Momentum Podcast: 126
Vitamin Vs Painkiller
by Alex Charfen
Understanding the difference between selling a vitamin, and a painkiller can make you hundreds of thousands, if not millions, or tens of millions of dollars, or keep you frustrated, stuck, upset, and confused, and worst of all causing market chaos. I know this because I've been there. Even though I understand intimately the difference between vitamin and painkiller, I've missed in my career, and sometimes in a big way, and it has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. Probably has cost me millions.
Understanding the difference between a vitamin or a painkiller can be the difference between making millions and making little or nothing.
Getting attention today is harder than it is ever been. There is more noise around the people you want to talk to then ever before. When you sell a vitamin, very few people will hear you, or care. This is a mistake I have made for years and it was incredibly painful, I'm in many here to save you from the same loss of momentum.
As soon as I realized I was selling my product as a vitamin instead of a painkiller, I changed everything and everything changed.
Apply this to your product or anything that you sell and you will get the same result.
Full Audio Transcript
Vitamin versus painkiller. Understanding the difference between selling a vitamin, and a painkiller can make you hundreds of thousands, if not millions, or tens of millions of dollars, or keep you frustrated, stuck, upset, and confused, and worst of all causing market chaos. I know this because I've been there. Even though I understand intimately the difference between vitamin and painkiller, I've missed in my career, and sometimes in a big way, and it has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars. Probably has cost me millions.
Let me explain, so the difference between a vitamin and a painkiller is this: If you are selling a vitamin, you're selling something that makes things better, that enhances someone's lives, that improves their current condition, that makes what they're doing somehow better, or somehow improved. When you're selling a painkiller, it's dramatically different. When you're selling a painkiller, you stop pain. You're selling something that you can tell someone, "We'll make something better for them. It will take a pain that they have in their lives, and make it go away."
Here is the difference: Selling a vitamin these days is near impossible to get attention. It's hard to get people to listen to them when you're telling them you're going to improve their lives, you're going to make things better, you're going to move things forward for them. But when you say I can take your pain away, you cut through the clutter, and the noise that consumers are faced with today.
Let me give you a few examples of how I did this successfully, and then I'll share with you how colossally I've missed as well. When I was younger, and I used to sell on retail TV, I knew that every product we sold on Home Shopping Network, every time I went live, I had to be selling a painkiller, even if my product was really an enhancement. Let me give you an example: At one point we introduced portable DVD players to the United States on Home Shopping Network. We had the least expensive one in the market, it was the first one that they had ever featured, and it was basically a portable player so that you could watch DVDs anywhere. What does that really do? That's an enhancement on watching DVDs at home. It's now portable, it's making it better. You can move it around. How could we show this as a painkiller?
Well, here is what we did: We got a set, got a car, and put it on the set, and then the hooked the DVD player to the back of the front seat, so that the kid in the backseat can watch it, and we sold the DVD player as a solution for pain because the Home Shopping Network buyer is a middle aged woman with expendable income, and a whole bunch of other things on their avatar, but a lot of them have kids. And so we talked about ... Instead of how great the portable DVD player was, and talked about the features, and the benefits, and everything else, what we really spent time on was how this was a way to alleviate the pain of the kids in the backseat asking, "Are we there yet?" And being frustrated, and entertaining them while you're on a road trip, while you're driving around, while you're waiting at a doctor's office, you can now carry entertainment with you.
Now obviously these days that probably would fall pretty flat because any phone works as a functional DVD player, and you can watch movies just about everywhere, but back then that was a huge painkiller. For the first time moms who drove any size car could say, "Wait, I can put a movie system in my car?" And we sold the crud out of this portable DVD player. In fact, we sold more in one day at Home Shopping Network, at one location, then Best Buy would sell with 1,000 stores at the time in an entire month, just to give you an idea of how much we put into the market because we sold it as a painkiller.
And it's not just business to consumer where you sell painkillers. I used to do business to business sales. I was a consultant. I met with Office Depot, Radio Shack, Walmart, BrandsMart U.S.A., Tiger Direct, Home Shopping, a lot of the major retailers in the United States. And our job was to get the product lines we worked with on to a planogram, into the stores, and displace somebody that the buyer was already working with. And here is what I can tell you about selling business to business, if you are selling an improvement, good luck. Because no one in a business to business environment is looking for a slight improvement. No one in a business to business environment is looking for things to just get better. What they're looking for is a dramatic difference or to lower the pain.
When I was going to meet with one of these retailers, and I had a competing product line for something they already carried, this is what I always did, I figured out what the product line they had was missing. I figured out where their pain was because of who they were already working. What were the deficits that, that brand had? What were the issues they had in fulfillment, in shipping, in products counts, in SKU size, in their assortment. And instead of going in with an improvement pitch 100% of the time, I would sit down with buyers and say, "I'm representing Fuji, and here is how we're gonna solve all the problems that you have with Sony. Let me explain." And buyers would listen because all I did was present that we were going to take away the pain.
