31 March 2016 | 29 Comments
You have a pen. I don’t. Sell me this pen.
This is a classic job interview question, especially for sales positions. How would you answer?
Quartz recently featured the preferred answer according to hiring manager Mike Hillyer. Here’s his example, which involves a toaster, not a pen:
If I ask you to sell me a toaster and you immediately start telling me about features and benefits, how many slices it can toast, how it can, you are not getting hired.If you ask me how often I toast bread, how many slices I need to toast per hour, what I liked about my last toaster, etc. then you made it through the question.
Basically, Hillyer likes when people focus on discovery instead of pushing a product.
As Kickstarter creators, we tend to be in love with our products. Because of that, when we sell to people, our instinct is to focus on the features. We assume that if we list enough amazing elements, we’ll find one that resonates with the listener.
But, as Hillyer says, there’s a better, more direct path to connecting someone to the product that’s right for them. And it may not necessarily be your product.
During the Scythe Kickstarter, someone asked me on social media to sell the game to them. “Convince me to buy Scythe,” they said.
I could have told the person about Scythe’s asymmetric factions, the encounter cards, the fancy components, etc. Instead, I asked, “What are your top 3 favorite games?” I focused first on discovering the other person’s tastes.
Sometimes when I ask that question, the person responds with some games that share elements with Scythe. For example, maybe the person says, “I love Stone Age,” and I can say, “Cool! Me too. I like the balancing act between adding more workers versus building an engine. Scythe has elements of that too.”
Sometimes, though, the person tells me that they love a game that shares no similarities to Scythe, like The Resistance. That’s when I reply, “Awesome! I’ve had a lot of fun with that too. Scythe is very different than The Resistance, though, so it may not be a good fit for you. Have you tried Good Cop Bad Cop?” I’d rather they spend their hard-earned money on a game they’ll love from another publisher than a game they’ll regret from me.
Most of the time, though, there is some kind of a connection to make, and the person walks away better equipped to make an informed decision about my Kickstarter project.
If this method of selling is new to you, go ahead and give it a try in the comments. Sell me your Kickstarter project.