Put a Handle On It

It’s important what you call something, especially when you want people to grasp what you’re selling. Let me illustrate.

I was taking a bunch of clothes to the laundry a couple of weeks ago. Well, I was trying to. The clothes were in an unruly pile on the floor, after I’d pulled them out of my suitcase from the trip I’d been on. There were socks, T-shirts, boxers, jeans; they were all colors and sizes, and they all needed to be fluffed and folded.

I didn’t even have to do the washing and folding. I’m lucky enough to have an awesome laundry on my way to the Goldstar office. I can just drop them off and for a very reasonable price, they get beautifully cleaned, folded and handed back to me! It’s a miracle of modern life.

But I do have to take them to the laundry, and to do that, I have to put them in my car.

You ever try to carry a pile of laundry in your arms? It’s not heavy. But it’s difficult to carry. You drop a sock. You try to pick up that sock, and a sweater goes tumbling out of your arms. You grab that, and, you guessed it, you lose a T-shirt or some boxers. Or a different sock. Or that same sock again.

It’s hard to hold onto. It’s elusive. You can make yourself look pretty stupid, as I know from experience, trying to corral your own dirty clothes.

Until, of course, you put them in a bag. Bags close up, and they have a handle on them. Now carrying the clothes is an absolute cinch.

Likewise, when you’re selling something — a show, for example, or a new subscription package or a new product or a twist on an old product — put a handle on it! Give it a name to let people know how to think of it. That way, they’ll be able to pick up what you’re putting down.

Because your customers might chase their dirty socks around for a little bit. After all, everybody needs clean clothes. But in a world filled with new products and marketing coming at people from every direction, what’s the chance they’re going to take the time to figure out the value of your product?

A lot higher, if you put a handle on it.

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