How to Sell a Product That No One Knows They Need

To sell a product that no one knows they need, you need to ask questions, and find out what your customer perceives as a problem. Don’t act like you know what their problems are. Present your product as a solution to a problem that people know they have. But this is easier said than done. In this viral video, a women is complaining that her head hurts and her boyfriend says, well there is a nail in your head. And she says, “It’s not about the nail.” Take a quick watch not only for a laugh, but a clever sales and marketing metaphor.

You need to ask questions before you start selling, or presenting your idea of a solution, because often, people don’t realize they have a problem. As a web designer, I see countless sites daily that I think are in need of work. However, the reason I think they need to be redesigned isn’t really because I’m on a personal mission to make the internet more beautiful. It’s because I understand that an eye-catching, mobile friendly, fast loading website can become a business’s #1 marketing tool. It works 24/7 for you, and it can be filled with educational and engaging content to attract people to your business. It solves problems that people don’t know they have. So when a company says they want to “do marketing,” we start with “why.” What are their goals and pain points. And quite often the website is the product that no-one knows they need.

The same concept applies in this infamous interview question. If a candidate is asked to “sell me this pen” and doesn’t start asking questions right away, they’re not getting the job.

So the key to selling a product no one knows they need is to ask questions, and then present solutions to problems that people know they have. Present your product as a solution to a problem is easier said than done. How do you get your ideal client across a table from you, or even just on the phone for 5 minutes?

There are two main things to focus on: your product, and how you talk about your product.

Product Market Fit

This diagram illustrates how customers will be attracted to your brand or product if they understand that they can benefit from it, or gain something from it, or how it relieves some of their pain. However, it’s a harsh reminder that if you brand doesn’t do both of these things, no amount of marketing will help the company succeed.

But if your product has a good marketing fit, this is how it should be communicating with valuable, engaging, and thought provoking content. Content that makes the audience stop, read, think and behave differently.

What it really comes down to is this: To sell a product that no one knows they need, you need to always be helping. Instead of always be closing. This directly relates to sales, but it also working for marking when you think about how you talk about your business. Focus on how you or your product can help people. Find out what your customers pain points are, and talk about how how your product relieves that pain, rather than the product.

P.S. Thanks to Michael Hurczyn and this hilarious story that he shared at the Brewing Marking and Sales Success conference on June 3, 2016. Also thanks to Bob Ruffolo, CEO of IMPACT branding & Design for organizing the event and kicking it off with a great presentation about Growth Readiness. And the rest of the speakers of that great event.

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