A lot of successful people have said that we always have to think about the customer and to think about the sales. You’ll hear me talk a lot about sales because it’s a skill we all have to master. In business, the only way to remain in business is to sell successfully. No one will buy anything from you if you don’t master the art of selling.

I got a couple of key insights on sales at the Los Angeles conference. This hierarchy of sales breakdown came from someone who used to be the only guy in the US to have a PHD in sales.


1. Commodity items

This is the lowest level at which the hierarchy starts. I think most of us can agree that, when it comes to commodity items, the only factor that matters is price. If you really don’t care what the commodity is, you’re only going to look at the price.

2. Products

This comes after commodity. You can think about cereal and other such items. Every time you walk into a supermarket you see a lot of different products. here, you’ll potentially look at couple more factors than price but not many more…it’s mostly a simple decision that’s mostly price based.

3. Service

After product, not surprisingly, comes service. Everyone’s talking about the service economy age we’re moving into. Service commands a bigger price premium than just a product. The goal is to move down the selection criteria: the further down you move, the further up you can move the price. You can charge more for service than you can for ‘just a product’, as it were.

4. Experience

Experience comes after service. Sadly, most people stop at this point. Remember, our biggest competitor, Centerpointe sends out a demo in the mail so that people really experience their product.

One brand that a many people know is Starbucks. Starbucks is an experience. The coffee may cost more than it does elsewhere, but it’s the experience that matters. You’re not buying coffee when you go into Starbucks –you’re buying a lifestyle (which is really the experience).

Are you selling a product? If so, how are you going to start selling the experience?

However, you don’t stop here.

5. Transformation

A transformation is even more powerful than an experience. I can go to Starbucks, but it doesn’t change my life. If you can help someone quit smoking or otherwise completely change their life, how do you put a price on that? What’s the price tag for an experience that completely transforms an individual?

Are you selling transformations today? If not, how can you really capture that?

There’s only one thing better than transformation.

6. Guaranteed Personal Transformation

This is the only step after transformation. If you can guarantee someone that they’ll have a positive personal transformation, that’s way better than just a transformation. With normal transformation, they might go on holiday and it might or might not work out…who knows?

Antony Robins, for example, has tons of fans; anyone who has ever gone there is an evangelist and raves that he is the go-to person to take your life to the next level. When you hear it enough times, you think to yourself, ‘it seems to work for so many people, maybe I should check it out’.

Efficient Frontiers is also a good example. They go into companies and say that unless they get an immediate boost of 20% by using their technology, they don’t have to pay. It’s guaranteed transformation. They are managing ad spends of hundreds of millions per month –almost shockingly high. That’s the power of guaranteed personal transformation.

Jay Abraham always talks about risk reversal. “If you’re not satisfied, get your money back” is not nearly as compelling as “If you don’t get at least 20% improvement, you don’t pay”. That sounds even more powerful. Obviously, you must have an incredible offer to be able to do that, but that is the power of nestling at the high end of the hierarchy.

If you have a truly guaranteed personal transformation, it’s the easiest sale –you don’t need to greatly convince people especially if you are addressing one of their core pains.

Eliminate your competition. The days of basing your product solely on its USP are almost gone, and this is why the UEP is so important. Today’s lesson, in short: a guaranteed personal transformation is hard to duplicate and replace. What are you selling?

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