Friday, February 19, 2010

Begging For Benefits

If someone asks why he should buy your product, can you provide a concise reason? Not everyone can.

At a green building conference, I stopped by a booth featuring organic roofs. Essentially, the vendor was selling plastic bins to hold soil. Put the bins on the roof and voila, it’s a “green” roof.

I thought it was interesting because it created a way to get some use out of unused space. For one of our company team building activities we participate in a local community garden. At lunch, we walk over and tend the garden, which yields tomatoes, squash, peppers, spices, etc. It would be more convenient if the garden was on our roof, though I doubt the hundred year old roof could handle the weight.

I listened as the exhibitor explained the product to a prospect. The prospect asked why he would want a green roof.

“You just gotta want it,” explained the exhibitor.

“Does it cut my utility costs?” asked the prospect.

“Not really.”

“Does it save me money?”

“Well, no.”

“Why would I want a green roof?”

“You just gotta want it.”

The prospect was practically begging the exhibitor for a benefit. I was surprised a green roof didn’t cut utility expense, but maybe it’s better to simply paint the roof white. Nevertheless, I thought of several benefits on the spot. The exhibitor might have talked about the value of a roof garden for making a property more attractive for tenants or employees, asked how much it costs to buy open space near his building, and if he believed that created a roof garden might not make the property more valuable. I bet ten minutes effort with Google would turn up dozens of other benefits that are better than, “You just gotta want it.”

How about you? Do you have a concise reason why someone should do business with your company? How about a second and third reason? How about the products and services you sell?

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