tbs-12-29-16In this digital age, when so much is sold on line, we are in a race to the bottom pricewise. All we want to know is, “Where can I get it for less?” Once manufactures get swept up in that game, the features and benefits of their products seem to get reduced to a set of bullet points with the price as the main attraction. Are they missing something? We think so.

If it is true that people buy with their hearts and justify with their brains, then shouldn’t we address their heart felt positive emotions first? The modern simplification of the selling process has created an opportunity for an old-fashioned, but classic, approach to sales, “How will they feel when they buy your product or service?”

Is it freedom, confidence, strength, or security? Is it health, wealth, power or satisfaction? Or is it frugality, popularity, fun, or admiration? What is the positive emotion you are offering your customers? Once you can define those feelings, you have the key to their first decision – the one that comes from the heart. This can be stronger than the features, benefits, and yes, even the price!

When we started in the wine business, it was staid and standoffish, isolated and insulated. We were outsiders and didn’t think about it as the “wine” business. Because of all the controls and compliance associated with beverage alcohol, we thought about it as the “beverage alcohol business” which was broader and included various types of beverage alcohol. It included spirits and beer as well as wine.

So, we looked at the way these three types of beverage alcohol products were being presented in their marketing materials. We saw that wine was all about how the grapes were grown and how the wine was made. When we looked at spirits, we noticed it was geared to a predominately male audience, with how it’s made, and, at the time, generally portraying females.

But then we looked at beer. It was, “Just want to be your Bud!”, “It’s Miller time!”, and “The Silver Bullet!”. Not much about how it’s made, but more about how to have fun with the product. “Have fun,” we thought. Our wine sales slogan became “Get Barefoot and Have a Great Time!”

We sold the feeling of having fun in an industry that was all about how it was made. Fun was not on the agenda in those days. By selling the feeling we wanted our customers to enjoy, we had an advantage in the marketplace that wasn’t realized by the industry for nearly a decade.

Today, it’s time once again to realize that, after all, people make buying decisions with their hearts. The more we can access those feelings the greater our advantage in the marketplace. This is not to say that you don’t also have to have superior features, benefits and competitive pricing, but it is to say that all things being equal, feelings win! And lately, we’ve gotten away from selling feelings first.

So, your take home assignment for the New Year and beyond is to convert your products’ features and benefits into the positive feelings your customers will have when using them. Get that feeling up front in your catch phrase, marketing and merchandising materials. Get your endorsers to say how owning and using your product or service made them feel. When you successfully communicate the feeling, your products become more appealing!

You will be delighted to have the advantage this classic idea will give you in the New Year! See? It’s working already!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.