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Heart, not brains in product sales

Thursday,Nov 21,2013

A few weeks ago, I was coaching a new HSN guest on how to present her line of perfumes.  Perfume is a tough one.  People do not have smellavision.  There is no demonstration that is going to visually convey how awesome a perfume is.  A presenter has the bottle, maybe a few props showing off the scents, possibly some support video showing how the perfume is made…that’s about it.  Ninety percent of the presentation is all about expressions and verbiage.  This new guest was stuck on talking about the perfume’s middle and top notes (the recognizable scents…rose, citrus, etc…).  She primarily wanted to go through the manufacturing process and the company’s philosophy when creating a new perfume.  I coached her otherwise.  Although the information she had was important and could be peppered throughout her presentation for flavor, what would really sell her perfume was an appeal to how a woman would feel wearing her scent.  Would that woman walk into a room feeling confident?  Would she feel desirable or sexy?  Would she feel youthful or fun?  This is how you sell perfume.  You convey the emotions when using it.  You help the viewer to daydream about wearing it by suggesting scenarios and their outcomes with the perfume on. “Can you imagine going out for the evening with your significant other and he is riveted to you?  He cannot tear himself away from you and his hands seem to wander more than usual! Can you imagine how desirable you would feel? Our scent gives you that.  No matter what you are wearing, It drops you right into your sexiest evening gown and heels with a press on the sprayer.” You see, that new guest wanted to hinge her whole presentation on features, but it is the benefits…the result of those features that was the real selling point. Unfortunately, inventors and manufacturers sometimes lose sight of this fact.  When they originally had the idea for their product, it was based on a benefit that was missing in the marketplace.  They wanted to improve someone’s life by reducing their workload, giving them more time, solving a problem or saving them money.  But, once the design process began, their focus became how to make this benefit a reality.  That’s where the product’s features came in.  Certain features result in a predictable benefit.  Although the benefit was the initial idea that emotionally resonated with the inventor, the features become consuming and the totality of the manufacturing process.  By the time the inventor could hold the product in his hands, he was personally so invested and proud of the multitude of features it had, he lost sight of the original idea. Features became the focus of all his sales.  I have even had manufacturers brag to me for lengths of time on the design of their packaging and ask me to point it out within the first few minutes of sales time!  Granted, great packaging helps establish a brand and create a unique customer experience (Steve Jobs knew the truth of this), but that should never be your focus. Get back to the reason the product was created in the first place – the benefits.  Create that emotional response in your customer.  Help them test drive your product in their imagination.  Help them realize how it will improve their life.  Help their emotions to engage. Then, give them the “How.” That is the epicenter of all sales and should be the primary focus of a great product presentation.

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