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  • Chris Vail

You need to sell it, not just tell it.

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

I used to work as a life insurance wholesaler. In layman’s terms, that means I represented insurance companies and their products to the agents in the field, who in turn sold those products to their clients.


Part of an insurance wholesaler’s job is to get insurance underwriters within those companies to accept more risk. I once had an agent call me to ask my help in getting $25 Million in coverage for one of his obscenely wealthy clients.


When we got around to discussing his client’s less-than-perfect health, which I’d have to explain to the underwriters, he said, “this is a huge case. You can’t just tell it. You have to sell it.” This was a situation where we’d need to look beyond the basic facts, and get creative.


What does this have to do with the watch industry? I’m glad you asked…

When we look at watch prices, and the demand for certain brands, how much of the price is driven by the utility of the watch, meaning, its ability to tell time, hopefully accurately? How much is driven by the spec sheet and components?


Why does a stainless steel, 20 ATM dive watch from one company sell for $2000, but only $200 from another company, when both share similar, if not identical specs and performance?

What differentiates one from the other, in the mind of the buyer, when the buyer is faced with an ocean of similar choices?


We all know the answer, don’t we? Whether it’s “luxury”, “heritage”, “craftsmanship”, “fit and finish”, or some other value, many of which are completely intangible, the company selling the $2000 dive watch is giving us reasons to spend more, whereas the company selling the $200 dive watch isn’t.


In a nutshell, one company is simply telling it, whereas the other is selling it.


For brand owners, this is a concept with powerful implications. When we’re engaged in product development, we spend a lot of time thinking about specs and components.

When we’re ready to talk about that product, what do we talk about? Answer: very likely, we’re all talking about the same things - the specs and components.


But, that’s just telling, not selling. Every brand that makes a watch is hopefully disclosing their specs and components to potential buyers.


What is your brand doing to get your watch to stand out from the sea of other watches with similar, if not identical specs and components? What makes YOUR watch different from the next brand's watch in the mind of the customer?


Design? Value? Quality?


Okay, those are all potential differentiators, but…don’t we all think our designs are great? Don’t many brands compete on value? Don’t we all claim to have great quality?


Within Microbrand University’s Business Accelerator workshop, we’ll get into what brand owners can REALLY do to differentiate, and SELL the product we make, rather than just TELL people about it.

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