What is Your Offer – Really?

It’s not your product or your service.

When people ask us “What do you do?”, one of the biggest mistakes we make is to actually tell them. Your offer should NEVER include what you do; they don’t want to know. Stop telling people what you do; you’ll make a lot more money.

What we’re selling is almost never what the customer is buying. NOBODY is buying vacuum cleaners, iPhone apps, houses, insurance, financial planning, or computer services; we just think they are.

When people ask you “What do you do?”, they’re just being polite. What they’re really asking is “What can you do FOR ME?” Nobody is buying your product or service. They are buying what it will do for them. We think we’re selling a product or a service, but if we get it right, we’ll stop selling all that junk and start selling an OUTCOME.

Sell an Outcome, Not a Product
Good offers focus solely on the OUTCOME you will get your potential customer. An OUTCOME is “result expressed emotionally”. It tells them the result, using words that connect with their deepest felt needs in that area. Charles Revson (founder of Revlon), said, “In our factory we make soap, but in the store we sell hope.” Charles Revson knows nobody wants to buy soap. He is not selling his craft (soap making). He is selling an outcome, hope that you will be more attractive.

You’re a Craftsperson; Get Over It
Most of us are craftspeople. We love what we do, and can’t help talking about it. Since we’re so infatuated with our craft, we actually think other people would want to know about it. The sooner you get over that, the better. As intriguing as it may be to you, nobody wants to buy computer repairs. They want computers that never break down. Don’t ever say, “We repair computers”. If they ask, “What do you do?”, tell them “We make sure your company can use computers without ever thinking about them.” Or “We keep computers running and ensure your information will never be lost.” I don’t want to buy computer repairs, but I’ll buy someone telling me my computers will never be in the way of me doing business.

You’re not a real estate agent – nobody cares. Instead, you sell a place to build dreams, an oasis for future memories, a safe haven. You’re not an insurance agent or a financial planner – nobody cares. You both sell security, peace of mind, financial stability, etc.

Sell Skiing, Not Marketing
Your offer is not your product or your service, it is the result you express emotionally – your OUTCOME. Everybody buys emotionally, even giant corporations. We once landed a $7 million contract because the two finalists were dead even in their products and services, but the other company was in Detroit and we were in Denver. It was a lot more enticing to the marketing folks to be traveling to Denver a number of times a year, so we got the contract. We were selling marketing services, and they were buying skiing. Going forward we always made sure we included some pics of skiing, hiking, mountain biking and fishing in our presentations.

What do you provide your customer that no one else provides? 30 minute pizza delivery? Domino’s didn’t make a pizza that was any better than anyone else’s, but went from one store to a national chain selling that outcome. Guaranteed arrival time for a plumber? One guy built a 40-truck plumbing business, not on saying he was a great plumber (who would say they are lousy?), but on giving guaranteed arrival times within 10 minutes or $50 off your bill.

One mortgage person figured out that they could absolutely guarantee that people would close on a certain date or 50% off their closing costs. They knew that 25% of those dates would be missed (he had very little control over the closing dates). The result was a 100% increase in business and a 75% increase in revenues. He figured out he wasn’t selling mortgages, but sold reliability instead.

Math + Emotion = Outcome
Sometimes all you have to do is a little math to be able to make an emotional offer that everyone else thinks is crazy. Dominos knew that a certain percentage would be past the 30 minute mark and they would not get paid. The mortgage broker did the math as well. We did the math in a call center we owned and decided to do all calls for $1.35 per call when the rest of the industry charged “$.22 per minute”. Clients loved it because they knew just about how many calls their customer’s made each month and could budget very closely for that. We didn’t sell call center services, we sold that you’ll know before hand what your call center costs will be every month.

Good offers are OUTCOMES – results expressed emotionally. Stop telling people what you do; they don’t care. Tell them what you will do FOR THEM, and in terms that connect to their deepest felt needs.

Outcome First, Then Product
So what do we at Crankset do? I always answer this way – “We provide tools for business owners to make more money in less time, get off the treadmill, and get back to the passion that brought them into business in the first place.” There are three emotional results in that – 1) making more money in LESS time, 2) getting OFF the treadmill, and 3) making this fun and meaningful again. They still don’t know what I do, but if they like the outcomes we’ve presented, they’ll ask, “So how do you do that?” Now you can get all geeky about your craft, but not until you give them their OUTCOME.

Your Product is Just a Tool
Find an offer that answers “What will you do for me?” Know what they are really looking for from you. It is not your widget or your promise to fix widgets, or your ability to sell them a house, computers, insurance, etc. It’s your ability to meet deep felt needs. Your product or your service is just a tool for doing that.

Outcomes – results, expressed emotionally.