Increase sales performance? Sell the idea, not the product.

Sell the idea, not the product.

Increase sales performance? Sell the idea, not the product. Sell the idea, not the product.

‘What are the key ingredients to increase sales performance?’ It’s a question I elaborate on concerning the book I am writing on the ’10 traits’ of a remarkable software business. One aspect of this that I believe stands out is: Sell the idea, not the product.

From what I have seen and experienced myself, doing so unlocks several advantages: It allows you to own the audience, it unlocks the money, ideas that are repeated change the world, and it helps to create movements.

Let me elaborate on each advantage in more detail

You’ll own the audience

Let’s start with the first advantage: By owning the idea, you own the audience

Big ideas change perspectives. They help reveal problems or opportunities people are often not even aware of. The make something complex, really simple, and with that triggers something valuable and desirable. Just think of Evernote. I’ve been using that for years now and still can spell out the big idea behind the company: ‘Remember everything.’ That’s so powerful, and yet so simple.

You’ll unlock the money

The second significant benefit of selling the idea, not the product is related to this: It unlocks the money. In other words, if people believe in the unique value behind your big idea, they are prepared to pay a premium. The word ‘discount’ is not coming up at all. In the end, it’s one of the core concepts to be successful in getting funding to establish your business.

We all know that to obtain funding, especially for the first round, we’ll have to convince VCs about the big idea and the potential of this idea to create a shift of change in the market that’s monetizable. Without that believe, any further discussion is not happening. It’s the first paragraph they look for in your memorandum, and the first slide they expect in your pitch deck.

The same way it works to get funding for your business, it works to win the heart of our ideal customer to invest in your solution to grow their business.  It’s all about the money.

Ideas that are repeated change the world

The third benefit is the potential to create a larger than life impact. Big ideas catch you, and those that are memorable gets shared.  They are remarkable, i.e., worth making a remark about. It will get repeated by your people because it makes them proud. That’s real alignment value. However, more importantly, it will get repeated by your customers. That’s where reach kicks in in a way that hardly any company can afford to pay for themselves through their marketing effort. It can help your business take off and scale beyond any prediction in your business plan. 

It helps you create a movement

The last benefit aligns with the third one but still stands out on its own. Big ideas have the power to unite like-minded people. This builds a bond, it helps grow a community, and that in itself builds trust and gives people a reason to keep coming back. The community will start to collaborate, add value to each other, and this grows the value of the total, and, it takes part of the pressure of your shoulders. It’s a win-win for everybody.

How to go about?

I’m working on a list of ingredients that are fundamental to big ideas that stand out. Here’s my top 9 for now – looking forward to your views, so feel free to add or comment:

1.    It’s not about you

2.    It’s about change

3.    Start with the problem/address the friction

4.    It’s about changing perception

5.    Ensure you’re the guide, not the hero

6.    Ensure nothing gets lost in translation

7.    The structure is everything – start with Why, then How, then What

8.    Make your case without an argument

9.    Make it memorable and sharable

I am eager to get your perspective. What’s your experience?