Your product is not what you sell, it’s the difference you make

Your product is the impact you make, the change you affect, the experience your product delivers. Your product is the result, the causatum, the punch. Sell cars? No, you don’t sell a car, you sell utility or transport or identity or experience or speed perhaps. In pharma? – you don’t sell drugs, you sell health and well-being. Clothing retail? – your product isn’t jackets and boots, it’s warmth and style and durability and expression of taste.

It starts at the beginning – teachers and educators certainly aren’t selling, they are creating idea agents, young people interested and willing to learn, excited and touched by ideas they put into action. My wife, a high school science teacher, should justifiably be proud when she talks to a former student who was inspired to enter teaching, or go into microbiology, or well… go into any discipline related to science because they were touched in a meaningful way in her class in high school.

And if you are in the the business I’m in – the learning business, you aren’t selling books, courses, classes or video learning, your product is behavioral change. Your product is impact – the difference those ideas make.

Early this year, Tim Sanders gave the keynote address at our annual client conference, Perspectives. Afterwards, a woman approached him to congratulate and thank him for his message, she said “Thank you for a wonderful presentation, but I still don’t understand. What are you selling?” Tim smiled and said, “I’m selling success, your success.”

It doesn’t matter if you are in sales, you are still selling – ideas, solutions, change, experiences, expertise. But understand your product might not be what you think it is. The core asset in your arsenal to make an impact is between your ears – your brain and your willingness and ability to engage and affect change through whatever products or services you happen to be representing. The course, the textbook, the video, is merely a transit mechanism. It’s the vehicle for ideas.

Your difference is the difference you can make, representing something you believe it. But remember the quality of the interaction matters. As Susan Scott says, “The conversation is the relationship.”