Sunday, August 31, 2014

Marketing Reminder: 3 Reasons People Really Buy

When I meet people at different networking events, I notice a lot of different things.  Some of what I notice is really good, and I realize I need to figure a way to incorporate that into my own business. Other times, what I notice makes me shutter.

A lot of people’s marketing approach makes me shudder.

I’m not talking about the people and businesses who have a marketing approach, but it’s different than mine.

I’m talking about the businesses that seem to have no marketing approach, or the approach they take focuses on a conversation inside their mind…instead of their customers’.

From what I can see, people buy for three (3) reasons, and need is not one of them—not usually.
 What are those three (3) reasons people really buy?

1. Pleasure
2. Hope
3. Pain Avoidance

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1. Pleasure

This is, by far, the biggest reason people buy.

We “need” a vacation, but let’s face it.  Some people just plainly want a vacation, and that’s okay.  However, as much as it might feel like we need one, it’s not going to kill us on a day-to-day basis.

We buy nicer cars and houses based on pleasure.  Maybe we do it so we look more impressive.  If we can afford to do this, it’s a luxury, and it brings us pleasure…emotionally.

Many of us eat at restaurants, because it’s easier than making our own meals.  Maybe we really like the way a particular place makes food.

While there are lots of opportunities within the “pleasure” category, most business people I meet really cannot make money by striking this emotional chord.  (It’s “fun” to get your oil changed…uh…maybe not!)

Key Point: Will a customer enjoy more pleasure after buying (and using) what you offer?

This category is pretty intuitive and likely needs little more explanation.

2. Hope

This category offers some serious opportunity for businesses.

Another appropriate phrase for hope is a positive vision of the future.

There are many vulture-like businesses that prey on people’s desire to become wealthier.  I won’t point out very many, but one example is the lottery.  I do not blame the government on this, because the lottery helps raise money for the government, which helps keep down tax rates, but this is a perfect example of people buying something based on a possibility of tomorrow being better.

People do not buy lottery tickets, because that piece of cardboard has a lot of value.  They buy it, because they think they might “win.”  They might win a better life for themselves or their family.

As a marketer, I try to take (rightful) advantage of hope.  Many businesses want more customers calling them, and for certain industries, I specialize in doing exactly that.

My customers do not really care how many videos, press releases, etc. I create for them.  They might want me to present proof that I did work, but that’s not why they are paying me.  My customers pay me, because they imagine making more money by paying me less money to do something for them.  If I do my part, that’s just good business…on both sides.

Key Point: How might a customer have a better tomorrow for paying you today?

The biggest challenge is trying to make it obvious to the prospect.  If you do, you’ll have a much better chance of selling him or her…based on their hope that buying from you today might make things better for them tomorrow.

3. Pain Avoidance

This is where most of our businesses lay.

We have the type of business that represents something our customers really don’t want to address.  They don’t have the time to do it.  They don’t want to do it.  They don’t know how to do it, and they might not even really want to learn how to do it.

For many different possible reasons, our customers don’t really want to deal with whatever we offer.

Example #1: Life Insurance
How many people really want to discuss days beyond their life here on Earth?  Now, I want you to buy something from me that will cost you money, but other people will benefit from it…but never when you’ll get to see them.  Why do people buy life insurance?  They are AFRAID of leaving their families broke and unprepared for their lives afterward.

Example #2: Retirement
How many people in their 20s want to think about the day they’re old enough to retire?  You want me to pay money today for something that’s not even close to happening?  I don’t even know if I’m going to live past this weekend?  Why do people “plan” for their retirement?  They are AFRAID of living life as a broke old person without any physical ability to make any more money.

Example #3: Marketing
Many business owners simply don’t know how to market, or even if they do, they don’t have the time to market, even if they wanted to spend their time that way.  They know if they don’t market, they might lose business to their competitors.  (That boils the blood of nearly every business owner, especially if he or she has a competitive nature.)  Why do they pay money today for an intangible service like marketing?  They are AFRAID of losing to the competition.  They are AFRAID they will not have enough customers tomorrow.

Example #4: Healthy Food
How many of us begin life liking the taste of organically grown carrots more than a sweet milk chocolate candy bar?  The people who eat the carrots might like the taste better today, but the vast majority of them had very different tastes as children.  Why are people willing to pay more for food that doesn’t taste quite as good?  We might “enjoy” a healthy life, but ultimately we’re AFRAID of suffering the consequences of living an unhealthy life.  If we’re not afraid, we’re probably not making these “healthy choices.”  If we are, we’ll sacrifice taste and price.

Many of us offer services that help companies AVOID PAIN.

Mr. Business Owner, wouldn’t your life be SO MUCH BETTER if you didn’t have to worry about that?  Let me or my company handle it, and it will be handled…without any more stress from you.

Key Point: How might a customer feel less pain if they do business with you?

If you make this clear to enough people, you will get more business—guaranteed.

A Note about Buying Based on Need

Coming full circle, I need to amend my statement that need is not a reason people buy.  I’m not trying to say that people do not need anything they buy, but it’s seldom the reason they buy, unless the law requires it or there is some monopoly on something attached to a physiological need (i.e. city water, gas for heat in the winter, etc.)

These companies don’t really need to sell you anything.  In these cases, it’s not a free market, and you’re forced to buy.  That’s a good business, but let’s face it.  Those businesses don’t need to market to you.  You’re going to buy from them regardless.

Many of us market as though we fit into this category, but we don’t.  Is it any surprise that businesses fail to attract buyers when they make the mistake of thinking buyers need them…when they really don’t?

Which reason do your customers buy from you?  Does your marketing reflect that?

If not, I know one way you can make more money, but are you ready?

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