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Are you selling compelling?

Creative Commons License photo credit: kekremsi

Ever created or started selling a product that was so compelling that people would line up to get it?

It’s a really great thing.

I remember a trade show about 10 years ago where the crowd around our booth was so big, they flowed into the booths across the aisle (yes, they were angry – rather than appreciating the traffic).

At this particular show, it got to the point where our existing customers were taking prospects out of our booth and showing them the product on their own laptop. They’d find a quiet(er) spot somewhere and demo the product for them, more or less making it clear to them that they were nuts to leave without buying.

They did this for two reasons:

  • We were totally, unbelievably swamped – despite having 5 people in the booth.
  • These folks believed in the product so strongly that they couldn’t wait to tell someone else about it.

There’s some important psychology in the second one. We all want others to acknowledge our decisions.

If we show someone else a product/service that we use and they like it, it makes us feel better. Oddly, we “need” this validation despite being sure of our decision.

In their case, they already knew what it did for them – and they still did this.

That’s nothing

That seems pretty cool until you look at something like the first 2 months of iPad sales.

Apple sold two million iPads in 59 days.

In case you’re having trouble getting your head wrapped around that, try this:

Apple sold an iPad every three seconds for 59 straight days.

To be sure, 50-60-75-100 million iPod Touches and iPhones already in peoples’ hands helped that cause immensely.

Not just because of the lockstep nature of overly loyal Apple customers (called “fanboys” – male or not), but because those people *know* they will be able to use this new product as soon as they take it out of the box.

They somehow know this even though they can’t exactly decide what they will use it for.

Some people use it to read more. Some use it to browse more. Some use it for video or writing or gaming.

No matter what they’ll end up using it for, they were confident enough about the product to line up all over the US just to buy one on the first day it’s available.

Takes a compelling product to get people to line up.

Compelling stirs

Compelling makes you want to buy that thing even if logic tells you not to. Not because of rampant consumerism, but because the product makes you think about it.

It stirs your mind.

Its design and potential is enough to make you think about it while driving to town.

What you might do with it. How it might change other things and make them better.

All without spending any time wondering how to turn it on, navigate around its interface, or hook it up.

Easy as pie

Think about how important that is – because few people do.

It’s incredibly easy to lose sight of what *real* ease of use is.

When you pick up a pencil, you know how to write with it.

When you grab a hammer, you know how to swing it.

And in the case of the iPod (etc), we’re talking about a device that’s substantially more complex. A tech device.

Seth Godin noted that he saw a 2 yr old in a stroller holding an iPod Touch.

Not just chewing on it and throwing it around, but actively using software on it.

Ever try to teach a 2 yr old how to use a computer? Sure, they can move a mouse around and peck randomly at the keyboard. Beyond that, most of them haven’t yet developed high quality language or motor skills to do much more.

And despite that, they know how to use an iPod touch/iPhone.

It’s about making it easy. Obvious.

“Easy enough for a caveman to do it”. Or a two year old.

How did they get by?

Are you thinking about your customers, their needs and challenges in a way that will enable you to create a product that compelling?

A service that makes your best, most insightful customers think “How did I get by before they invented this?”

PS: To learn more about the curious psychology that drives our buying (and that of your customers), I suggest starting with Cialdini’s Influence.

6 replies on “Are you selling compelling?”

I like the idea of people going to your booth and sharing the details to others as well. It would be such a wonderful feeling if I would experience that one of these days. And yeah I think it makes sense when people would buy a product even when they don’t know ahead how it can be of use to them. I guess the main point goes to the trust people have on a certain product and the maker.
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