Opportunity vs. Improvement: Be Kale, Not Better Lettuce

Two Years Ago

Rusty Pipes was unemployed, nearly broke, and verging on depression. He had quit his job to start up a custom 3D printed bobblehead business, but it failed. Nobody wanted bobbleheads of their moms.

To reflect and reassess, he traveled to rural Northern England to do some hiking. It was November and the weather was cold, dreary, and grey—not exactly the ideal place to cheer oneself up.

On his third day, though, as he crested a hill and came to a small abandoned farm, he found his epiphany:

Lettuce.

While all other vegetation was brown and muddy, growing in the garden was a bounty of vibrant lettuce. It wasn’t exactly lettuce; it was darker, thicker, and bigger than the lettuce Rusty was used to. He excitedly grabbed a plant, hustled back to his inn, and flew home the next day.

Back in the US, Rusty brought the plant to his friend Sandy, who worked in the produce industry. She couldn’t believe the plant had survived the trip, let alone grown so abundantly in such a harsh climate. Nevertheless, she agreed to give Rusty’s lettuce a look. She took it and told him she’d call in a few months.

A month later, she called back.

The stuff was amazing, she reported. It grew like a weed in even the harshest environments, was incredibly nutritious, and tasted fantastic. Rusty was onto something big.

Little did he know he was about to go even more broke.

One Year Later

A year after discovering his super lettuce, Rusty had successfully managed to secure some farmland and was growing it by the ton. Unfortunately for Rusty, while he had the best lettuce in the world, his financial status couldn’t have been worse. Nobody was buying it.

He had tried marketing it in farmers markets as “better lettuce”. Nobody bit.

He then tried calling it “healthier lettuce.” Still nothing. People were skeptical.

Lastly, he tried pushing the sustainability angle, saying it needed less water, land, and pesticides than traditional lettuce. Nobody seemed to care.

Just as Rusty was about to give up he met someone who, in a single sentence, changed everything.

Today

One year after being on the verge of giving up, Rusty now has an empire. His lettuce is sold everywhere in the world and he can’t grow it fast enough to meet demand.

What changed?

He stopped trying to sell better, healthier, or more sustainable lettuce. Instead, he started selling his plant as a brand new super vegetable called “kale.”

russell brunson opportunity vs improvement

The person who changed Rusty’s fortunes was Russell Brunson.

Brunson explained to Rusty that he wasn’t selling because people don’t buy improvements. Being told that his product is “better,” “healthier,” or “more sustainable” than what they already know doesn’t give anyone an overwhelming urge to buy it. They’ll think, “What’s wrong with normal lettuce?” People don’t like to admit being wrong, but that’s exactly what Rusty was asking them to do when trying to sell them “better” lettuce. He needed to position his product as an opportunity instead.

That opportunity was “kale.” Kale isn’t “better lettuce.” It’s a new and exciting leafy superfood that can be used in lettuce’s place, and in many other ways as well! People don’t have to admit they were wrong for buying lettuce, but can be excited to try this brand new opportunity.

As soon as Rusty ditched his improvement offer and positioned his product as an opportunity, people bought in droves.

What’s Your Opportunity?

If you have a product or service that you are struggling to sell, odds are it’s largely because you’re positioning it is as an improvement. Ask yourself, how can you position it as an opportunity instead?

The trick is to avoid the word “more” or any “-er” word to describe what you’re selling. It can take time and creativity to think of how to do so, but once you figure it out, you’ll see the difference immediately.

russell brunson expert secrets coverDig Deeper

Marketing your product as an opportunity as opposed to as an improvement is one of the three steps outlined by Russell Brunson that you need to create a movement. If you’d like to find out what the other two are, check out his book, Expert Secrets. 

Brunson is a bit too over-the-top and salesy for my liking, and a good chunk of his book is spent trying to sell his own product, ClickFunnels, but don’t let that prevent you from getting value from it. The first half especially is a quick and easy read that’s full of examples and a few concepts I hadn’t come across elsewhere. You may just find the epiphany you need to take your business to the next level.

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