Why "Better" Products Don't Sell

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  • "We'll build a better product. We'll win, easily."

  • "We have so many more features than the competition. We'll win easily."

  • "Our product has an extra __________. Dude, we'll so win easily."

  • "Let's choose our Porsches!"

Not quite, our beloved amigos. Most entrepreneurs tout their better features. The theory goes: "If my product has more features, that means I have a better product. Then, people will buy my product instead." Who can fault them? The so-called business experts encourage them: "Get your competitive advantage. Get better capabilities. If they have one widget, have two," they say. Sure that's common sense talking: people buy products that are feature-rich, right?

But, folks: common sense is wrong.

People don't buy "better" products. People don't buy rationally. People buy emotionally. Then, they try to rationalize their purchases.

See: The Feature-Rich Zen Vs. the Stylish iPod

The Creative Zen murders the iPod in features and cost: bigger hard drive, FM radio, voice recorder, among others. But, the iPod offers something the Zen doesn't: an emotional connection. Zen sells features. iPod sells style.

People buy on emotions, says the fabulous research.

Building on research on the mind, Harvard Business School Professor Gerald Zaltman states that 95% of our purchasing decisions happen in our subconscious:

What we really think is largely hidden from us. In other words, most of what we know we don't know we know. Probably 95% of all cognition, all the thinking that drives our decisions and behaviors, occurs unconsciously -- and that includes consumer decisions. That's not to say that the 5% we're privy to is unimportant -- just that marketers overemphasize its importance, because it's so visible and easy to access.

Bob: "I bought a Mercedes. It has better stuff."

Sure, it probably does have better capabilities; but, like most non-car buffs, Bob bought his sweet ride based on emotions. He bought status. Then, he tried to rationalize his purchase with choosing "better capabilities."

How to sell your new product

If you want to sell your new product, touting features won't compel your customer to buy your product. You're targeting the customer's rational side --- when the irrational side does 95% of the talking. What do you do then?

Forget selling features.

Sell status. Sell luxury. Sell solutions. Sell hope. Sell inspiration.

Sell dreams.

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Posted on August 02

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