Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why We Usually Don't Make Out at the Beginning of a Blind Date -- eBay Feature Positioning

Quite a few eBay listings start with bulleted lists of features.

In boxing this would be called leading with your chin.

In the dating world, I’d describe this as trying make out with a blind date when you first pick her up.

Feature lists are important to listings, but you don’t want to lead with them. In the dating scenario, you want to go to dinner first, discuss your strengths, values and interests. Don't consider these features. These are more like dream-connections. You're selling yourself as a dream. She'll go home and tell her friends, "I went out with this guy who's into surfing, tai-chi and global travel. He's the top salesman in his company, and he loves cats like me!"

The real functional features are your make-out compatibility attributes, how messy your apartment is, how much $$$ is in your bank account... You know, the stuff that really matters. ;-) So the first half of the date attempts to build up interest. Then you save the physical feature list (your make-out skills) for last.

You make a connection first. Then you close with the goods.

The same goes for eBay listings. Connect with the prospect’s dream first. Sell them on the idea of a new image, better health, a more productive work day, the promise of status or sexiness, or a money-making/profit proposition. Make the emotional connection and show them that you can offer these incredible, life-changing benefits.

Then you slam-dunk the sale with a feature list. Show them all the things your product has that make it equal to or better than a competitive product.

These kinds of descriptions can be as long or a short as necessary. It depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling a boat, the list could be quite long. If you’re selling printer refill cartridges, chances are the benefits and feature list will be small.

In any event, don’t try to make out at the beginning of the date. Wait until you’ve established a connection.

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