
- Made with 100 percent recycled product
The latest and greatest equipment means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature translates into lower costs, quicker delivery or something else of value. Being established 100 years ago means nothing to a prospective buyer unless that feature can be translated into a benefit of reliability and a guarantee of being in business in the future.
Now let’s translate the factual feature statements above into benefits:
- Time savings
- Easy access
- Quicker answers
- Immediate access to information
- Fewer resources required
Benefits sell. Benefits clearly answer the customer questions “What’s in it for me?” or “What results will I get that will improve my current situation?” or “Will it make me healthier, wealthier or wiser?”
So what did I learn from my experience?
The key takeaway from my learnings is that you can reword your product/service’s description and highlight the key points that make your product/service stand out in order to close the deal.
I also learned that it doesn’t matter if the product is only a nice to have. You can still sell it. Write down a list of the benefits and re-word them based on the key points mentioned above.
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