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Steve Cesari, Owner of Cesari Companies: “Features tell, but benefits sell”

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Meet Steve Cesari, a die-hard marketer and a guy with one of the most incredible business stories we’ve had so far on the podcast. The first company Steve ever built made their client well over $100 million, and paved way for a successful partnership with George Foreman Grill (which was called differently back in the day.) Today, Steve is mostly occupied with sharing his expertise through consulting and coaching. Tune into today’s podcast to hear some invaluable advice on how to sell any product!


“We were the disruptor in the category”


Who said first businesses have to be a failure?


The first ever company Steve Cesari founded together with his brother back in 1989, called Trillium Health Products, grew their client’s business to over a $100 million, solidifying his foundation as an entrepreneur. Remember the Juiceman Juicer TV ads? Yep, that was all done by Steve and his crew.


The secret to their success is simple: sell the benefits, not the actual products. While Trillium’s competition were busy selling other juicers through their various features, like “half-a-horsepower engine”, Steve’s campaigns took it one step further and focused on what actually mattered to the end customer: “We came out and said ‘well, yeah, we have a half-horsepower motor, but that half-horsepower allows you to extract the juice from the fiber and feed your trillions (I think the pun here is intended) of cells.”


A small difference, yet it changes everything. As Steve put it, “features tell, but benefits sell.”


Speaking of the competition, soon after the Juicer ads started overtaking the scene, attempts to steal their ideas started happening: “That product – it was called the Juice Doctor – came out two weeks after our product. Again, we were first to market, and we were the disruptor within the category.”


Trillium and the Juiceman successfully sued the fraudulent competition through Federal court and won.


The George Foreman Grill Story


After a wildly successful partnership with the Juiceman Juicer, Steve and his company were approached by a soon-to-be world’s leading grill brand. However, it wasn’t quite the all-too-familiar brand as we know it today. Back in the day, it was called.. The Taco Express.


“What we did was we came in, we repackaged it, rebranded it. Then, we were fortunate to connect with George Foreman and have him rename it to ‘George Forman Lean Grilling Machine’. At the time, the health and nutrition was the big new wave in the industry.” – Steve tells about their beginnings with the brand.


“And, you know, we never sell products.” the entrepreneur talks about their approach to marketing. “We educate the consumer. In this case – health and proper nutrition. And (only) then provide them with quality products and programs to live the healthiest lifestyle possible.”


This is especially important for those of us who’re directly involved in marketing. See, Steve didn’t sell the George Foreman Grill through its design, or through unique features that no other grill had. No, it was just a grill.


Instead, Steve Cesari and Trillium Health Products gave their customers something they actually cared about – advice on healthy nutrition and lifestyle – and put the actual product in the background.


To hear the rest of Steve’s story and plenty of invaluable advice, tune into this week’s podcast at the top of the page!



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