Differentiation We were asked recently to share insights with the strategic planning committee of a bank. One of the questions we asked them was:

“What do you sell?”

It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves. We also ask it of our coaching clients. It’s a part of one of our speeches to business owners and leaders.

It’s an important question to ask about your business.

The bankers had all kinds of ideas – banking products, loans, deposit accounts, mortgages, fees, trust services and more.

We followed up with, “But what do you really sell?”

But we didn’t stop there. We went through an exercise which we’ll tell you here shortly. They started to get it. They finally realized:

They sell dreams!

Now of course, they do that through deposit accounts, mortgages, and loans for cars and businesses.

But ultimately, they’re in the business of making dreams come true.

Just like an insurance broker we know is in the protection business. A plumber sells quality of life. At BIGG Success, we sell life on your own terms.

The power in knowing what you really sell

Once you understand what you really sell, strategic decision-making and communication is so much simpler.

You understand the core of your business. So options can be filtered by their contribution (or detraction) from your core. Saying “no” is easier because you have a focus.

You understand the true benefit that you deliver. You can communicate that benefit in a word or phrase:

Dreams. Protection. Quality of life. Life on your own terms.

Let’s go back to the bank for a minute. What would get you more excited – making loans or making dreams come true?

If you have employees, don’t you think they’ll be equally excited about making dreams come true instead of just pushing products?

After all, we all want to feel like our work makes a difference in the world. Making dreams a reality makes quite a difference!

Do you see the power in connecting what you sell to a deeper purpose?

An exercise to discover what you really sell

Okay, you’re sold. So how do you go about doing it?

Stop seeing the tangible products in front of you. Then you’ll uncover the intrinsic product within your product.

Stop just thinking about the features of your product. Then you’ll start to understand its benefits.

(And in case you’re wondering, these last two paragraphs also apply to services.)

So how you can determine what you really sell?

Ask yourself another follow-up question. This is the part of our conversation with the bankers that we didn’t share earlier.

To determine what you really sell, go through this exercise:

Why do people buy your product or service? When you have that answer, ask this question:

“And that means…?”

Once you have your answer, ask it again. “And that means…?”

Keep going. It will probably take four or five times to drill down to what you really sell. (Yes, this is a version of the Five Whys.) But it works.

It’s how we helped the bankers get to “dreams,” the insurance broker realize he sold “protection” and the plumber find out that he sells “quality of life.” It’s also how we discovered that we sell “life on your own terms.”

What do you really sell?