We did this again. I'll give you one last example, and then let me show you how colossally I missed. As I explained to you how this is a place where I've done this my whole career. In 2008, when Cadey and I started selling the Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation, there were a lot of short sale, and foreclosure classes for real estate agents. There was a lot of people showing how to work through a foreclosure, work through a short sale. In fact, at the time we counted about 80 or 90 competitors. But this is interesting, most of them were selling short sales and foreclosures as a way to make money, as a way to cash in on the collapse, as a way to take advantage of the foreclosure crisis. We did the opposite. We sold our short sale designation as a way to stop the pain of being a realtor in 2008. Because in 2008 as a real estate agent you were getting calls from people that you may have sold to, may have not, but they didn't know what to do. They didn't know what they could do with their properties. They didn't know how to make their mortgage payments. They couldn't sell their properties because nobody was buying, and banks weren't financing.
And what we sold our designation as was a solution. We said we can stop the pain of the phone calls from people calling you asking what to do. We can give you clear answers, and a clear directive to give every client that you have, that is suffering, who is going through a hard time, and at that point a lot of the real estate agents were going through pain. They didn't want to associate with anybody who was out there saying take advantage of the real estate crisis, or this is the way that you can cash in on the real estate crisis. Because a lot of realtors, the most distressed person they knew was themselves. Let's remember when the real estate market collapsed, so did a lot of real estate agent's businesses. The way we presented ourselves drew those agents naturally to us, so that we could help them because we were talking about stopping the pain.
Now as well as I've done this, I've also missed by a country mile so many times in my career. And most recently for the past few years with the certified ... With the certified? With the Entrepreneurial Personality Type content, about three or four years ago I started sharing this, and I got on some of the most important stages literally in the world. I spoke at Genius Network. Russell Brunson invited me to Funnel Hacking. I spoke at Robin Sharma's Titan Summit two years in a row. I mean, I spoke on the same stage as one of the founders of Apple. Think about that, that is intense. I spoke with Shaquille O'neal, Greg Wells, Robin Sharma was there of course. The CEO of Starbucks. I mean, I've been on stages with Tony Robbins, with Peter Diamandis, with Dean Graziosi. But for years here's what I've been selling: the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, it will help you understand yourself better. That is about a big a vitamin turd as anybody has ever put out there.
And here was the issue, we we were selling vitamins, so did we get attention? Sure. We got some attention. We had people come to our office, and attend events. We got incredible results with the people who were here. Not only did they understand themselves better, they were able to grow their businesses, they were able to improve their relationships, scale their teams, and create momentum. But what we were selling was understand yourself better.
Earlier this year, I went to an event with Russell Brunson, and Russell looked at the Entrepreneurial Personality Type. I actually spoke, it was a small retreat that Russell hosted with some of the more experienced marketers that he works with, and it was incredible. I got to meet some of the smartest people I've ever met in my life. I got to hang out with friends of mine like Jason Fladlien, and Alex and Layla Hormozi, and Trey Llewellyn. I met new friends like Ray Higdon. And it was just an amazing, amazing event. And when I presented the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, I had the same reaction that I had gotten in so many rooms. Everybody was in awe. They were saying, "You've explained to me better than anybody else ever has." And then Russel said, "Yeah, this is the best lead generation I've ever seen. This is the best marketing I've ever seen."
And in that moment it hit me, I had been selling the vitamin as the product. I had been selling what was interesting as the product, and the fact was my knowledge of the Entrepreneurial Personality Type allowed me to create massive painkillers, but we hadn't been talking about it. In fact what we really do is help entrepreneurs stop disappointing themselves, and those around them. We help entrepreneurs stop the pain of building a team, and get into momentum with the people around them. We make, and we help entrepreneurs understand that time with their team will create momentum when they apply the right systems, and that is a game changer for any entrepreneur growing and scaling a business. That is a painkiller.
For years, I was trying to sell a vitamin and no one heard. As soon as I started talking about the paint that our clients were in, the pain of growing a team, the pain of scaling a business, the ambiguity of not knowing what to do next, who to hire next, what step to take next, and that we have systems to cure all of that, our phone hasn't stopped ringing, and we've been signing people up on a weekly basis to a mastermind for a million dollar plus companies, which are hard to find, but it's because we changed the dialogue from vitamin to painkiller.
I'll give you one last example of how this might apply in your business. When you look at all of your products right now, anything that you're selling, if they're not doing what you want them to, I want you to ask yourself am I presenting this as a vitamin, an improvement? Or is this a painkiller? Something that will stop pain in someone's life.
One of the most talented women I've ever coached is Natalie Hodson, and she is just intense in about a million different ways, and she has created a series of eBooks for women that are 100% incredible life changing transformational painkillers. One is called Abs, Core, and Pelvic Floor. It is one of those products that a lot of people would have a hard time putting out there. Because you have to have a very vulnerable, raw, and real discussion about wetting your pants. Here is what I mean by that: When a woman has a baby, if they go through natural childbirth, often, more often then we know, or more often then you would think, women end up with pelvic floor damage, and that means that if they sneeze, or jump on a trampoline, or cough, or get startled they can wet their pants. And that is one of the most embarrassing and socially challenging conditions to have, but Natalie just put herself out there and talked about it.
