Monday, January 19, 2009

Why People Buy... And STOP Buying

Author: Bob Mellon

Article: WHY DO PEOPLE BUY... and STOP BUYING? Phil Herring, when he was president of Herring-Newman direct response advertising agency said, ""Buying decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally."" One of the most common mistakes both new and old sales people make is forgetting that the customer is king. Without customers, none of us would be in business very long. As the old saying goes, ""To the victor goes the spoils."" That means those who meet customers' needs the best get the prize - their business. And those who don't ... don't.

It isn't always the best product or service (although they must be competitive) nor is it entirely the lowest price (we have all lost sales to someone else who's product or service was higher priced). No, what we failed to do well enough was SATISFY THE CUSTOMER. Somehow we didn't read them well enough and provide the right reasons for buying our product or service instead of someone else's.

At this point, it's probably good to ask, ""Why DO people buy?

There is no single answer. Each customer has different reasons for buying and we must identify them - in individual sales, one at a time - and address them. In one-on-one sales, that means asking questions, lots of questions, to discover the real reason in the customer's mind.

Whether you're selling a product or service or developing advertising and marketing materials, there are some constants, which, if you lose sight of them, will lead to failure. A major rule to remember is the difference between features and benefits.

Features (which manufacturing and technical people love) are the specifications of the product or service. For example, in a car, it may be the size of the engine or the sophisticated airbag system or the economical gas mileage. But the buyer, the probable user, is looking for Benefits. When they buy a car with a large engine, it's usually to make it go faster. The benefit of sophisticated airbags is protection for the children and family. An economical car means it will save the owner money. Nd different features mean more to different buyers.

These are emotional reasons for buying, just like the car's color. The features are the rational reasons, which they use to justify the purchase.

It is not the features that are important to the buyer, but the benefits they provide. The secret is to put yourself in their place and find out ""What's in it for me?"" If you can answer - from their perspective - the question ""Why should I buy this?"" you are a long way towards making the sale.

In advertising or marketing pieces, you must speak to those benefits desired by the prospect/customer. Don't talk features except to describe the benefit it provides. And do NOT assume they know why a feature is important. If spelling it out results in one more sale, can you afford to omit it?

Another major principle to keep in mind is that your most valuable asset is your current customer base. These are people you have already sold. The ""leap of faith"" by the buyer, required to close any sale, has already been made. These people now believe in and trust you.

The challenge then, is to keep your customers. You have already made the investment in them when you sold them the first time. Unfortunately, too often we forget those already sold and focus on the next new sale.

BEWARE. This is one of those tenants that if forgotten, lead to failure. How can you avoid this problem? The best way is to understand why people stop buying.

There are five - and only five - reasons why people STOP BUYING.

* 4% are gone. They move, get promoted, transferred, divorced or whatever. They are simply no longer in a position to make a buying decision. * 5% change suppliers on the recommendation of a friend or business associate. (The brother-in-law syndrome) Stay in touch with them, you may get them back - sometimes quickly. * 3% change because of a true competitive advantage; an honest benefit offered over your product or service. * 14% change because they are unhappy with your service or product. * 68% change because of a perceived lack of caring expressed by some person in your company! Things like little or no contact, indifference, missed dates, budgets off target. A lack of concern shown by sales, service, shipping, accounting, management, someone/anyone!

Think about that! We lose almost seven out of every ten departing customers to our own inattention. The good news is you can - and should - manage and control your customer relations.

Remember, the phrase is ""The customer - not the prospect - is king.""

About the author: Bob Mellon is President of Creative Response Marketing, a marketing consulting firm specializing in direct response for businesses throughout Southern California. He can be reached at (949) 500-8009 or by email at

Top Exposure on 150+ SEARCH ENGINES and DIRECTORIES Your Keywords - No Bidding - 6 Hour Placement A New Kind of Paid Inclusion from ExactSeek Sign Up Today and Receive FR-E-E Bonus Software


At 5:29 AM, Blogger Matt Howard said...

Rules to live by:

1. Talk benefits, not features.

2. Love thy customer -- keep thy customer

Thanks for the post

Matt Howard


Post a Comment

<< Home