Interviews at start ups are always great. Even if you don’t get selected or don’t want to be selected, these interviews are a very good experience. There is a lot f learning in just the interview process.
Recently, I was asked a question in an interview for a sales job in a start up. What’s easier? Selling a Product or an Experience(Service)? There is a difference when it comes to selling an Experience or a Service and a Product. And my answer was ‘Experience’. The panel fired the next most expected set of questions ‘How? Why?’ and asked me to explain.
In my point of view, selling an Experience or a Service is the easier and most important part of a sales job. Because even if you are selling a Product, you’re selling the experience one can have using the product, or the way the product works and serves. Hence selling a Product is also selling an experience in a different way.
For example lets consider a Mobile Phone. A mobile phone is a product. So how do we sell a phone? We can highlight the specifications, the processor, RAM, Camera, storage, network, display, special features. But the main intention here is to explain the buyer or a prospect customer what he can do with the phone. A better processor and a RAM means faster experience. A good camera means better pictures. Good network provides faster and seamless connectivity. Good display and enough memory indicate that one can carry your world around and enjoy it anywhere. Any other special feature guarantees ease of access, or better usability. Thus while selling a product, we consider the uses or services given by the product to the user and highlight the feel or the experience of owning the product.
Looking at the same in the recent Galaxy S4 ads by Samsung, we see that they have dont show anything about what the product is, what’s inside or any numbers or figures on specifications etc. All they’ve done is advertising the feel. They have shown the cool factor of using your phone without touching it, the easiness of sharing a picture, the comfort of controlling your TV with your phone etc. They also show that people feel bad when they can’t do the same things with their phones and some people who are amazed with the product and thinking it will be good to have one. They show the positive experience, the coolness, easiness, etc and sell the product.
Not just mobile phones, any product is be sold only with the power of its experience or the service the user gets. Be it a mega industrial equipment or a software product, ‘what it can do?’ and ‘how it can do it?’ matter more than ‘what’s inside?’ or ‘who made it?’
The same thing with services, consider a car wash, a barber or a restaurant, It is the experience that matters. People don’t care about the stuff you use, the qualifications of your workers, or the machinery you have as long as you give them a pleasant experience. Be it a travel or tourism service or a training institute, making your customer feel like the King is the best way to sell your product.
People don’t really care what they buy or use . They just want the product or service to make them feel better, to do things in a easier way, to make them feel nice, to show off among their friends and to be cool.
So it is not the product or a service that we sell but the experience we can have with it.
And I got selected for the job, but didn’t take it. It was just one of those great interviews, a different experience!