EP - 031

What Are You Really Selling?

With Mark Drager

Products and services often offer more than meets the eye; it's the intangible benefits and experiences that resonate most with customers.

The How To Sell More Podcast


November 2, 2023

In this episode of "How To Sell More," Mark Drager explores the core strategies for successful selling. It's not about just promoting a product or service. Rather, it's about aligning your offerings with your customers' genuine needs and desires.

  • Beyond the Product: Understand that sales are not just about the product itself.
  • Discover the Motivations: Dig into the root motivations that push people to make a purchase.
  • Prioritize the Experience: Recognize the emotional value and outcomes associated with the purchase.

Doing business is more than just transactions. It's about establishing relationships and understanding what truly drives people. Join us to learn how grasping "What you're really selling" can revolutionize your sales approach and boost your success.

Links to This Episode

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Core of Selling: Without identifying and understanding the essence of what a business is selling, there's a risk of not achieving the intended impact or outcome.
  • Varied Perspectives on Selling: It's crucial to identify what is being sold in specific scenarios or campaigns rather than seeking a one-size-fits-all answer.
  • Examples Illuminate Selling Objectives: Effectively conveying the selling point can distinguish between successful and unsuccessful outreach.

Top 3 Reasons to Listen

Deep Insights: Mark Drager's vast experience offers listeners deep insights into the world of selling, going beyond surface-level understanding.

Networking Opportunities: Engage in discussions, network with peers, and share insights after tuning into such a thought-provoking episode.

Boost Sales:  By understanding "What you're really selling," businesses can potentially boost their sales by resonating more deeply with customers.

More About our Host, Mark Drager

AKA the Badass Brand Architect, 5th Generation Entrepreneur, Host of The How To Sell More Podcast

When he's not podcasting, Mark's the Co-Founder & CEO of SalesLoop. He's a dedicated husband to his high school sweetheart, Jacqueline, and a proud father of four.

Mark didn't follow the typical route to becoming a sales & marketing expert. A connected figure in the entrepreneur community, Mark provides listeners with a unique mix of wit, insight, and straightforward advice.

Some of Mark's unconventional adventures include commandeering a Boeing 737-800 for a day, facing harsh criticism from a billionaire, and shedding 70 lbs in his late 30s. Though he never attended college, Mark stands as proof of the might of maintaining a student mindset and being ever-ready to seek assistance.

A Transcription of The Talk

Mark Drager: Welcome to How to Sell More". Today, we're talking about what you're really selling when the thing you're selling isn't what you think you're selling. In fact, you might be selling something else entirely. I'm r, and today, we're diving into this intriguing topic.

Having owned an agency since 2006, I've engaged in thousands upon thousands of conversations with diverse individuals across various industries and businesses. Just looking back, we've completed thousands of projects for over 300 clients spanning 29 industries. And when I say thousands of conversations, I mean it, because many of these were sales calls that didn't materialize into business. Often, prospects approach me seeking help with their brand, lead generation, product sales, or even just gaining more attention. As I guide them through our system, a pivotal question always arises: "What are we really selling here?"

For sales-centric projects, this question is straightforward. But when I ask the same to someone wanting a recruitment campaign, they often retort, "We're not selling; we're recruiting." The same goes for charities or educators. They feel they're not selling anything. But they're missing the point.

Every form of communication or outreach our businesses make is designed to influence. Thus, we are always selling something, be it an idea, an action, or even just a simple follow. Without understanding the core of what we're selling, we miss the mark.

This question, "What are you really selling?", often leads to insightful discussions. I've been in meetings where each stakeholder has their own perspective on what they're selling. And when I ask the question, I'm not seeking a global answer, but rather, in that specific moment or campaign, what are we selling?

Let me illustrate with an example. I recently received an email, the sender of which I've since forgotten. The headline read something like, "You have the opportunity to listen to our senior staff." That's it. No context, no appeal. They missed their chance to hook me because they were selling the wrong thing: the chance to listen. They neglected the actual value they could offer.

This mistake is far too common. For instance, if you're hosting an event, you might think you're selling tickets. But people attend events for myriad reasons: learning, networking, or even just for the bragging rights. If you're solely focused on selling tickets, you're not addressing these motivations.

Consider mastermind groups. On the surface, you're selling access to you and your time. But delve deeper, and it's about outcomes, challenges, community, and transformative experiences.

And then there's the car industry. Every car, from the most basic to the luxurious, gets you from point A to B. When I started my company in 2006, I drove a basic Saturn SL1. Over the years, my cars changed, but they all had the same primary function. However, they served different needs in my life. My current truck, for example, is perfect for my lifestyle with my kids. It's not just a truck; it represents the possibilities it brings into my life.

