Sell What People Want, Not What You Want Them To Want…
Are any of you old enough to remember Close Up toothpaste commercials? Their slogan was “Get closer!” They weren’t selling dental health; they were selling ROMANCE. Nobody wants to kiss someone with fuzzy teeth. (But if you do, keep it to yourself please.) THAT’S how to get people to brush their teeth: sell them kisses.
Today I went to the famous auction house Bonham & Butterfields to get some stuff appraised. I have some things that I suspect are valuable, and I wanted to find out just what they’re worth. I brought an old Buddha statue, an older (2300 years old) bracelet, and some art from a famous painter.
It was very interesting.
My first stop was at the “specialties” table. When your bracelet dates back to 300BC, the appraisers here take photos to send to the experts in London. This is something that belongs more in a museum than on my wrist, and I’ll probably auction this piece off.
Next stop was the Asian Art table. All my life I’ve wanted my grandmother’s Buddha statue. When I was a fat little girl, I was fascinated that half the world was worshiping a fat guy while I was getting teased. I studied Buddhism in college because of this statue. My mother and grandmother have always told me it was hundreds of years old and very valuable, but until I could get it appraised, how could I know?
My lord! The appraiser thinks my heavy bronze Buddha (just try lugging that thing around!) is from the Ming Dynasty. There are still traces of gold leaf from long ago. This guy is worth a lot! I could potentially buy a house with my little fat bronze man.
And finally I stopped at the painting table. My grandfather was a famous artist of the mid 20th century. His paintings hang at the Whitney Museum in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of DC, and the National Academy of Design. He taught art at Otis Parsons, etc. He’s in the art history books.
See this picture above? It sold for $425.00 at a 2006 auction. Amateurs make more off paintings they sell on coffee shop walls! Back in 1951, France’s Le Monde newspaper told its readers that “Edward Chavez, Keith Finch, and Robert Greco are without doubt the artists most frequently admired by American critics.” As the appraiser said, his art is wonderful, he’s historically important, but there’s no market for him these day these days. Good thing I’m not looking to sell…
What’s the point here? Things have value, and they have market value. Sometimes the two coincide, and other times they don’t. I know the value of Grandpa’s work. Any art critic could tell you the value of Grandpa’s work. I could probably even build a market for Grandpa’s work if that were a priority. But when you get right down to it, it’s easier to sell things that people want, like Ming Statues and ancient jewelry.
I teach this to my clients all the time: you have a duty, if you want to help people, to find out what they WANT. You can give them what they need if you can give them what they want, first.
When you take a look at your special contribution in life–that gift that so many of you feel compelled to bring to the world–you cannot fulfill your purpose until you learn to RESPECT the market.
That’s why I sell Financial Alchemy. I have a solution that people really, really want. From the first day I wrote an article on changing your relationship with money, I was knocked out by the response. THE MARKET CHOSE MY NICHE FOR ME. What I do with clients has more to do WITH LOVE, HEALING, FREEDOM, SELF WORTH, and HAPPINESS than it has to do with cash. I love to share the dollar amounts because they’re a wonderful side benefit of the real work we do.
Sell people what they want, not what they should want, not what you want them to want! This is NOT about selling out. It’s about not selling what isn’t valued. Hear the difference?
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Very true Morgana – and also a source of frustration if there’s a gap between what one loves to do / passionately wants to offer and what the market apparently wants ..
What’s your best tips for being in integrity with oneself – which for me includes not being a square peg in a round hole / not contorting myself to fit a mould cast by another – AND building a healthy, profitable business that sells what people want to buy?
Aaah. Great question. Authenticity is one of the most magnetic sales tools you have. The more courageously you are yourself, the more attractive you’ll be. Serve what people want, but do it YOUR way! That’s what sets you apart from the competition.