Sales Advice: Selling Aspirin and Crayons

Know what it is that you are selling.

Different things are sold in different ways. The process by which cars are sold, for instance, is very different than the way a computer is sold.

Are you selling aspirin or a crayon?

Aspirin is something that solves a problem. It takes a pain away.

A crayon is something colorful. It is all about how something looks.

So in the roofing industry, which thing are you selling? Crayon or aspirin?

Typically, you’re selling aspirin. Your products and services are taking away a pain . . . the pain of a home or building that is not adequately protected from the elements.

Of course, the looks of the customer’s home (crayon) can be a factor — and you’re aware of that when you sell, too. But at the end of the day, roofing is mostly aspirin. You’re not an “exterior designer” — you’re dealing with people’s roofs.


Are you selling Contentintals or Westlakes?

A lot of consumers aren’t experts in tires. They’ve heard of the “big” brands like Goodyear and Bridgestone, but beyond those, tire buyers often don’t know which is the best option for their money.

Take, for instance, Continental tires and Westlake tires, both of which are offered for sale in tire shops. Continentals are good, solid tires. Westlakes are often sold as a less expensive choice.

Both names sound fine. For the most part, the two brands look and seem pretty much the same.

The thing is, though, Westlake tires have had some problems — and aren’t recommended by car experts. If people did actually know the difference between these similar-seeming products, they would choose Continentals every time.

There is a similarity in a lot of roofing products as well — and just like with tires, consumers aren’t experts in the pros and cons of the various options. That’s okay — that’s where you come in.

Are you selling the solid product — or a similar one that’s not as good? And are you selling them as pretty much the same thing — or are you pointing out the important differences?


Are you selling a Sonic or a Cadillac?

(A Sonic is Chevrolet’s subcompact offering. It’s a fine car, I’m sure, just very small — and priced accordingly. It is very inexpensive.)

This matters, too, obviously. Are you selling a basic, bare bones item that’s just meant to get the job done? Or are you selling something that is more than that — a luxury item?

Top-of-the-line items are there for customers who want to spend in order to have “the best.” These products are for people want prestige and the knowledge that they’re getting the finest possible.

(There is nothing wrong with customers who want to pay for “the best!” Nor is there anything the matter with people who can afford lesser offerings.)

One nice thing about top-of-the-line items are that they can make your regularly-priced offering seem “tame” by comparison. We are big believers in good-better-best pricing here.

Use these comparisons when dealing with customers

These examples here should make pretty quick sense to you. They’ll make sense to your customers, too. Use these analogies if you’re trying to make a point in a sale.

Know what it is your selling and go make the sale!

Aspirin photo thanks to Open Knowledge Foundation. Crayons courtesy of Paul Stein. Tire sale courtesy of Yuya Tamai. Cadillacs thanks to That Hartford Guy.

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