If you love your product, don’t expect it to sell itself.
If your product is as sexy as the products that Steve Jobs sold, then go ahead and pitch away. The product will do all the heavy lifting for you. It will practically sell itself. You might have to ask after your pitch.
But your product might not be quite that sexy. You might not have a line of people waiting to buy the latest version of whatever it is you sell. And if you sell B2B, pitching the product early in the sales conversation can be problematic.
Product Is One Level of Value
There are four levels of value. The first and lowest level of value is the value of your product itself. Product value is important, and the end users care deeply about Level 1 value. But it usually doesn’t answer the question “Why must I change?” Pitching product is why your dream client isn’t compelled by your pitch and doesn’t recognize you as different.
Level 2 value is “experience,” which includes things like service and support. It transcends and includes Level 1 value. While this is important, it’s not always the most compelling way to enter a commercial conversation. Neither is Level 3 value, or return on investment. Each of these levels transcends and includes the lower levels. And all the levels are necessary because different stakeholders need different outcomes.
Much of the time, the strategic level of value, Level 4, is the most compelling area of value when it comes to answering the question “Why must I change?”
You Are More Than Your Product
You have a choice as to where you enter a commercial conversation with your dream client. If you enter at the lowest possible level, Level 1, then your dream client will perceive you as someone who sells a product. If you enter at the highest level, Level 4, then they will perceive you as a consultative salesperson and trusted advisor.
Your prospective customers and clients will allow you to determine the level of value that you create. If you decide to play at the lowest level, that will be their perception of you, and they’re more than happy to commoditize you. If you have the chops to play at the higher level, then that is how you will be perceived.
If you love your product, make it part of the largest value-creating solution that you can create, and recognize that you are still the largest part of the value proposition.