Sell an Experience, Not a Product or Service


May, 2023

Focus on Selling Experiences in 2023

During 2023, we are focusing on the concept of selling experiences vs. selling products or services. Most small businesses can’t compete with large, big-box stores or corporations on price or variety, but what we CAN provide is a much better product, amazing service, and a personalized experience!

Clients/customers often choose to work with small, independent businesses rather than the larger, cheapest options available to them. But what determines this choice? At a core level, we all require personal, human interaction. When you sell an experience, you’re actually selling yourself. Have you ever stopped to think that no other business in your market does things exactly the way you do? Customers choose your business because you are part of the package! Small businesses have the unique opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy and interact with the client while giving attention to the details of the product or service that person is purchasing.

“People Buy Experiences, Not Products” – Shantanu Narayen (CEO, Adobe)

A good experience is worth far more than a few dollars saved and will retain current clients or encourage new customers to return. That said, here are a few questions to help you evaluate your clients’ experience:

  • What is the process that prospective clients go through before buying your product/service?
    • In many cases it can be lengthy, repetitious, and require a large investment from the potential customer, thereby causing them to look elsewhere for the product or service they need.
    • Try to avoid redundant paperwork, as it can also be frustrating. Doctors’ offices are a great example of this, where patients are asked to fill out lengthy intake forms only to have the same questions repeated in the exam room.
    • Go the extra mile to make It easy for anyone to find more information about your services. Streamline your inquiry forms and check to ensure that information is readily available to potential clients.

What is the process that prospective clients go through before buying your product/service?

  • If you have a brick-and-mortar store, have you considered the convenience of your hours/locations for your target customers?
    • Are you closing at 5pm, around the same time the majority of your customers finish their workday? If so, consider offering later options on some nights of the week.
    • If your target group of customers is older, do you provide fully accessible restrooms? Think of your potential clientele and adjust according to their needs.

Existing clientele should be your top priority! You already done all the hard work of attracting and selling to them.

Existing Client Experiences

Every small business owner is looking to attract new people to try out their product or service, but it’s also important to remember your existing clients. Not only have you already done all the hard work of attracting and selling to them, but they’ve actually trusted you enough to spend their hard-earned money with you. In our opinion, this existing clientele should be your top priority!

So, how do you foster engagement and continue to support your current customers? Here are some ideas that you might consider, if you haven’t already:

  • Offer discounts and referral bonuses for existing customers.
  • Continuing to upgrade their plans to keep up with the current market.
  • Provide personalized packages based on client/customer need.
  • Depending on what is most appropriate, consider offering anniversary gifts or “hope this cheers you up” packages for existing clients.

Creativity is the name of the game when it comes to ways you can engage with your existing customer base. The above are just a few examples, but the sky is the limit! There will be many ways to engage with your current clients that will be specific to your market. Take some time to brainstorm and see what you come up with!

Finally, never forget the power of a word-of-mouth referral. You will be surprised at the long-term relationships that develop with the people you serve!


To learn how online presence affects your customer’s experience, check out our post Online Presence for the Small Business

Are you keeping up with the trends and innovations in your market?

Providing your customers with the best experience possible also includes you being on top of your game when it comes to trends and innovations. Trends and innovations are things like technological changes, design trends, lifestyle shifts, economic status, etc. For instance, consider the technological improvements over the last few years in contactless mobile payments. Just three years ago, this “cool idea” was little more than a concept, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused this payment method to quickly become popular. Customers are finding it faster and more convenient to pay with their phone or smartwatch than to pull out their wallet and credit card. Have you considered offering this payment type at your points of sales?

While this is just one example, staying relevant is an important part of providing valuable world-class experiences for your customers and clients. Here are a few ideas on how you can remain on top of the most recent trends:

  • Subscribe to news/articles for your market.
  • Conduct client interviews to learn how their business needs may have shifted over the last few years.
  • Provide customers opportunities to give feedback via surveys.
  • Attend local meetups with other small businesses who are providing similar services in your area.

Take time to know your clients and customers and go the extra mile in offering the highest quality service and products.


Bigger isn’t always better, and when it comes to personalized experience and quality, this is where your small business can outshine your larger competitors. Take time to know your clients and customers and go the extra mile in offering the highest quality service and products. These elements are foundational in the long-term relationships and great reputation you will build. Remember, the sky‘s the limit and there are people out there who need what you have to offer!


I have a passion for using technology to make workflow and the day-to-day easier. Pier5 allows me to help businesses with digital technology, allowing them to focus more on what they love and are good at – their product or service!

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