How do I make my product stand out from the rest?

Whether selling a product or an animal, consider what’s in it for the buyer.

“What’s in it for me?” A successful entrepreneur knows this is the number one question your customers will ask themselves before making a purchase. Do you know how your customers will answer?

A potential customer will answer the question for a number of reasons:

  • The need that is met in utilizing your product.
  • The experience that is gained from purchasing the product.
  • The connection to others that occurs.

A need is met

Needs are those items you need in your life, something you cannot do without. Customers need the item to achieve success or results in their life. Needs differ with the person and are influenced by personal values. For example, food is a need, but the type of food can be either a need or a want. Ice cream is a want since it is not necessary in life. However, on a hot day, it may feel like a need to many people. Understanding these motivations is important in selling your product.

There is an experience gained from purchasing one product versus another

This can come from how a product is marketed. Is there an image or idea of wholesome chef on your cookies? Is the bracelet made with hand-picked stones? Is there a package that could incentivize the purchase such as a movie along with home-made popcorn? These experiences extend the value of your product.

How and where the item is sold could also be part of the experience. The 4-H or fair auction, a fun and easily accessible website or a decorative booth where there are interactions and experiences with you, the seller, can add value to the experience of buying your product.

The connection is what sells a product

A friend or celebrity uses or recommends the project. The relationship you have with the buyer also builds that connection when you have taken the time to interact with the customer and know what their needs and wants are. Take time to introduce yourself to potential customers and utilize strong customer service skills.

To practice understanding the “What’s in it for me?” concept, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development encourages you to think back to the last five items you bought in the last month. List them and record what need or want the item met for you. What attracted you to the item you bought (word of mouth, advertising, friend had one, etc.)? Were you satisfied with each one? Why or why not?

This same process will impact potential customers that come in contact with your product; try to think like one of your customers and see how they might answer the questions. Your ability to understand your customer’s wants, values and needs, and how effectively you show them what is in it for them, will determine your success as a businessperson. The National 4-H curriculum “Be the E” helps youth explore the concept of target market and knowing your audience.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development has many resources to assist youth with entrepreneurship and life-skill development.

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