The #1 Thing You Need to Know When You’re Trying to Sell Something

copywriting marketing Feb 22, 2022
 

Products and services are not what they appear.

When you’re trying to sell something, you need to understand what people are actually buying. It’s easy to get caught up in the thing itself and forget what’s motivating a purchase. If you dive into features without recognizing a customer’s ultimate desire, your pitch can often fail to persuade. 

Customers are buying what’s beyond your product — the result they want. In fact, it would be accurate to say they’re buying a transformation. 

You may not think it’s that intensive. For instance, if you’re trying to sell a pair of scissors, how do scissors really “transform” a customer’s life?

But think about it this way: When your customer is buying a pair of scissors, they’re buying what those scissors allow them to do. Can they open boxes faster? Make crafts? Easily open new toys for their kids? Cut off the tags of their new clothes? 

A pair of scissors saves time and energy. It gives you the freedom to do some things and freedom from other things, like having to yank on plastic zip ties for 10 minutes… or accidentally ripping a hole in the back of your new shirt. 

One of the Core Transformations: Freedom

Freedom is actually one of the Core Transformations we’re buying when we purchase products or services. The result we want is to gain the freedom to do what we want to do and to stop doing what we don’t want to do. (I believe there are 5 Core Transformations, and we talk about each one in depth in my Transformation Copywriting course.)

For example, if you buy a prepared microwave meal, you can save time on cooking — time you can use to do whatever else you’d like. Getting a hot meal fast provides the freedom to satisfy your hunger (gaining energy) while saving time and effort. 

Example of an ad using the Freedom transformation

Recognizing and understanding the Core Transformations your customers are seeking can unlock your ability to create compelling marketing messages. 

For example:

  • A nice pair of shoes tells a story about the kind of person you are. 
  • A meal at a 5-star restaurant offers you a dining experience you’ll never forget. 
  • A gym membership allows you to take classes and connect with other people who have fitness goals like yours. 
  • A pest control service keeps spiders from creeping into your bed in the middle of the night. 

Every Product and Service Is a Means to an End

It’s not about the thing itself. Every product and service is simply a means to an end.

The closer you get to what people are really buying, and the better you can express it, the more likely it is that the sale will actually happen. 

So what do your customers want? Have you done your research? Have you asked them?

The best thing you can do is dig up that result, get exceptionally clear about how the product can lead to that result, and be the customer’s advocate in the process of their transformation. That’s what effective, value-driven copywriting is all about.

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