“We have to pass a bill so that we can find out what’s in it.”

This infamous 2010 soundbite from Nancy Pelosi (regarding the Affordable Care Act) reflects an approach that rarely succeeds in the commercial arena – asking for the money before informing the customer what he/she is buying.

What it is. How many. How often. Deliverables. Cost. Options.

Here’s something I’m coming, once again, to renew my appreciation for – people buy tangibles. That is, they want to see and know what they’re buying. In some level of understandable detail.

The more complete the picture, the more readily we’ll open our wallets. Because no-one wants (unpleasant) surprises.

I feel ashamed to admit how often I forget this. As a consultant, and an abstract thinker, and an idealist, I gravitate toward the conceptual. Nothing wrong with that per se – except I have to bring it down to specific offerings that people can understand and feel good about purchasing.

I wrote about this for the entirety of chapter 10 in my book Clarity Wins, but the fact is, I have to keep reminding myself of it. Constantly, truth be told.

If people aren’t buying what you’re selling, it may have nothing to do with the actual value you bring. It may be that they just don’t understand it (yet). So here’s a clarity tip: try to sell/explain what you do to someone who is not immersed in your industry, and ask them to help you use clear, simple words. And paint a picture of the deliverable/result that a regular human can understand.

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