In essence, understanding what you're truly selling can make all the difference. You might have come across the old saying, "People don't buy a hammer just to hit things; they buy it to hang a picture." Or, "You don't buy a drill for the sake of drilling; you buy it because you want a hole." This perspective shifts the focus from the tool to the outcome, emphasizing the end result or benefit.

In any communication, whether it's an episode, an email, or a pitch, I always challenge myself and my clients to ask, "What are we selling?" Often, it's not just the end product.

For service-based businesses, it's clear that people buy services primarily for two reasons. First, they purchase because it's something they can't do themselves. Second, they buy because it's something they simply don't want to do. I'm always curious about other perspectives on this, so feel free to reach out on Instagram at salesloop brand. But in my experience, these are the core reasons people buy services.

Shifting gears a bit, I'm a huge admirer of Russell Brunson's book, "Expert Secrets." If you're in marketing, you're likely familiar with Brunson from his work with ClickFunnels. In "Expert Secrets", Brunson delves into the idea that people buy for status. This concept is especially fascinating when you're selling luxury products or services, or when your offering is priced higher than competitors. On page 53 of "Expert Secrets", Brunson explains that people pursue things mainly for status enhancements, such as appearing more intelligent, powerful, wealthy, stylish, or simply happier.

Conversely, what do people want to avoid? Looking uninformed or making poor decisions. When making a purchase or opting for a service, people often consider how it might elevate their status. This is evident when fans or satisfied customers refer others to your product or service. They're not just doing it out of loyalty; by making a successful referral, they elevate their own status, appearing more connected or knowledgeable.

This idea of status can be further broken down into several categories: intelligence, power, wealth, appearance, style, and happiness. Each purchase or selection might be tied to one or more of these status enhancements.

If we delve even deeper into the psychology of buying, beyond the immediate "can't do" or "don't want to do" reasons, and even past the status reason, we touch on more intrinsic motivations. People want to elevate their status, but they also want to avoid appearing foolish or uninformed. It's essential to understand these layers when considering what you're genuinely selling.

Now, if you've ever heard the old saying, right? You know, people don't buy a hammer to hit things with; they buy a hammer to hang a picture. Or you don't buy a drill to drill things; you buy a drill because you want a hole. You're getting in the right direction. We're focusing on very outcome-based pieces. But at the end of the day, there are several frameworks we can use that I've found helpful in my career, whether I'm working on my own projects or with clients. Always ask yourself: what are we selling? In this conversation, in this episode, in this email, in this part of the process? What are we trying to get people to do? What are we selling? And often, it's not the end product.

For service-based businesses, people usually buy for two reasons. They buy because it's something they can't do, or they buy because it's something they don't want to do. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. You can share them with me on Instagram at salesloop brand. But in my experience, those are the main reasons people opt for service-based businesses.

Now, shifting gears a bit. I'm a huge fan of Russell Brunson's book, Expert Secrets. You probably know Russell Brunson from Click Funnels, but in Expert Secrets, he explains that at the end of the day, people primarily buy for status. This is especially true for luxury products or services. In Expert Secrets, he asserts that everyone, deep down, buys things for status reasons. We want to appear intelligent, powerful, wealthy, good-looking, stylish, or happy. And what we don't want is to look foolish for making bad decisions.

So when we're thinking about what we're selling, we have to consider if we're offering any of these status elements. Taking this a step further, from a psychology perspective, Tony Robbins' program, Unleash the Power Within, which I've attended twice, introduces the concept of six human needs. We'll focus on four of these needs today. After these sessions, I began to notice patterns in successful sales and marketing, all aligning with these human needs.

The first, especially prevalent in North America, is certainty. Many people crave it. It's why some choose familiar paths, like taking the first job offer or attending a nearby school. This need for certainty is why some avoid the unpredictability of entrepreneurship. So, when designing a product or service, consider how you can offer that certainty.

The second need is variety. People want change. It's why they take vacations or seek new experiences. It's why some make impulsive decisions, all for the sake of variety. Can your product or service provide that spark of change or difference?

The third need is significance. Everyone wants to feel important and valued. It's a driving force, especially for entrepreneurs. We want certainty, but we also want to feel significant.

The fourth need is love or connection. This is why communities and brands that create a sense of belonging are so powerful. For instance, my daughter's desire for Crocs isn't just for the shoe itself, but because of the connection and customization they offer.

To truly understand what you're selling, dive deep into the psychology of your target audience. It's not always about the product or service, but the deeper needs it satisfies. Always ask yourself, "What am I selling?" Recognize that selling isn't always about a transaction; it's about influence, the next step, breaking through barriers. Understand your prospect's psychology and their underlying motives.

Thank you for tuning in. If you have thoughts or questions on this topic or any other, reach out to us on Instagram @lalesloopbrand. And if you've made it this far into the episode, consider subscribing for more insights on business growth and boosting sales. I'm Mark, and I appreciate you listening.