Can’t change the product? Change the offer.

“My buddy sells firewood; he took half of it and labeled it as ‘organic’ and managed to sell it at a 50% price increase. What vacuous marketing gimmick has worked for you?”

I saw this funny thread on and couldn’t help but read the other ideas readers submitted.  If you haven’t visited reddit, give it a try. Much better than wasting the day on Facebook. Some of the stories were amazing.

Have a look:

“At a craft fair I was selling fingerless gloves.  A teen was all excited that she found some ‘texting gloves.’  I changed the sign in front of the items to ‘texting gloves’ and sold all of them in a matter of minutes, at an increased price ($18, instead of the original $10.)”

“My friend lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, and he told me this story: his dog had puppies so they put an ad in the local paper (near Glacier National Park, so lots of resort towns nearby), saying ‘free to a good home.’  They waited two weeks and got no responses.  Then his wife re-ran the ad, same photos and everything, but instead saying ‘Blackfeet campfire dogs—$700.’  Sold all the puppies in two days.”

“My younger sister is the juice girl at a local brunch joint. Her job is to go around the restaurant convincing people to purchase juice.  She’s discovered that if she speaks with an English accent, she sells twice as much juice.”

“My uncle was buying a used car and was trying to talk the guy down from $7,000 to $5,000.  The seller said nothing doing, so my uncle left his phone number and told the guy to call him if he changed his mind. Then he had three of his friends go see the car separately, and tell the guy they’d never pay over $3,500 or $4,000 for it. The seller called my uncle back a few days later and sold it to him for $5,000.”

This phenomenon of perceived value versus real value can create a higher level of customer satisfaction, and the process can often be enhanced by great advertising.  If you like these stories, you might want to go here to see the great adman Rory Sutherland offer more stories on TED. It’s a great talk, and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

Most of my clients are banks, and it always surprises me when they name or describe their services in language that fails to focus on the benefit the service provides.  For example, banks now offer a service whereby a business scans its incoming checks and emails them to the bank to get instant use of the funds.  Saves a trip to the bank and what is known as “desk float.”

Wouldn’t you think they would call this service something like “Instant Cash” or “Easy Money,” something that has appeal, or explains the benefit more simply?

No.  They call it “Remote Deposit Capture.” Oh, the excitement!

So next time you are struggling with selling a product, simply look for some way to change your customer’s perception of value.  That’s how to…

Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

3 Responses to Can’t change the product? Change the offer.

  1. Jeanne Kelly-Rieken says:

    Along that same train of thought – when I sold annuities years ago I stopped talking about buying the product. I began talking about the benefits of OWNING it. I think people would rather own something than spend money to ‘buy’ something.

  2. Absolutely right Jeanne. A good line is often, “And here’s what this means to you…”

  3. suzykedz says:

    Excellent article – I’m now following your blog, and have just shared your site with two former colleagues in sales management. Thanks for the great insights.

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