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4 Major Reasons to Sell Value First

from Guy Kawasaki


Guy Kawasaki is one of those people who almost needs no introduction. The Silicon Valley-based author, speaker, and entrepreneur has had a notable career advising and evangelizing some of the world’s hottest companies, including Apple, Nike, Audi, Google, Microsoft, and Mercedes-Benz.

Based on his extensive experience, Kawasaki is the first to admit “the best way to recruit, evangelize, market, and sell is to have a great product. Because selling, marketing, and evangelizing a great product is easy. Selling, marketing, and evangelizing crap is hard.” There is, however, a catch.

As he shared on a recent Series Pass, even when a product is amazing, the approach to selling it is often erroneous. It’s pitched as a “patent-pending, curve-jumping, paradigm-shifting, enterprise-class, scalable, revolutionary” solution. Yet “every other CEO also stands up and says the same thing.”

According to Kawasaki, “Unless you’re saying something that’s directly opposite what everybody else is saying, you’re not saying anything.” And how exactly do you swim against the stream so you’re not hitting up your prospects with the same old sales pitch? By selling the value of what your company does, not the product or solution it offers.

While there are many reasons to this approach, here are four of the big ones:

1. Differentiating your product

“The genesis of most great tech companies is that people are creating something that they themselves want to use,” said Kawasaki. A first step to selling value is to tell your story. “People have been just pummeled with the same BS,” he adds. You can differentiate your company by letting prospects in on what’s at the heart of what you do.

Kawasaki shares that Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak first wondered why it was so hard for the average person to get access to a computer. You had to work for a large company, or the government, or attend a university. “Why couldn’t computers be smaller, cheaper, and easier to use? So in their garage they created Apple,” he said.

2. Giving your business longevity

“Most companies define themselves in terms of what they do, as opposed to the benefits they provide,” said Kawasaki. The danger in this is what happens when what you do is disrupted? Kawasaki further illustrates this by using ice as an example. Theoretically, its benefit is cleanliness and convenience. Whether you harvest ice, freeze water, or build a refrigerator, “it’s all the same.”

Not for the lake ice harvesters of the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were disrupted by the ice factory that froze water centrally and delivered it by trucks. And the ice factory was disrupted by the manufacturers of freezers and refrigerators that could live in every home.

“The very interesting story is that none of the ice harvesters became ice factories and none of the ice factories became refrigerator companies,” said Kawasaki. They were stuck in the ice making business, instead of focusing on the value their product provided.

3. Getting people to follow you

Right up there with the importance of having a great product is having an all-star team that believes in you and your product, and can sell it. “The ultimate recruitment story for me was in 1983,” said Kawasaki. “My classmate from Stanford takes me to this office in Apple and he says you can’t tell anybody what I’m going to show you.”

What this classmate proceeded to demonstrate was MacPaint and MacWrite on the Macintosh computer. The value was immediately evident to Kawasaki. Unlike the cumbersome Apple 2, it was easy and intuitive to write and draw. “It was like a religious experience. The skies parted, angels started to sing,” said Kawasaki, adding that “any idiot” could have evangelized that product.

4. Earning the right to promote

Even when selling on value, at some point you are going to have to introduce your product. “If you provide value, you can get away with promotions. That's the whole basis of my social media,” said Kawasaki.

His approach, including with his massive audience of 1.47 million Twitter followers, is to entertain, inform, and inspire. Kawasaki’s assumption then is that he also earns the right to promote his books, his company, the products he endorses, and his appearances, because he spends the far majority of his time providing value.

Most companies define themselves in terms of what they do, as opposed to the benefits they provide.”

Guy Kawasaki | Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Evangelist

Learn More

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.
Watch the Salesforce Series Pass webcast with Guy Kawasaki - 'The Biggest Tips for Business Growth.'



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