Can you sell behavior like you sell soap?

Listening to a podcast this morning, they posed this question: Can you sell behavior like you sell soap? The knee-jerk answer is of course not! Soap is a tangible, behavior is a series of actions and attitudes. They need to be approached separately.

But… do they?

What’s the first step to selling soap? Running ads that talk about its smell, the way it will make your skin look and feel, what a good bargain it is… right? Nope. The first step in selling soap is convincing your audience that they’re dirty.

Have you heard of Febreeze? Of course you have – you’re not a FREAK. Do you know that Febreeze almost flopped? Yep. They came out with a great product that did exactly what they wanted it to do, put a shit ton of money behind it and… it flopped. Why? People didn’t know they needed it.

SO, they started marketing it as a “final touch.” After you clean your house, you spray Febreeze just to give it that little extra something special. BUT, not enough people were buying it (literally).

So then, they pivoted. They started telling people — to their faces — that they smelled bad and that people were judging them for it… that people needed to get their lives together and spray some dang air freshener in their stank ass mini van so their friends didn’t stop coming over. And you know what? That shit worked.

People won’t buy a product unless they believe they need it.

So let’s sell some soap. Step 1 – do you know how many germs on average the human hand (that’s one hand mind you, and most of us have two) comes in contact with on a given day? I do. 332,000. And that bacteria… those germs… belong to almost 5,000 different species of ‘ew’. Feeling dirty yet? No? Good for you. Germs are important.

Do you know what’s on your money? And no, I don’t mean paper money… who even uses that any more. I’m talking about your debit/credit card. Well, in a recent study over HALF of the credit cards tested tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus. That’s some crazy ass staph infection that laughs in the face of antibiotics. And that staph is all up on ya.


But good news? We live in 2017. We got soap!

Selling behaviors needs to be set up the same way. We need to prove the need as it applies to the individual; we can’t just take the easy way out and sell the symptoms of the after.

So let’s take five steps back when we’re selling something on social (and that’s what we’re all doing, right — behavior, product, service – no matter) and focus on the why. The before. And *that* will make for a profitable, impactful after.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s