It’s about the journey, not the destination – or is it??

It’s time for “the talk”. You know the one. The “where are we going” talk. You’ve probably had it in one of your past relationships. You’re cruising along, doing your thing, having some fun. But the other person can’t deal with just the day-to-day. They want to know where things are heading – whether the time and effort is going to be worth it. They want reassurance that the “after” picture is going to look better than the “before” picture.

Business is like that.

In business, we’re always looking ahead, to see what the future holds. The job of marketing in your business is to make sure that you end up with the outcomes you’re after. Marketing is all about setting goals for your business, and then putting actions in place to reach them. These goals might include things like attracting new customers, making more sales, increasing your revenue, growing your business.

But most business owners or managers don’t really want to focus on the “how”, or on the process of getting more customers, more sales, more revenue. They want to focus on the end results and the outcomes. They trust the marketers to deal with the detail of how those goals get achieved. It’s the marketer’s job to worry about the campaigns, the deadlines, the printers, the suppliers, etc.

What is the “after” picture that you sell?

If you own or manage a business, think about what outcomes you deliver for clients. What is the “after” picture that you sell? Think about how you can articulate that to clients. Talk to prospects about where you’re taking them, what results they’ll end up with.

A business friend of mine uses the expression, “sell the destination not the plane”. This is exactly right, and I was reminded of it recently on a trip to Canada. I can assure you that the thought of a 27-hour journey, with two flights to deal with, does not thrill me in any way. Not even the surprise of what’s under that aluminium foil as the airplane meal arrives is enough to get me excited. I just want to get there and let the fun begin.

It is the destination that I look forward to, and the promise of what lies ahead. I could not care less about the journey to get there or the details of the inflight entertainment. I know, I know … meditation gurus out there would be telling me that life is about the journey, not the destination. But for some things, it’s not.

For some aspects of business, it’s all about the end results and the outcomes.

If you’re a travel agent, you probably spend more time talking to clients about the destination and the holiday, not the flight to get there (even though that might be what they’re actually paying for).

If you’re a hairdresser, you sell the promise of looking and feeling great after a good cut and style, not the process of sitting there with a hot cape on and itchy stubble tickling the back of your neck (don’t even get me started on the humiliating look of the little foil packets we endure for a good colour job).

If you’re a nutrition or fitness expert, you sell the outcomes of looking fitter, sleeping better, having clearer skin, etc, not the grind of regular workouts and eliminating desserts from your client’s day.

Clients are more likely to buy from you if they believe that you understand their needs and have a solution to their problems. They don’t want to be reminded that they are overweight, stressed, in need of a holiday, poor, unhealthy, or whatever the state is that they’re seeking a fix from. They want a product or service that can help them get out of that state and they want reassurance that you’re the person or business that can help them reach their end goal. They’re investing in the end result, not the process or the steps needed to get there.

A little marketing secret here …

There’s another important thing to consider here. People are more likely to buy from a place of happiness and joy. So, if you can show prospects how you can help them reach their goals, then they’ll be more likely to buy from you. If you can help them see that new and improved “after” scenario specifically for them, then they’ll trust you.

Bring out the joy in your clients and make them feel great, and subliminally they will believe that you can always make them feel this way – and they will want to hang out with you more (ie. buy from you more).

So think about that. How do you create outcomes for your customers? What do the products you sell or the services you offer do to shape a better “after” picture for people? Figure that out and find a way to articulate it, and your business will grow.


This article is an updated version of an earlier one where we talked about selling holes, not drill bits. To read that original post (ie. if you connect more with widgets and drills, rather than feel-good soft and squishy stuff), then click here.


As a marketing business, we focus on making sure that the “after” picture looks better than the “before” picture for your business. We work with you to determine exactly what your business needs, and then we figure out exactly how to get there – all while we track and measure results along the way. To get some help going from before to after, please get in touch. We promise not to ask you to take any gym selfies.