How to Sell a $25 Doughnut

SONY DSCWhat does a doughnut cost these days?

A dollar? Maybe less?

Would you believe I once paid $25 for one?

Now before you get the wrong idea, let me stress that there was nothing special about this doughnut. It wasn’t some gourmet creation made with organic ingredients or a super-secret recipe. No, this was just an ordinary, run of the mill, twelve-to-a-box doughnut. It didn’t even have sprinkles on it.

So why would I pay $25 for something so boring; something that’s essentially a commodity?

Here’s a hint: It wasn’t about the doughnut.

You see, this particular doughnut was provided by my oldest son’s school several years ago. The annual Grandparents Day Celebration was coming up and they needed items to offer at an associated fund-raising auction. In exchange for $25 (or an auction item worth at least $25), I could join Andrew for a parent/child doughnut breakfast.

Obviously, I could have taken my entire family out for doughnuts and spent a fraction of the money. But as I’ve already mentioned, this purchase wasn’t about the doughnut. It was about the experience.

There are a handful of organizations selling truly unique products out there. They have the luxury of letting the uniqueness of their product or service speak for itself. The rest of us sell – in one form or another – a commodity. And when you sell the same thing any number of competitors do, you have to approach things differently. The challenge isn’t how to explain your product. The challenge is how to explain what makes your product different; what makes it better.

The key is not to sell a product, but an experience.

Life is made up of experiences. And any interaction with you – your products, your staff, your brand – is an experience. How can you make each one of those experiences not just positive; but desirable? How can you create an experience that people won’t just pay for, but will pay a premium for?

That’s the challenge.

I didn’t pay $25 for a doughnut. I paid $25 for breakfast with my son. I paid a premium for the experience this particular doughnut provided. And I paid it gladly.

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