My friend Len Blum is a former screenwriter (Private Parts, The Pink Panther to name just two) and a current yoga instructor. He's also one of the wisest guys I know...and I mean that not in a Mafioso way.
At lunch last week, Len's zen-like manner managed to sum up in six words the solution to the age old problem: how do I sell something?
Before enlightening you, let me put everything into context. We were discussing a video project he had pitched to an author, who's one and only question to Len was the succinct: "Will it sell books?"
Len's answer to him was simple, and brutally honest: "I don't know."
That's not the enlightening part.
But as a guy who is overseeing four new product initiatives at Airborne Mobile, not to mention anxiously awaiting the February launch of my oft-mentioned Pow! book, the obsession on how to best sell something--and better still, to know how it will sell in advance--eats away at me incessantly.
So here's what Len said that threw me for a loop: If you really want to know if what you have is going to sell, ask yourself this:
"WHAT IS THE GIFT YOU GIVE?"
It's really that simple, that profound, and that difficult. All in one.
What are you giving your customer, your client, your audience, that they will un-wrap? That they will cherish? That they will display and show others? That they will care about?
The gift is not a feature, or a gimmick, or an add-on. It's the core of the product or service itself. It's the thing that bonds it to someone who will buy it. And no matter if you're selling something that can slide into a wallet or be too big for an airplane hangar, the gift is not the physicality, but the intangible.
Too often, we get caught up in systems. In what has worked before. In process. But that was then. This is now. And as our financial markets show us, even when we know, we never really learn.
Taking this one step further, it's one of the key integral questions of business (the other two will be the subject of future posts...and perhaps the basis of my next book). So before you make your next move, no matter what you're selling, ask yourself Question #1: What is the gift you give?
And if you're not delighted with the answer...you'd better keep shopping