In fact she wet her pants on a video she was recording, and she just kept recording wearing a pair of gray sweatpants with herself wetting her pants, and that has endeared her, and connected her to more women because she has come out and said, "Hey, look, this happens. Let's look at it." And it's an absolute painkiller. That's why she has millions of dollars selling eBooks, selling eBooks for under $50 each. She has tens of thousands of women buy from her, and she recently has introduced her Modern Mom Lifestyle. Now Modern Mom Lifestyle is a vitamin, it helps you live a modern mom lifestyle, understand meal planning, understand movement, and exercise, and more of the things that Natalie does so well on a daily basis. I follow her on Instagram. I followed her before she became our client because I wanted to understand her when I talked to her, and I haven't been able to stop because she's so compelling.
Now that vitamin she is selling, Modern Mom Lifestyle is doing incredibly well because she's selling it directly to her tribe, to the people whose pain she has already stopped. If you have a vitamin, you can sell it to your tribe, but here is the problem: If you are trying to use a vitamin to build your tribe, you're gonna have a hard time. Here is what I know about Natalie: If she had gone out originally with a product called Modern Mom Lifestyle, she would have had a really hard time getting any type of traction around it at all. If she had tried to talk about this new ambiguous, and that is really ambiguous, Modern Mom Lifestyle, what does that even mean? If you understand who Natalie is, you understand what the product is, but if you didn't know her, you wouldn't know it.
Had she done that first, she would have just as much trouble as I had. But Natalie, thankfully was a lot more astute than I was, and saw the opportunity to help women in a place where really nobody else was, and because she has ended so many women's pain in a way that is real, raw, and vulnerable, Modern Mom Lifestyle is exploding. But I guarantee you there isn't a marketer in the world that could use that as a lead offer, and get the same traction that Natalie has. Here is why: She has sold the painkiller. Her market trusts her. The people that have bought from her trust her because they bought something from her that actually resolved their pain, and now they'll buy the lifestyle product. They will buy the vitamins. They will buy everything else from her.
For you, the way to apply this is to look at what you're selling, and ask yourself how does it stop pain? And that's how you should sell it. Because just about any product can be sold either way. But the fact is in today's market, with as much noise as there is, as many offers as there are, as much distraction as entrepreneurs, and people in general are going through, if you're not selling a painkiller, you will not cut through the noise. Take a look at your offers, take a look at how you're talking about your product. Ask yourself, what pain do we solve? And lead with painkiller. Keep the vitamins for the market that you already serve, and you'll see all of your numbers change. Because when a market trusts you to end their pain, your numbers will go through the roof.
Just to give you a little bit of perspective, the Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation that Cadey and I put into the market sold over 49,000 units. We graduated over 47,000. Over 95% of people who ever bought the product actually adopted it. That's what happens when you sell a painkiller. If you stack up all of our competition during that period of time, and every single unit they sold together, they wouldn't equal as much as we did with the CDPE designation. Because we were the first to sell it as a painkiller, we were consistent selling it as a painkiller, we improved our painkiller marketing over time. At the beginning it was stop the pain of short sales and foreclosures because nobody knew how to do them. Then as the market matured and grew, we were closures and short sales, and foreclosures faster because everybody was taking four to six months to close them, and our clients were doing them 50% faster. We had a different pain message, but we kept with the message of painkiller.
For you, take a look at what you're doing. Ask yourself what pain are you solving? And start leading with the fact that you take your clients out of pain, and into momentum, and you will be heard by a factor of well over ten to one if you're selling a vitamin. Take it from someone who knows, I've made this mistake for the last few years. The Entrepreneurial Personality Type content was so close and personal to me that I couldn't see how dramatically I was missing, and now that I can, it just couldn't be more obvious.
Thanks for listening today. I appreciate it. I hope that my mistakes, and the lessons that I learn can help you. I'm 45 years old. I've been in business for over 30 years, and I still learn on a daily basis from what I do, from what the people around me do, and I'm certainly willing to admit that I still have a lot more to learn, and I look forward to sharing it with you.
Thanks for being a member of the Momentum podcast listening audience, and if you haven't yet, download the book the Entrepreneurial Personality Type right now. If you have any type of behaviors in your life that you know you should be modifying, you should be changing, and would make your life better, the Entrepreneurial Personality Type book is a way to immediately understand why you have negative behaviors that are holding you back, identify them quickly, and eliminate them, so that you can create momentum. Because people like us create a tremendous amount of momentum when we drop the operational drag in our lives.
And if you're ready right now to stop feeling like you should be doing more, wishing you could produce more, knowing that there is more out there for you, and if you're ready to prove it? Download my book now. Go to FreeMomentumBook.com, and get yourself a copy.