There are many different terminologies that are often used when it comes to explaining sales. Most people who are engaged in sales, tend to talk about lead generation, customer engagement, conversion and so on. This is an extremely granular view of things.
Sales is what happens when you know what to put in front of whom.
When I think of sales, I think of it in very broad terms. I feel that there are only three ways to sell a product. You can sell a product either to the brain, the heart or the ego. I put together the following diagram to illustrate how I see it.
How does selling differ in each of these cases?
Brain – If you are selling a product based on superior pricing or features, you are appealing to the rational side of a person. In this case, you are selling the product to the brain. The trouble with selling to the brain is -comparison of your product with that of a competitor becomes very simple, and hence it is rather difficult to garner loyalty.
WhatsApp is a classic example of a product that was sold to the brain. Simple pitch – Free SMS, always. When WhatsApp started, smartphones did not exist. Putting together a messaging platform that worked using the internet was extremely difficult. With the advent of the smartphone, it became easier for competitors to build similar products, but WhatsApp was already far ahead in terms of network (number of users), hence was not destroyed. WhatsApp never made a large enough dent in the United States because SMS has always been free with mobile subscriptions in the US. There was no rational appeal.
Heart – If you are selling a product based on the human appeal of the product, you are it selling to the heart. Typically these companies are looking to create a human connect with their users. The fact that they seek to build a connect means that they build a certain degree of loyalty along the way. Usually, the tools that such a business would use to sell itself would be, communities; relationships, with and between the users and the stories behind the startup.