What Are You Really Selling?

It’s easy perhaps to think that the thing you’re selling is the product you can hold, the service you deliver or the extra widget that’s just been added.

Easy perhaps to believe that the actual product – the thing we can hold, deliver or remove – is the thing that people are really buying.

But in considering what you sell, it’s important to acknowledge that there are three elements or levels to it.

The first is the Actual Product, which is the tangible product or service. It includes things such as the features, design, packaging, and the brand.

The second level is the Augmented Product and includes the delivery, support, service, warranty, and finally, implementation.

The third level is the Core Benefit, and this addresses the question, ‘What is the buyer really buying?’ It is the part of the product that bridges the gap between where they are today and where they hope to be at some point in the future and it usually links directly to what we describe as the customer’s Critical Issue – their goals, objectives, problems or challenges.

So, if the Critical Issue which has been identified is improving capacity, then that Core Benefit highlighted should link directly back to that Critical Issue of increasing capacity.

The reality is that with little to differentiate the functional performance of most of the top products, it’s not what you’re selling that matters but how it relates to the customer’s goals, objectives, problems or challenges that makes the biggest difference.


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