Tuesday Morning Focal Point

Know What You are Selling








Was driving along the other day and saw this sign on the side of the road. It made me chuckle; then it made me think. All the chuckling and thinking prompted a u turn, a picture, and a blog. You see, its critical to know what you are selling and this local farmer might not be too sure.

blue-BEER-ies….. If this farmer is selling blueBERRies her target market and price point are very different than if she has discovered a new crop called blueBEERies.

What you are selling to you might be one thing, but to your customers and your target market, what you are selling is something different.

Selling the solution

You see, its not the product you are selling, but rather you are selling how your product solves a problem your customer has.  To be successful selling your product or service, you need to educate your target market on what problem they have that you are solving.

If you don’t know the problem you are solving; its time to find out. Do some research and ask questions. Reach out to your current customers, why do they love your product, how has it fit in to their lives? Understand the solution it has offered them.

Next, reach out to the potential customers that didn’t accept your proposal, or didn’t buy your wares when they had the opportunity to. Find out what held them back from making the purchase.

This brings to mind how Febreze was almost a flop. A chemist had discovered a product that absorbed most odours. Febreze was born. The initial marketing efforts included how this product took away bad smells. But the return on this advertising was not as beneficial as it should have been for such a revolutionary product. The reason for the lack of sales was that the consumer didn’t want to admit that they have bad smells in their home. Febreze took a new approach to their advertising. Revamped ads featured an individual cleaning their home / room and the reward for their hard work was a few sprays of Febreze. The icing on the cake. The cherry on the top. The solution this product offered its customer was a pleasant smelling reward for cleaning their home. Sales sky rocketed.

Its quite likely that the product or service you are passionate about and built your business around is incredible, therefore communicate that to your customers by showcasing your product as their much needed solution.

Selling to the right customer

Identify who your ideal customer is. So you can fully communicate what problem of theirs you are selling. Ask a lot of questions to learn what makes your customer tick and what makes them frustrated. Do you know what they value as reward? Do your market assessment and identify who your target customer is.

My personal trainer was adding boot camps to her product line up this summer. Her graphic designer suggested a tag line of “need to work out, but hate the gym?” for her media ads. The personal trainer knew this was all wrong, her target market liked the gym, so she wasn’t selling a solution to avoid it. She also knew that her target market appreciates the outdoors and healthy living, so she had the graphic designer rephrase the ad to say “fun, outdoor, summertime fitness”. This is a great example of a business woman knowing who she was selling to.

Marketing that missed the mark on selling smart

Know what you are selling graphicSelling smart

If your sales levels are not where you want them to be, its likely one part of your solution to reaching your sales target is shifting your marketing efforts. Position your product as a solution to a problem. If you educate your customer on how you are going to alleviate a frustration they have you will watch your sales grow.


Shanalisa is a CPA, business consultant, and advisor to small business executives; walking alongside entrepreneurs to support them in laying foundations for a thriving businesses.