4 Things to Know About Buyers that Will Help You Make the Sale
The following is adapted from Demand-Side Sales 101.
I’ve researched what pushes people toward buying a product. What anxieties were discouraging them from purchasing a car, for example? How did their allegiance to their previous or existing car affect their purchase? And what finally caused them to say, “Today I’m going to buy a new car”?
I interviewed consumers and after just ten of them, I began to see a pattern: Focusing on the product doesn’t work. In a third of cases, it makes no difference. A third may be interested, but another third gets anxious and asks themselves, “Do I really need all of that?” That’s two out of every three sales lost by no fault of the salesperson.
So, what forces are at play? What pushes them toward buying a product or service? And what factors prevent them from buying? The answers to these questions will make you a better salesperson and help you establish trust with your customers.
My research uncovered four forces at work, two positive and two negative:
Positive Force: The Push of the Situation
What’s going on in a customer’s life that causes a desire to change? In other words, what’s causing them to begin looking for a new product or service? You can easily ask the customer questions to get the answers.
For instance, a family who has decided to buy a house may need to move because a parent’s job may have changed, the house is too small, or the neighborhood is going downhill. Deciding to buy a house is a huge decision. Nobody wants to pack up their entire house and move. This is usually a positive force and encourages consumers to buy a product.
Positive Force: The Magnetism of the New Solution
Searching for a new product can be exciting, especially if the customer knows that it will enrich their lives. And the more serious their problem is, the more determined they will be to find the right solution.
The family searching for the new house may have their idea of a dream home and then find it. It may be a perfect home that fits their needs and solves their problems — a nice neighborhood, one that’s large enough, and one that’s at the right price. Many consumers see things in a product that they find attractive, and it factors into their decision making, pushing them toward the purchase.
Negative Force: Anxiety of the New Solution
This becomes more apparent the bigger the purchase is. Even though a family may have found a perfect house, they’re also thinking of other things that set off their anxieties, and panic may set in. They may be asking questions like:
- “How are we going to move?”
- “How are we going to sell the house?”
- “Will the kids be happy in a new house?”
- “How are we going to get rid of all the stuff in the basement?”
Some of these anxieties may be based on the new product (“Why is the laundry room downstairs?”). But others may be based on their current situation, and it’s totally out of your hands. For the purchase to go through, consumers need answers to these questions and calm their fears so buyer’s remorse doesn’t set it.
Negative Force: The Habit of the Present
Usually, some things about a consumer’s current situation tugs at them and makes them hesitant to buy. For example, the family wanting a new house has friends and a community they know and love. They’ve raised their kids there. The habit of living there day in and day out encourages them to stay put.
Such forces may add to their already existing anxieties and pull them away from making a purchase. They need something to push them toward making the purchase. You’re taught In business school to add more features and benefits to a product, which would create more magnetism. But that’s not correct. To make the sale, we have to reduce their anxiety.
Sometimes It’s Out of Your Hands
There aren’t many forces at play, but each of these four are important and can make or break a sale. Remember that some of these forces have nothing to do with your product or service. That’s why you must understand the consumer and the problems that they may bring to the table. You’re there to solve their problems, and by easing their anxieties, you can then show the attractiveness of your product and how it meets their needs. Then, you’re ready to close the deal.
For more advice on the forces that push people to buy, you can find Demand-Side Sales 101 on Amazon.
Bob Moesta is a teacher, builder, entrepreneur, and co-founder at The Re-Wired Group, a design firm in Detroit, Michigan. Bob has developed & launched over 3,500 products and sold everything from design services, software, and houses to consumer electronics, and investment services. He’s an adjunct lecturer at Kellogg School at Northwestern University, lectures on innovation at Harvard and MIT, and enjoys mentoring at incubators. Greg Engle is a co-founder at the Re-Wired Group. Since the beginning of his career, helping people make progress has been part of Greg’s DNA. He’s worked in everything from food services and retailing, to construction, software, and now consulting services. Greg’s a native Detroiter and enjoys volunteering in the community, especially in local ice hockey leagues.