March 28, 2016

Are you trying to sell your product? Or the transformation?

Are you trying to sell your product? Or the transformation?

I recently had a call with a client who told me she wasn’t sure why someone would buy her art. She felt that she had a beautiful product – art infused with a healing energy. She felt connected to her brand and motivated by the “juju” she’d identified in her brand story. She felt, from the bottom of her soul, that her product would bring something to the buyer.


And then she said, “But I’m just not sure if other people will feel the same way. I’m just not sure why they would buy it.”


Do you know why your clients buy your products?

Do you know what hopes, dreams, fears or frustrations your business addresses?

Do you know why people don’t or won’t buy your product?

Do you understand the motivations of your target market?


Do you know how to find out?


Ask them.


As business owners, we bring things to the world. And these things we bring, they are little pieces of ourselves. We put ourselves out there for sale. And one of the most difficult questions to ask is, “Why would someone buy this?” One of the most difficult tasks we face is to honestly and openly look at the market and say, “What need do I fulfill?”


Creating a branding and marketing strategy without a target market is like shooting a bow and arrow in the dark. There’s a chance you might hit something. But it’s very slim. And you’ll feel completely out of sorts and insecure throughout the process.


When you sell you product, what you’re really selling is a transition or a transformation. People don’t buy WHAT you sell. They buy the way they’ll FEEL or the way they’ll BE after they use the product.


So ask them.

You don’t have to commission a million dollar study. Do a survey on Facebook. Send an email. Create a beta test group and interview them by phone. Meet some people at the coffee shop. Chat at the gym. Ask friends of friends.

Don’t assume.


Ask them:

What are you afraid of?

What are your goals?

What will your life look like you’ve reached them?

What makes you frustrated?

What do you dream about for your life, your business or your family?


And then build your marketing strategy around the transformation.


One of the oldest marketing phrases in the book is: “Don’t sell the steak. Sell the sizzle.”


But don’t lose sight of the fact that first, you have to find the people who will feel better after a little sizzle.


What are the hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of your target market?


Share with me in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Are you trying to sell your product? Or the transformation?

  1. Barb Toland says:

    I love this Julia. It has really got me thinking about my art, and how it may or may not transform the buyer in some way. Based on your suggestion, I will take the time to ASK some of them. I’m hoping the feedback I get is aligned with my thoughts on this. Should be interesting to find out – thanks!

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hey, Barb. I’m so glad this post was helpful to you. Art is such a personal gift to bring to the world. And asking the question, “How does art transform your life?” may really take you to the next level in terms of selling it. I’m anxious to hear what you find out! Please share. Many of my connections here on the blog are artists — I will share your findings with the group. My best to you. -Julia

  2. Kathy Waite says:

    Hello Julia, My business has really grown over 5 years and I am at the point I can CHOOSE who to work with. People I look forward to seeing. Who inspire me and use what I show them so I feel like what I am doing is worthwhile.

    My website is crummy so instead of leaping into a relaunch I have spent 6 months thinking about ideal client etc and have an avatar and an anti-avatar . I have been through all my old files and notes from interviews and feel pretty clear on what they worry about and want to achieve. Your post above has inspired me to do a survey to those I consider my ideal ( not all ) . I get frustrated when I can see I meet someones needs and then they don’t sign up. That’s only maybe 10% of enquiries , I have a really high conversion ratio, so I was wondering about doing a survey to them as well to see if I am not communication properly or listening or perhaps it’s just cost or the good old ” Google it and do it myself ” . What do you think? Is that a waste of time?
    I am a fee for service financial planner in Kathy Waite Saskatchewan Canada . Your Net Worth Manager . www,

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Kathy. Surveys are an outstanding way to take things to another level. I can’t recommend them highly enough. For the folks who you’re not converting, it may simply be a matter of you not offering what they’re looking for. If you ask, simply and directly, what people want… you can create a product to fill the slot. When you take it further and ask about hopes, dreams, fears, frustrations — then you can craft both your product and your messaging in a way that changes lives. Definitely go for it. I think you’ll be amazed. Cheers. -Juju

  3. Renee Thompson says:

    I create jewelry, Julia. Would the same questions apply for my target market?

    1. Julia Hook says:

      Hi, Renee. I’m sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier. YES!! When people buy jewelry, the buy the person they’ll BECOME when they wear the jewelry. They buy what they believe other people will think of them. They buy the image they want to project. They buy the FEELING they’ll have when they put a piece on and stand a bit taller or walk with a little swagger. So, YES. You are definitely selling a transformation. And if you can find out from your clients how your jewelry makes them feel, you’ll be a big step closer to selling a whole lot more of it… because you can tell potential customers about how they’re ABOUT to feel.

  4. Mary says:

    Hi Julia,
    The same goes for me, I have a small flower studio out of my home. I specialize in weddings and seasonal decor, which is a mixed bag, as far as targeting age groups. Would these questions apply to people getting married or looking for a wreath?

    Thank you,

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