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The Sales Evangelist

Selling Intangibles, Salespeople, Services, Sales Podcast, Donald Kelly, Jeffrey Shaw Today’s guest is Jeffrey Shaw, an entrepreneur who’s been selling the intangible and has worked with several individual entrepreneurs, coaching them, and helping those with service-based businesses to be able to sell intangible products.

Jeffrey has been a portrait photographer for over 31 years serving a very affluent clientele until seven years ago when he began his process of training as a coach and his career has now grown tremendously.

He realized it wasn’t the tangible photograph that he was selling but it was so much more than that. It was the intangible things!

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Jeffrey:

Intangible things a brand could be selling:

  • Prestige
  • Lifestyle
  • Space

Why Jeffrey thinks Apple is selling space:

  • Stores being spacious bring a certain atmosphere
  • Carved out a market space for themselves
  • Never selling a bundle but one product at a time
  • They get you in the wave where you ride the wave and buy the rest of the products.

Why several companies have a tough time selling the intangible:

It’s not a common business model. Most business education is based on selling tangible items and commodities. More people are selling the intangible with little example of it and little business education.

However, the intangible is what motivates people to buy. For instance, you may sell an art but the reason somebody buys that art is because of the way it makes them feel.

Best practices to sell the intangible:

  1. Strongly identify with your core value.
  • Turn inward first and get into the heart of what you’re most passionate about.
  • Ditch the niche and look at all the things that you’re passionate about.
  • Identify what’s common among them and come to a core purpose. Then your niche has to be grounded on your core purpose.
  1. Be clear on how you convey that intangible message through a clear marketing message.
  • This is the hardest process being a noisy, cluttered market.
  • You do the inner work to make it tangible and grounding so people can grasp it.
  • Take the intangible and make it tangible in a way that people can understand you.
  1. Understand the values of your avatar.

Really understand the people that you serve, what their real needs and values are. Then you can speak to them in their language. This way, you can do things for your clients before they even ask.

  1. Make your clients feel seen and heard.
  • Think about your good experiences as a consumer. It’s usually when you feel that people saw you for who you were or that you were heard.
  • Being seen or heard is a deep human need.

The power of stories when selling the intangible:

  • Telling stories can be a cliche and consumers can smell the authenticity of stories.
  • Be aware of not doing it the way everybody else is doing it.
  • Sometimes you don’t have to tell your pain point. Instead tell why you love doing your business to help them see the love in the side of business.

Authentic voice + 10%

  • Get clear on what your authentic voice is and then add 10%.
  • You don’t find your authentic voice. You uncover your authentic voice. Align it with your brand. And add 10% for it to actually come through clearly.


Selling the product vs. service – which is more difficult to sell?

  • It’s far more difficult to sell yourself than your service because you take it personal. It’s personal because it’s to a degree to which you care.
  • Selling something that is meaningful to you can push buttons.
  • The difficulty of stating your value and naming your price on something intangible.

Jeffrey’s Major Takeaway:

If you had four minutes to cut down a tree, spend three minutes sharpening the saw. Spend a disproportionate amount of time getting to know your clients, what they value, and their lifestyle. All of that is part of sharpening the saw so when you go into business, you’re aligned with the people you’re going to serve. Take the time to sharpen your saw.

Episode Resources:

Check out Jeffrey’s first online business training and coaching program, The Creative Warrior Unleashed, which was more than a year in the making. It is a 6-month program with weekly coaching involved to provide support in the process.

Connect with Jeffrey on Twitter @jeffreyshaw1 and Facebook creativewarriorsunite.com/facebook to connect with a whole community of warriors that Jeff has brought together.

Take the 7-day online mini-course Week of the Warrior for free by going to www.weekofthewarrior.com.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.


The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly

About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.

Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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