You’re not selling a product. You’re selling a solution

As an entrepreneur, you’re excited about the product you’re building. That’s good — but your customer doesn’t care. They just want their itch scratched, their pain relieved, and their problems solved.

Over the last few days, I’ve had three extremely similar conversations with three entrepreneurial friends of mine. One was about a crowdfunding campaign. One was about a book blurb. One was about a new product page for a soon-to-launch product. What struck me was how incredibly similar the three conversations were: There was a serious disconnect between what the customers need and what the entrepreneurs want to talk about.

Photo by Alex Molick

Your customer doesn’t care about you.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble, where the things that are important to you become your entire world. That’s sensible and natural. Maybe you care about app installs. Perhaps you care about how your product makes you feel. You’ve worked so hard on making sure the specifications of your product good, that suddenly the specifications are the product.

That’s hogwash. You want to know why? Your customer doesn’t give a crap about you. Not in an active, hateful way. More in a well, why should they care kind of way.

Your customer will give you their hard-earned money because they have a problem they need to solve, or an aspiration they want to fulfill. If you help them solve that problem, or if you help them reach their dreams, they will give you money.

What’s in it for them?

What you’re selling isn’t a product. It’s a solution. Put very simply:

Even if the MD-E3 Mobile Dongle is your product, that’s not what you’re selling… The ability to take photos like the one on the right… THAT is your product.

To some of your customers, specifications and details are going to be important, of course, so you’ll need that on your page, too. But most people don’t buy products based on specification.

People buy products based on how it makes them feel, what they think they can accomplish with them, or a real problem it solves.

So that’s what you sell to them.

You don’t sell a camera by saying it can shoot video at 25,600 ISO. You sell it by telling people you can shoot video by moonlight:

You don’t sell a car by saying it has great gas mileage. That is a feature. What you sell, is saving money, saving time, and spending less time at gas stations.

You don’t sell an iPhone by saying it has a 12-megapixel camera. You sell it by showing off what awesome photos you can take with the device you’re probably carrying around with you anyway:

Shot on iPhone: Fantastic iPhone apps, but there’s no iPhone in sight. Apple knows that people don’t care about specs — they care about results.

You don’t sell a ticket to a music festival by explaining how pretty the tickets are or how many bands are coming. This is what you’re selling:

This is why people go to music festivals: They are buying experiences and happiness.

Sell the solution.

Readers don’t care that you spent 8 years writing a book. Crowdfunding backers don’t care that you really need their help. Shoppers don’t care that your photography solution has 18, 20, or 22 megapixels. Those are things you care about. But it doesn’t matter: You’re not the one buying the product. Your customers are.

Your readers care about being moved, entertained, enlightened. Your crowdfunding backers care about how they feel for being part of the experience from the beginning and about the rewards they get at the end. Your buyers want to believe that by buying your product, they can take better photos, shoot better video, be more creative, and make more money.

Don’t sell your product. Sell the solution. It’ll do your sales a world of good.


Haje (@Haje) is the Director of Portfolio at Bolt, a pre-seed and seed VC firm investing at the intersection of hardware and software.