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“But How The $&%* Do I EXPLAIN What I’m Selling?”

In: Marketing, Writing,

You know how when you go to talk about something you’re selling (a class, a product, an idea…) and you’re all, “BUT HOW DO I EXPLAIN THAT?” (Cue brainstorm hangover.)

Things are always so much easier to understand in your head, aren’t they?

After all, YOU know what you’re selling.
YOU know how great it is.
YOU know that X, Y and Z works.

So, why is it so hard to talk about?

The first reason is because words are hard, yo. They just are—especially when the pressure’s on. Ask anyone who’s ever proposed marriage / got pulled over for speeding / had to explain to their spouse why they JUST! NEED! SOME! ALONE! TIME! (Pro tip: Oh, wait. I have exactly ZERO pro tips on that one.)

The second reason is because we’re all secretly afraid other people are going to somehow judge us / be skeptical of us / think we don’t actually know what in god’s grapes we’re talking about (you like that one? god’s grapes?) so we start using all of these big, fancy, obnoxious words to overcompensate for the fact that we are, in fact, feeling just a TAD BIT INSECURE, FOLKS. (We also do this because we paid $100K to get a college degree to learn words like “multifarious” and by golly we want to use ‘em.)

And the third reason is because we’ve got Chemistry Teacher Syndrome, which is really just my own nickname for the phenomenon that occurs when a person eats, breathes and live a topic for so long, that they can no longer be objective about it, and then you know what happens? They talk over everybody else’s big, fat, gigantic head. Rightttttt on over ‘em. And we forget that, you know, most laymen don’t actually register the term “Ayurvedic Life Force”, say—much less why they should give a flying flip about it.

Which brings me to The Republic of Tea. Yes, this former tea-snubber is talking about TEA today, folks. Hide your kids.

Just yesterday, I took a little trip to the place I like to zen out most: Wegman’s.

There I am, fighting the urge to keep myself out of the cheese aisle (Cooper’s White American, sliced extra thick, is absolutely a drug), when I suddenly spot the tea aisle. Now, let me be honest with you: I normally don’t have any kinds of bestial urges to go down the tea aisle. I mean, IT’S THE TEA AISLE. It’s an aisle full of dried dandelions wrapped in a blankie of Biore pore strips. Doesn’t really light me on fire, you know? But alas, in an effort not to be shunned by the YPWW (yoga-pant-wearing-women) of the world, I thought I’d take a gander. Surely stepping foot in THE AISLE earns me some kind of happy-yo-lucky karma points, right?

And that’s when I spotted it: The Republic of Tea.

These weren’t your usual boxes of tea bags—your chamomile, your oolong, your chai, your poached pear cider apple. These were something else. Something beautiful. Something far beyond what any tea had dared to do.

The Republic of Tea had—gasp—decided to name their teas, not by the name of the tea itself, but by the effect the tea was designed to have.

Get Happy!
Get Charged!
Get Gorgeous!
Get Smart!
Get Some ZZZ’s!

And instantly, I found myself oooooolonging all over the packaging.

Now, I’ve got to say, this is a fine example of “selling the benefits, not the features,” as you’ve probably heard fifty million times. But the problem is…not enough people actually *do* it.

Most tea companies are out there trying to sell their chamomile…by selling it as chamomile.
Most life coaches are out there trying to sell life coaching…by selling it as life coaching.
Most web designers are out there trying to sell web design…by selling it as web design.

But what if they were missing the point all along?

People don’t want those things.

They want the end game of those things. They want the happy and the charged and the gorgeous and the smart. And Republic of Tea didn’t just know that—they took it a step further. They said that. Right on the tin, the package, the label and the bag.

Here’s what you want. Plop. Here’s what we’re selling. Plop. Enter: Match made in heaven.

Contrast that with the “Ayurvedic Life Force.” How do I know that’s my match made in heaven? How can I know that’s what I’m looking for…unless I already know?

Pro tip (one I can actually offer):
Not all of your customers are as educated as you.

But if you’re doing it right…

…they won’t have to be.

(Says the tea-hater who picked up a $10 dollar tin of Get Lost tea. Turns out, I DO wander down the cheese aisle now and again, eh?)


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