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Sell Into the Why

I wrote sometime back about the drill and the hole:  “No one wants to buy a quarter-inch drill.  They want to buy a quarter-inch hole.”  (Read the post here.  It’s all about getting in the hearts and minds of the customer, the language of the customer, understanding the pain and headaches or the hopes and dreams of the customer vs. feature selling.)  I want to clarify the difference between feature and value selling through an example.  Let’s imagine our widget sells for $380, and it is superior in quality and performance vs. the competitor’s cheaper product:

  1. Feature Selling (About Us / Our Product):

“Our widget is made from a high-quality titanium alloy.  It is 25% more reliable than the competitor’s product.  Our programmable controls allow you to select up to seven different pressure settings.  Also, we are a family-owned business and have been in business for 37 years.  We have a highly knowledgeable, trained sales and service staff.  Our product is an excellent value at $380.”

  1. Value Selling (About Customer / Their Needs):

“When your production line goes down because of a widget failure, it can cost you up to $900 per hour in lost production.  Our higher quality materials and much higher reliability mean far less downtime for you.  With our widget, you can avoid up to $14,000 per year in unplanned production stoppages.  At $380, this part pays for itself in 9.5 days.  Also, because you can finely tune the pressure to the exact dispensing rate you require, you waste far less raw material vs. the competitor’s product.”

This is the SAME WIDGET, but:

  • #1 is focused on features of our product and our business.
  • #2 is focused on the customer and their needs and their pain points.

No one in the history of mankind has ever earned a price premium from a feature dump.  If you sell a technical product to a sophisticated audience, you will need to go into details about the features, but do not stop there.  None of your customers woke up fired up and excited to give you a huge check for the products and services they sell.  But they woke up fired up and excited to have their problems solved.  It’s not the thing itself you sell but why your customers by.  The why is the space of price premium.  Sell into the why.