“This product is what it is. It performs a basic function. It’s not very exciting. Probably not worth investing in.”

We’ve heard this a lot, especially for products that contractors buy over and over again, like supplies. Or, for products that people think of as “commodities,” like wire, steel or pipe. In some of these situations, we’ve been asked to “create” something interesting, or maybe add interest with a contest, or overlay a promotion, a la “two-fer.”

We don’t think this is necessary. Just because your products might have a generic label, don’t rule out how involved, professionally and emotionally, trade pros can be with them. Use logic and emotion to your advantage.

Best Practice: Tell great stories

We’ll bet a round of beers with your buds that if you look hard enough and keep an open mind, you’ll find great stories about your product, no matter how ordinary you think it might be. User stories, life-saver stories, longevity stories, how-the-product-is-made stories. The stories need to be relevant and personal, and they must be well told and dramatized, like Nucor steel and LENOX blades.

Best Practice: See a system instead

It’s hard selling components sometimes. Lots of pieces/parts that go together like an Erector Set. All told, the end result is an electrical system that hums or mechanicals that perform flawlessly. But, piece by piece, how important is each one?

As important as one leg in a three-legged stool. Take a hard look at your components; see them in a bigger role. Demonstrate how important the whole is to the installer. How much easier it is, safer it is, how much faster it goes together. For Charlotte Pipe, we didn’t see a pile of nameless pipe; we saw a system made possible by fittings — the Tru-Fit® system. This really differentiated Charlotte Pipe and, well, their pipe. See what we mean here.