Are You Selling Vitamins or Aspirin?

When you (or someone from your business) talk with a potential prospect, what are you (or they) offering them? Are you offering them something that you perceive they need? Or something that they have a passionate and compelling want for? The difference between these two option is worth millions!

What makes this question so hard to answer for most of us is that we confuse the two. What we believe they need is what we believe they have a passionate want for–but do they?

Vitamins are good and necessary. We all know we ought to take them and that our body requires them to be fully healthy. Vitamins are clearly in the “everyone needs this,” category. The only problem is that most people don’t take them. And even those who do are often sporadic in their intake.

Why? Because even though we need them and even though we know that taking them is critical to our health and longevity, etc. the reality is that if we miss a day here and there it’s no big deal. We don’t die. We don’t notice any difference. And life goes on. So, while yes we need them, they’re not high on most people’s radar screens when they’re at the store and in a purchasing mode. A 90 day supply may last for 180 days (or more). And very few people rush out to the store when they finish their last vitamin.

On the other hand, when someone has a throbbing headache, and they don’t have any aspirin (or acetaminophen) on hand, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll get in their car, frantically drive to the nearest grocery store or pharmacy or convenience store and pay whatever the price is on the bottle to get some pain relief.

In other words, it’s infinitely better to be in the pain relief business then the vitamin business!

Now, once you own this principle, it should change both what you offer and the way you offer it. For example, let’s say you’re actually in the vitamin business, how would you market your vitamins? Not in terms of the quality of the ingredients or the process you used to make them or the percentage of the daily requirements. People don’t care.

No, you’d want to market immediate benefits to them — improves sexual potency, decreases weight, fights off colds, increases energy, reduces depression, improves complexion, etc. In other words, even vitamins don’t need to be marketed as vitamins.

So, if you’re in the “vitamin” business (i.e. you offer something that people need but don’t necessarily want), then you’ll want to figure out how you can market what you’re offering in such a way that it’s perceived to be a want (a pain reliever) versus a need (a vitamin).

But that said, as you look forward, when you’re looking at new products and/or services to offer, my encouragement (if you want to accelerate the growth of your business) is to make sure you’re always choosing to add “aspirin” products and services to your product and service offerings versus “vitamin” products and services.

How do you do that? By finding a pain point. For example, if you’ve ever been frustrated with your financial institution and wanted to leave, chances are you’ve been held back by one thing–it’s a pain to switch. Once you’ve inputted all your bill pay data (account numbers, P.O. Box addresses, etc.) for 50 or more billers, the thought of having to do that again is mind numbing. You may hate your bank, But the pain of re-inputting all of your data (and auto bill pays and direct deposits etc.) keeps you there for years

So, if I were a techie, I’d want to be the person who created a program that could easily transfer that data from one bank to another because if I solved that pain, I know there are a lot of people and financial institutions who’d want to buy that far more than another computer program to help people manage their money. Managing money is a “vitamin,” something everyone ought to do. But a program that can transfer data when you’ve just had another bad experience with your bank–that’s a pain remover.

So, what business are you in? The vitamin business or the aspirin business? And even if you’re in a vitamin business (let’s say you’re a wills and estates law firm–and yes, everyone needs a will), how can you change your marketing to help people perceive you’re in the pain relief business?

Remember, it’s infinitely better to be in the pain relief business then the vitamin business!

To your accelerated success!

P.S. This is a great exercise to do with your staff team. Also, take out your marketing materials (both online and offline) and see what you’re marketing. Do you need to make any changes?

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