MBA COURSES Tuesday 29th Jan 2019

You're either selling stories or shovels

  1. A shovel is something you can't do without. People are looking for it themselves. You don't have to convince anyone that you need it. True, your market is limited from above by the number of people who need it. And the only one who wins here is the one who is better than the others by ruthlessly measurable parameters 
  2. We can do without everything else. So we can only sell it if we manage to attract attention and arouse lively interest - that is, tell an interesting story.
  3. There are two big advantages to selling a story. The first is that our market is virtually unlimited. Its size depends only on how fascinating our story is. The second plus is that we will be fairly superficially compared to our competitors, if they even do. And the funny thing is that in that comparison, the one whose story is more interesting will win. All the other numbers and arguments are only needed to justify the choice made emotionally.
  4. There is nothing wrong with selling stories. Apple, Netflix, Robinhood, TikTok, the entire fashion industry, books, music, movies, and many, many others sell stories, proving by example that the benefits described in the previous point exist. For example, in the education market, there are only two types of spade sellers - schools and universities (yet). Everyone else is actually selling stories, not shovels.
  5. By the way, there's a very simple test question - do we sell stories and shovels. Take your customers and ask - "between what and what did you choose, and why did you buy it from us?" The lack of a long process and clear selection criteria - tells you that we don't sell shovels at all.
  6. The most dangerous thing is to think we're selling shovels if they're not shovels. Because, first, we will be narrowing our market to those for whom it really is a shovel. Second, we'll be wasting time and energy trying to compare ourselves to the competition on some measurable parameters, making up logical arguments for customers... And wondering why sales are bad. Although you should quit all that nonsense and start coming up with interesting and entertaining stories. Which will turn out to be more fascinating than the competitors' stories.
  7. Actually, Elon Musk was right when he said that we live inside the Matrix. Only this Matrix is called the media business. So to hell with logic. We have to learn to make up interesting stories.