May 13, 2012
Selling Ideas

In the advertisement to your left, it looks as if someone is selling an SUV or perhaps a brand of bicycle. But, actually, neither is the case. The SUV and the bikes are only a means to an end.

Well then -- "What is that end?"

Or, to put it another way -- most people don't like buying things. The decision to buy something, in fact, brings up a lot of obstacles and challenges to overcome, including coming up with the money.

So, why DO people buy things?

For example, when the person buying the SUV to your right calculates the cost of the base model, and then adds on the navigation and entertainment systems, that person won't be smiling

And when he/she finds out the costs of the added service package, special coating, and fancy rims... still no smile.

So, what got the buyer excited enough to get off the couch and go to the SUV dealer? What was so compelling?

Here's the big secret: People don't pay money for the stuff they buy. They pay money for what the stuff represents -- the IDEA behind the stuff.

The above advertisement is designed to embed the idea into the mind of the consumer that he or she -- upon buying the SUV -- will experience Nature, Rugged Adventure, Freedom, and the Conquest of the Wild.

Now THAT'S worth quite a lot, don't you think? Especially if the buyer doesn't actually have to do anything but buy the vehicle to achieve it!

Why risk snake bites, ticks, and bears when you can have what you want without ever having to be uncomfortable -- the idea of Nature, Freedom and Adventure!

Furthermore, all a person needs to know is that the idea can be achieved. Most people are happy with their purchase even if their original idea is never played out.

The bottom line, for salespeople, is this: focusing on the stuff you are selling is secondary -- a massive misstep that salespeople make a lot. It's a waste of time because buyers are mainly paying money for the idea of what can be achieved or experienced once they possess the thing they are buying.

In other words, people are buying a means, not an end.

So, stop selling stuff and start selling ideas!

With ideas, you don't have to sell at all -- just get out of the way. Ideas, if they are compelling enough, will sell themselves.

-- by Paul Roth, Idea Champions Chief Collaboration Officer

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at May 13, 2012 07:11 AM

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