By Rieva Lesonsky
Why do customers buy what they buy? Is it really a science or is it trial and error? Do you sometimes feel like someone has the secret and they’re not telling you? When you’re applying for a small business loan, you may know what the lender is looking for, but do you know what your customers are seeking?
As a small business owner, you may think big companies have all the answers. After all, they have huge marketing teams that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars figuring out the answer to what customers want. But they can fall flat just the same as anyone (remember “New Coke” from Coca Cola?). Plus, customers may say (or even think) they want certain items (such as healthier food options on menus) but will somehow choose the opposite when it comes right down to it.
Here are some tips for trying to hit the target on the mark:
Sometimes you have to tell them what they want. Whether you sell your products or services to other businesses or to consumers, there will be times the customer is simply confused. They’re not sure why they should buy from you. This is when you have to push the facts. Make a strong case. Offer an introductory price if you think that’s what it will take.
It’s emotional, baby. For consumers, their reasons and motivations for buying are often based on emotion. Young mothers? The care and well-being of their children. College students? Fear of failure. Figure out what makes the consumer tick. Much like as I mentioned above, when applying for a small business loan, you ask yourself what the banker wants to see from you. In this case, ask yourself what the customer wants from your business.
Who is the decision maker? Make sure you’re targeting the real decision maker. If you’re pushing handyman services, don’t assume you know who the actual decision maker is. Is it the wife? The husband? Maybe your target is a single homeowner. Or or you pitching your IT services to businesses in your area? Do you target the business owner? Or is there someone else in the businesses who is responsible for technology purchases?
Fear factor. Could fear be a motivator for purchasing products or services? In many B-to-B situations, buyers fear looking stupid, making the wrong choice or costing their company money. In today’s rollercoaster market, a buyer might be hesitant to risk change, so you’ll need to be particularly persuasive in motivating buyers to “risk” the change of buying from your company.
Whatever the situation, you can learn what motivates your customer by observing and listening. Next time you’re in a sales meeting, listen to what the decision-makers say to each other and try to hear what goes unsaid.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports