You Don’t Sell What You Think You Sell

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You sell one of these 30 things. That’s because these are the only things people want to buy. And the more of them you sell, the more you use in your messaging, the better you’re probably doing.

 

Your entire business has a theme - the things you make people feel and what they associate with you and what they say when they talk about you. Like how Harley Davidson sells the freedom to rebel against what society expects. Dave Ramsey sells the idea of financial peace. Chubbies sells the ability to make the most of the weekend. They aren’t selling motorcycles, financial planning courses, and shorts. At least not really.

 

There can be sub-themes within that, which basically say, “here’s what [topic] looks like through the lens of my theme.” And when you can do that, like Apple has, it frees you to create new things that further your mission and serve your tribe.


No one bats an eye when Apple, a computer company, makes a phone. Or a watch. Or headphones. In fact, we assume they’ll be awesome. If Apple came out with a car or a backpack or a line of living room furniture tomorrow, people would be out the door to buy them. Because Apple’s offering isn’t “good computers.” It’s simple, elegant products for people who like to express themselves and challenge the status quo. And Apple has gotten so good at it that they’ve become the status quo.


So for your product and your service, you have to ask yourself - “what do I want people to feel when they talk about my brand?”


“What transformation am I going to take people through? Who are they now and who will they be when I’m done with them?”


“What’s the story people tell themselves, ABOUT themselves, because they’re someone who uses my stuff?”