No One Cares About Your Product

As if the amount of ads we see isn't’ enough, most business owners still haven’t learned not to shove their product down people’s throats…

How come no one cares about what you’re selling?

Every time I attend an industry-related meeting or conference, asking businesses and salespeople about what they do, they (without fail) keep going on about the products and services they sell. Ok, fine — I can’t say I never asked for it.

Then again, approaching these same people from any other angle yields the same answer: “Check out this cool thing that you really need!” This time around, it’s not what I’m necessarily looking for, and neither are their customers, I’m sure.

I suppose it’s human nature to believe that the most important subject matter in the world is your product. I understand that running a business is no walk in the park. Once growth opportunities have been exhausted businesses need to seize every opportunity to drive sales.

Herein lies the problem. Customers and businesses are not on the same page. The customer is thinking about their dog at home. The business owner wants you to buy his product stat. What’s wrong with this picture?

1. Exchange something of value

For example, if you run a SaaS business you know how long an average paid subscriber remains a customer. If you run a store, you may have a POS record or a different way of tracking repeat customers. You want an email address or a medium to build a relationship with them.

In the example above, the retailer is offering a discount in exchange for an email. The retailer is betting on the fact that you’ll become an active subscriber who will over time increase their revenue far past that $10 they initially give you. The profit gained is therefore well worth the expense of running the coupon.

Similarly, people loves getting things for free, and retailers love to give them away (but only if it makes money, of course). By providing a free or heavily discounted product you not only bring attention to your brand. Your audience becomes a potential customer base that’s now much more likely to convert.

2. When in doubt, there is no doubt

Other times, it’s best to focus on that status quo, and that is listening to your existing customers and focusing on product updates.

A well-publicized event happened during the iPhone 6 launch in Australia. No, it didn’t involve people getting trampled. A young man by the name of Jack Cooksey dropped the first iPhone 6 sold in Perth on live TV, promptly picking it up, dusting the screen and declaring “all good”.

Not surprisingly, the video went viral for the next couple of days. After it’s been shared on social media and communities, news outlets picket it up. When the dust settled it ended up being a huge PR success for Apple (as well as Mr. Cooksey) since the phone did not break and continued working.

Would the story get nearly as much attention if an Apple exec dropped the phone under a controlled environment? Probably not — Accidents happen to everyone. They make readers feel emotional, sympathetic, and (inadvertently) aware of your brand.

In conclusion…

Next time you think you have a great chance to pitch your product, stop. Chances are that person doesn’t want to be force-fed advertisements any more than the next guy. People know about you and your product. They will buy whatever they want, whenever they’re ready, whether from you or your competitors.

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