Jan 23, 2002

If You Sell Just Water Softeners, You Could Be Making a Lot More Money

Have you ever done a great demonstration only to find that the customer just isn’t interested? We all have that happen occasionally, but sometimes we cause their apathy by emphasizing the wrong things. What I mean is that people do not buy steel tanks, resin and valves, they buy emotions, dreams and love. Let me explain.

Look at McDonald’s restaurants. They could sell you a
burger and fries. But, their commercials don’t talk about good food, they
talk about, “You deserve a break today” and

“We love to see you smile.” They show
grandfathers basking in the love a child gives them as the child opens the
Happy Meal. They know people buy the dream, not the burgers.

There is a popular dandruff shampoo commercial running on
television that has a great lesson for us. Think about it. No one needs
dandruff shampoo. I mean, dandruff won’t kill you. So how do they sell
it? Do they have a chemist on the screen explaining how the product works? No,
they show a lonely guy suffering from rejection. He starts using dandruff
shampoo and in a few seconds, his life turns around.

Do we really believe dandruff shampoos will get us all the
women we can stand or that Happy Meals will make our grandchildren love us
more? Apparently these images make us want to buy products. These giant
advertisers do lots of research to prove what works before they invest in
nationwide ad campaigns.

So what does this have to do with selling water equipment?
Plenty. If you are still talking mostly about valves, resin and TDS, you could
be doing better by selling the dream. Here are a few examples of phrases and
images you might want to try in your demonstration that sell the dream and the
emotions. They are based on some of the motivating factors advertising research
has proven to motivate buyers nationwide.


“Imagine how great you will feel as people notice the
younger, smoother skin and shinier, more manageable hair that you will have
from using soft, conditioned water.”


“You’ll feel great knowing that soft water has
done 35 percent of your housework each week. You’ll never have to scrub that
bathtub again. Soft water is like having a maid who pays you to help with your


Yes, envy is a big seller. Notice how many commercials are
based on envy or putting something past friends and loved ones. You might use
images such as, “Imagine the look on your friends and family as they see
your sparkling crystal and flatware. They will admire you for your home’s
sparkle and wonder how you find the time to keep your home so impeccably clean.
You’ll smile, knowing your water conditioner does the work and you take
the credit.”


“The numbers you gave me show that our equipment will
save you about $70 per month in soap and cleaning supplies ... that’s
about $840 per year or a saving of more than $12,600 over the life of the
equipment. That’s about a 46 percent return on your investment per year.
Imagine the feeling of pride and accomplishment you will feel every time you
turn on your faucet knowing you have improved your families life style, and are
making a 46 percent return on your investment each year. It doesn’t get
any better than that.”

Sound a little flowery and overdone? Maybe, but watch your
television closely and you will see that products are sold using these kinds of
images and phrases. How would your demo and the phrases you use stack up
against the commercials consumers are used to seeing?

A very wise advertising guru once said, “Sell the
lawn, not the grass seed.” What he meant was to sell the great feelings
having a green, perfect lawn would give the consumer instead of telling them
the technical features of the seed.

These techniques not only make it easier to motivate
customers to buy, they also eliminate price objections. Again, if you watch
television commercials, you will find that the more expensive products promote
image and emotions. For example, in our area, there is a great commercial for
an expensive restaurant that shows a couple having a romantic dinner. You can
see how much in love the dinner has made them and how exciting their night will
be thanks to great food, service and atmosphere. They don’t tell you the
price or show you the food, just the emotions and image. This restaurant is
always full and dinner for two costs about $150. The price isn’t a factor
because the emotional sale is so strong. If you are running into a lot of price
objections, it could be because you are selling “a burger with
fries” instead of “the most romantic evening of your life.”

Give it a try. It may seem a bit unusual at first, but I
think you will find, just as top advertisers worldwide have found, you’ll
sell more if you sell the emotions, image and feelings than if you just sell

About the author

Carl Davidson is the president of Sales & Management Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in sales and management video training and live seminars. He is the author of several books including Secrets of Accountability Management. His articles are read by more than 60,000 sales professionals monthly. Send comments on this article to him at [email protected]. For a free demonstration video and list of products and topics, call 800-941-0068.