You know how sometimes kids say the wisest things?
The other day I was down in the basement putting in a load of laundry. Pretty routine – except I was trying out this new detergent.
Actually it’s not detergent at all, it’s these nut shells that contain soap-like compounds. You put a few in a little muslin bag and throw it in with your wash, and the clothes come out clean.
Like I said, I was trying it out for the first time. And I had my doubts. How could these silly nuts possibly clean a whole load of wash? But when I unloaded the machine, the clothes smelled sweet and fresh.
“WOW! These things really WORK!” I exclaimed.
My daughter looked at me in surprise. “Of course they do! Why wouldn’t they?
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Her comment stopped me cold. Indeed – why wouldn’t they work?
I realized that as much as I believe in the need for environmental products, I still struggle with the deeply embedded cultural belief that more technologically “advanced” products will do the job better.
My daughter, on the other hand, has been growing up listening to my lectures (and, I have to admit, sometimes my lip service) about environmental values. More importantly, for the past eleven years she’s observed my admittedly imperfect striving to live in harmony with Nature.
Clara herself thrived on Nature’s perfect food as an infant. She was present during the many La Leche League meetings I led, helping other breastfeeding moms nurture their babies as Nature intended, and used to carry her dolls around in her own little organic sling.
She watched as I composted kitchen and garden scraps and returned them to the Earth, enriching our garden soil…then again as the seeds we planted in that soil blossomed into thriving plants…
…and she feasted on the bounty our garden provided – without unnatural chemicals or fossil fuels.
She helped clean our home with vinegar and baking soda, and never picked up the idea that “sqeaky-clean” can only be attained with the help of chemical cleaners.
In the end, she’s internalized it. Clara has accepted – at a gut level – the power of natural products.
It’s the power of experience – and of demonstration.
The Power of Experience
Remember the old parenting joke, “Do what I say, not what I do?” It’s funny because we all know it doesn’t work.
In marketing, too, as in parenting, we’ve got to do more than talk about our products.
Did you ever have a Kirby sales rep come to your door? Sure, they talk about the vacuum cleaner and what it will do for you. But the real magic in their presentation comes when they dump a bunch of dirt on your carpet and vacuum it up with your own machine – and then throw a filter into the Kirby vac’s hose and suck up a ton of dirt out of the very same spot – thus proving through experience the benefits of owning their product.
Do you think they’d sell nearly as many vacs if all they did was talk?
Not on your life.
Experiencing is believing. One of the reasons many people still distrust the effectiveness of green products is because they have no experience using them.
In-person demonstrations are an ideal way to dispel doubts about a product. But it’s not always possible.
Here are a few ways to show (rather than just tell) your prospects just how effective your product is, even if you’re restricted to print or web:
- Free samples
- Diagrams, charts and graphs
- Testimonials (yes, it’s telling, but it allows your prospect to vicariously share the experience of a satisfied customer.)
- Stories (again, it’s telling, but storytelling activates the “experience” part of the brain.)
- Analogy – if you can link your product to something they’re familiar with, you’ll tap in to their already existing experience.
Can you think of any more? If you can, share them below!
Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer who helps Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.
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