Your Product Isn't What You Think It Is

I believe there are 5 critical traits to success as a small business person.  They are: Drive, Risk Tolerance, Salesmanship, Financial Savvy, and Constant Creativity.  

For long term prosperity, you need to regularly ReInvent yourself and your offering in the eyes of your customers.  To do this, you’ll use all 5 of those aforementioned traits.  Especially salesmanship.  

What exactly are you in the business of selling?  

When I quit corporate America in 1994 to become a professional comedian, I worked diligently on being funny and selling my act. I thought I was in the business of selling jokes.  I was wrong.  Only joke writers get paid for jokes.  Performers get paid for laughs.  

Success came when I realized my clients were paying me for a feeling I created.  I made their people happy.  My show made memories for the audience. 

What does the transformed “you” deliver?

I’ve transformed my offering several times since the mid 90’s.  (I don’t do political comedy dressed as Bill Clinton anymore!)  But the fundamentals of what my product delivers to a paying client are always in focus.  

In Sales 101 you’re taught to distinguish between features and benefits.  Are you doing this?  Customers buy benefits, they don’t care about your features. 

An old sales story: A guy goes to the hardware store looking for a drill bit.  Does he want a drill bit?  No, he wants a hole!

Make your value proposition crystal clear

Many businesses don’t grasp their value proposition.  It’s not about you.  It’s likely not about your product either.  It’s about the product of your product.  Meaning, what does the customer derive from your offering? 

Salesmanship is one of the five critical traits to entrepreneurial success.  Your selling job will be infinitely easier when you understand why your clients give you their money.  If you don’t know, ask them.  I did 2 decades ago.  Amazingly, none of my clients told me they paid me for jokes.  That’s when it crystalized what exactly I’m selling.

Damian Mason is a businessman, speaker, writer, farm owner, and small biz consultant.  Find him at