At the core, all successful businesses sell some combination of money, status, power, love, knowledge, protection, pleasure, and excitement. The more clearly you articulate how your product satisfies one or more of these drives, the more attractive your offer will become.

Josh Kaufman absolutely nailed it with the quote above taken from his excellent book The Personal MBA. It’s so important to understand between the lines the needs of your customers and explicitly show them how buying what you’re selling will meet a need or solve a problem in one of these areas.

People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to problems.

That last sentence is so fundamental, I’m gonna let it sit there in a paragraph of its own! Nobody buys anything just for the sake of having it – they’re looking for some sort of physical or metaphysical return on their investment.

For a single product there may be quite different needs/desires to meet between different customers – that’s great – now you know that your pitch needs to be different for each of them! Look at the quintessential salesperson, the used car dealer – to them the same car could be any number of things – “safe and reliable”, “top of the range”, “lovely colour”, “nippy in the corners”, “roomy in the back” – depending on their assessment of who the customer is. It may even be all of the above when selling to mum, dad and the kids!

So work it out, know which of these underlying things your selling when you’re selling and make sure your potential customer knows why your product offers them more in these areas than someone else’s.

Here are a few examples of where different sectors fit into this model. Try to identify which fit with your own business.

Money – financial services, advertising, coupons
Status – fashion, luxury goods
Power – headhunters, political fundraising!
Love – dating, deodorants, cars, gyms, trashy magazines!
Knowledge – consultancy,
Protection – insurance, safety features
Pleasure – games, hobbies, ice cream
Excitement – theme parks, gadgets, dating

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