(As published in the Sunday Star Times, April 12, 2015: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/small-business/67674979/business-lessons-from-a-man-and-his-mattress)
A simple lesson on how to sell… and how to win a showdown with your wife.
A friend of mine hated his mattress. He’d had it for about 15 years and thought it was about time that he got a new and improved one. He’d seen some pretty fancy ones advertised on TV and was convinced it would be his answer to an amazing night’s sleep. In recent years he’d been waking slightly tight and achey – it was either age or the mattress, he surmised, and the mattress was the only thing in that equation that he could change.
(How funny that when you’re young you wake up all sprightly and refreshed and better than you went to bed, yet as you get older you often wake up feeling worse, with a body that feels tired and sore!)
But his wife wouldn’t hear a word of it. “The mattress is totally fine,” she reassured him. She said it was the perfect level of firmness for their liking and pointed out that she slept soundly all night, every night. She was concerned that they’d choose the wrong one if they bought a new one and their sleep would suffer.
“If it ain’t broke, why fix it,” she said.
So my friend left it. He didn’t really want to be shopping alone for a mattress, plus happy wife = happy life, right?
And then one day he got home from work and his wife said, “I’ve been looking at new mattresses”.
What?! Why the fast turnaround?
“Mum was here today,” she started. “I’m not sure how we got onto the topic but she said our old mattress was probably no good for my dust allergy. So we should get a new one.”
And voila, there lies the lesson.
When selling a product or service or idea or concept to your customers, don’t go at it from your point of view. That’s not going to connect with them.
Always go at it from their point of view. Find out what “pain” it will solve for them. For my friend’s wife, the age of the mattress, the comfort and the ability to sleep on it were all irrelevant. But once she discovered it was possibly playing havoc with her allergies, which she really struggles with, it was a done deal.
Don’t sell the attributes of your product or service, sell what pains they’ll solve for your customer. Connect with what they struggle with, make your product or service a solution and you’re more than halfway there.
I find that so many businesses do not realise all of the “good stuff” that their products do and cater to.
It is like they and their products and the good impact that their products can have are the best kept secret in the world. The funny thing is that sometimes companies are not even sure of all the great benefits of their product.
We do not take the time out to smell the roses, as in to ask our customers why do you like using our product?
The words and feedback that you get about why people like using your product is really valuable as you can use it for testimonials, on sales collateral and as part of your sales pitch. Asking the simple question of what is the best thing from your personal perspective about our product can be a million dollar question potentially.
It will usually be about solving some pain point that they have, and then you are sometimes not even selling, they are amping at the bit to be a customer and get on board with your product knowing the potential impact your product can have on them personally or their business.
If you need help figuring out what pain points your business solves for customers or how to get that message across powerfully in your marketing, get in touch for some business coaching and strategy work: firstname.lastname@example.org
Very useful illustration of something we know but always need to practice. Thanks Zac.