5 simple marketing truths I was reminded of when selling my first car

When you move across the Atlantic, there’s a lot of life organisation to do. The most recent task was selling my beloved car, a little Renault Megane called Ron.

It was incredibly easy — we sold him to the first people who enquired, at asking price, less than 24 hours after the advertisement went up. At first, this made me think that both my husband and I should consider careers as car salesmen. Then I realised that we had adhered rigidly to some very basic marketing principles, and that it had worked a dream.

  1. Be passionate about your product.

This is easy when you’re selling the car that your dad taught you to drive in, the car that protected you from wind, snow and fire (that may be an exaggeration). It’s harder when you’re selling your company or client’s product. However, it is vital. You need to know your product inside out, but beyond that, you need to love it. The buyers may have thought I was slightly potty when talking about Ron as if he were a cherished pet but hey, it worked.

2. Combine facts and stories.

Advertising usually falls into one of two categories: rational or emotional, head or heart. Combine the two successfully, and you’re golden.

My husband and I did this unintentionally, in a horribly sexist way. During the test drive, he was chatting about facts, figures and gadgetry, whilst I regaled our prospective buyers with tales of our adventures with Ron.

I don’t think even Shakespeare could have spun a yarn to sell this

3. Anticipate your audience’s concerns.

If you don’t have an established relationship with your audience, they may assume you’re trying to rip them off. Imagine all of the problems your product could be hiding, and reassure them that it is not the case, ideally with some sort of proof.

4. Who is doing the selling is as important as what is being sold. Aka, brand matters.

This is more relevant with a direct, person-to-person sale, but it applies to brands as well. If consumers don’t trust the brand, they’re unlikely to buy the product no matter how great it seems. We accidentally created a great brand by having cleaned our flat and cooked pancakes that morning. When they came in to check paperwork, the impression we gave was of responsible adults who knew how to look after things.

If all shops smelled like pancakes, the world would be a better place

5. Higher prices can be appealing.

It may be counterintuitive, but a higher price can make your product stand out. We priced Ron at about 10% higher than similar cars. Not just for kicks, but to reflect the fact that we had taken meticulous care of him and that, despite being 7 years old (they grow up so fast), he was as good as new. A higher price shows that you believe your product to be superior, and most people are happy to spend that little bit more on quality.

In the words of another great Ron, Mr Swanson: end of post.