The better way to sell online

When it comes to selling, vision is key

I came across a great quote the other day – “people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves”. Reading it made me realize a key thing: we’re not just selling people benefits, we’re selling them dream lives.

I’ve spoken in previous articles about the importance of highlighting product and service benefits over features (no one really cares about the chip size, they just want to know how many pictures they can take), but the better version idea takes it to the next level: beyond simply addressing what our products can do for a person, we ought to promote what kind of person our products will transform the buyer into.

I couldn’t find out who the quote was originally attributed to (it’s appeared in various versions across various medias over the years) but it highlights a key point.

So many of us focus on ourselves and our own visions when it comes to creating and selling products and services. We think about what impact we want our businesses to have on our own lives; freeing us from bosses, caring for our children, maybe doing some social good. But many of us quickly lose focus on the most important player: the customer.

Story is everything.

There’s another quote I’d like to draw attention to here, from Donald Miller’s book Building a Story Brand. It goes like this: “Never assume people will understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.”

I was recently consulting for a client, and while doing a user experience audit of their website I realized why they were failing to convert the customers they were hoping for. They wanted to break out of their niche, broaden their audience and gain a larger foothold in their local community.

But when I went onto their website, that message was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, there was the usual jargon, the photos of their existing clientele base, and the assumption that anyone visiting the website would already be familiar with the product. They lacked story, clarity, and cohesiveness.

Take the time to sit down and examine whether you’re actually clearly communicating your goals with your audience: let them know exactly what you’re going to do to help them live the life they want to. Don’t assume they know anything: you’ve got to meet them half, or even three quarters, of the way.

I came across a great quote the other day – "people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves". Reading it made me realize a key thing: we’re not just selling people benefits, we’re selling them dream lives.

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Identify a problem, and fix it

If you’re not solving a problem, you’re not going to be essential for anyone. It’s much easier to sell painkillers to a person with a headache than it is to sell vitamins to someone who’s already glowing,

If you’re not essential, it’s so much more important to know exactly how you can help your customer go the extra mile, why they need to, and how you can make the difference. If you’re essential (like the painkiller), chances are you’ve got competition: so stay focused and customer-centric at all times.

Your goal here is to add value, and to help your customer on their journey to their best self. Keep this in mind, and make it a focal point of your business vision. Even if you’re selling toenail clippers, remember who your customer is and what they might want from life. Help them reach their aspirations as much as you can, and they’ll remember you when it comes to buying again.

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Which products have made the most impact in your life, and why?

Lena Klein

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