Very few companies know what they really sell. Yeah, I know how this sounds. Like I am the one that is clueless. Restaurants think they sell food, amusement parks think they sell fun, CPA’s think they sell tax advice, tax filings and consulting services, and marketers think they sell lead generation, branding, or some other marketing function. They are all wrong.

  • A restaurant sells romance, taste bud euphoria, a place to reinforce relationships. Food just happens to be the way that happens.
  • Amusement parks sell adrenaline, and family and friend time. Thrilling rides is what brings all that together.
  • CPA’s sell peace of mind, stress-free tax returns, time savings, bigger refunds/smaller tax liability etc. Accounting is what makes those things happen.
  • Marketers sell profitability, growth, prospects of being acquired,  ability to fund other departments, and more.

When your prospects first set out to buy what you have to sell, they are not even thinking about your company or even the tangible products or service you provide. They have a problem or desire and first look at what set of solutions satisfy solving the problem or desire.

For example, at the end of each spring as the school year comes to a close, moms nationwide begin the search for “How do I keep my kids busy during summer.” Summer camps, YMCA, sports, church retreats, summer school, jobs, water park memberships and more all fall on the list of possible solutions. In this case, multiple solutions can be chosen. Once the solution has been identified, then solution providers are sought after.

This is when your industry become aware that what you think you sell, is being bought. If you host a summer camp, you think you compete with other summer youth camps. While this is true, you may not also realize that before that, you also compete with theme parks, community rec centers, athletic teams, trampolines, and computer gaming.

A smart marketer who works for a summer camp does not see them in the youth camp industry. They see themselves in the “What do I do with my kids during summer” industry. This change of mindset does three things:

  1. Helps your company stand out as solution, not just a solution provider. When you are solution, people come to you first and see you as a trustworthy advisor. This cuts down costs on marketing and advertising.
  2. Buyer confidence is higher because you connect at a deeper level of what people are really buying. You are no longer a transactional provider.
  3. You become better at getting word of mouth business. A mom reading a friends social media request for good recreation center programs, knows that her friend is really looking for the best options to keep kids busy. One who bought from you might say something like, “I am not sure what our rec center does, but I put my kids in Sir-Laughs-A-Lot Comedy Camp for Kids and they loved every minute of it, I recommend it.”

When you compete on solution you attract a wider net of people, before they enter the buying phase that creates a crowded costly environment for you.

So if you want to attract leads before they start talking to those who offer the same solution as you, start talking about what people are really buying. You may find that there are four main things people buy. These would now become your four main marketing messages. Own those messages. Create a content strategy around them, reinforce with social ads and PR, reflect it in your website and every piece of communication you put out.

We did this once with an insurance agency. They were buying leads from an online lead source. When they called us, they were complaining that the leads were no good. We had nothing to do with who they were buying leads from, but we disagreed with the agency. If people were filling out lead forms on the Internet, it meant only one thing: they had no idea how to find an agency that met their real needs, so they resorted to price. This agency was never going to win on price.

So we created an automatic email campaign that went out whenever a new lead came in. The email that went to the online shopper read something like this, “Thanks for inquiring about insurance prices. Before I get back to you, I want to let you know we will not be the cheapest bid you get. It’s a fact and I know it. So if that is the only thing important to you, do not take my call. But, if you also value having confidence that you have all the coverage you need and personalized attention when you need it – then by all means, do take my call. In fact, the number one reason I retain 98% of my clients is because…(we talked about what people really wanted out of an insurance agency). I look forward to talking to you soon.”

Guess what, they went from converting less than 5% of the leads to clients to converting 40% of the leads to clients. Awesome, right! That’s a big deal. The leads were good. The messaging was not.

When messaging reflects what your buyers need to see, hear, feel, know and experience, everything changes for the better.

So what are you waiting for? Right now go and identify what people are REALLY buying, then change your messaging to reflect it. Good luck and let me know how it goes for you.