People Buy Outcomes… What Do You Sell?

After many years of procrastinating, I recently decided to take up singing lessons. 

While doing my breathing and vocal exercises during my second lesson, I imagined what it would be like to sing in front of my friends and family. 

The thought of that excited me but scared me at the same time.   While doing the exercises, I had a powerful epiphany that is also relevant in business. 

And that is your potential customer buys the end – how they will feel when their re-brand,  website or brochure is complete, not what happens in-between. 

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Effectively, they don’t care about your methodology, staff problems or any other inconvenience; your potential customer is only interested in what they will be able to do that they could not do before. 

Customers buy the feeling of relief when you have saved them from prosecution for breaking health and safety regulations; or winning a tender after several failed submissions. 

If you run a catering business, your customer buys the comments about the food, the presentation, and the professionalism of your staff,  not how long it takes to prepare the meals or any other challenge that may appear.  

This reminds me of a wedding I attended where there were several half-eaten meals on every table because the food tasted so bad.

If you’re a photographer, your customer buys the memories of their wedding or milestone celebration.  The type of lenses you use or how long it takes for editing is of little importance. 

When my website was in development, my only concern was how it would look in the end and that finally I could say to people, have a look at my site.  The budget was insignificant at that time as emotionally; I had already said yes.

The palettes, problems with the template or development was of no interest to me – I was paying for the future. 

 So, how do you engage your prospective client’s cerebral cortex – their emotions and memory about what their situation was like before and how they will feel when you’ve finished?

You have to be curious and committed to listening, questioning and providing examples of your work, and the challenges you faced with similar clients and the success you achieved. 

I ask questions like – what will you be able to do that you cannot do now? What would it be like to close sales more confidently compared to not asking closing questions at all?

What would it be like to slim down and wear your favourite suit or new swimsuit to the beach?

Their answers are the key to their future. Listen closely so that when issues or concerns come up, or they are thinking of cancelling the contract or retainer, refer back to what they say they wanted and committed to achieving.

I’m not going to sing like Nat King Cole any time soon. Still, the absolute joy of imagining singing a duet with my daughter and being witnessed by my friends and family is what I’m buying every time I pay my coach, and she says, breathe in, breathe out and let’s do those scales one more time. 

Remember, as much as your client may know, like and trust you, they are buying the outcome.


Morton Patterson is a proud member of Hivemind and a consultant, speaker and coach who works with business-to-business professionals, such as consultants, business coaches, and corporate trainers who are great at what they do but struggle with expressing and demonstrating their value.