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What people really buy

Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market

It is said that the perfect timing for a sale is when a client has a need and our business, is aware of this need and ready with our product/service to offer a solution. This is all good in theory, but how do we make this happen in practice?

I guess the person who can answer this loaded question will be an instant success. My caveat is, therefore, that I am not proclaiming to have the answer, but I do have a couple of suggestions for moving closer to an answer.

There are mainly two reasons why people buy any product or service:

  • The need to avoid pain, or a loss
  • The need to gain pleasure

If this is true, then how do they decide to consider and buy a specific product or service?

It boils down to the benefits they will receive and if these benefits will address the reason(s) they were looking for a solution in the first place.

Let us look at a couple of examples to drive the message home:

Example 1: You own a carpet business. It might be better to position your product as something that helps people to decorate their homes; i.e. you are selling beauty, not carpets.

Example 2: You are a business advisor. You are not selling consulting methods, but rather improved business performance and increased turnover or profits; i.e. improved profitability.

Example 3: You have a deli focussing on organically grown produce. You are not selling vegetables or naturally grown foods, but rather health.

Example 4: You are not selling financial planning products, services or advice, but rather wealth or peace of mind.

How to apply this learning in our businesses:

Compile a list of all the benefits your target client will receive when they buy your product or service. Then choose the one or two benefits with the strongest client value (many times it speaks to the emotion of a person) and use it in all your marketing and sales endeavours.

So, the answer to why people buy any product or service might be far removed from our perspective about the business we own or operate.

“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” – Kevin Stirtz, business author and strategy manager.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

Sanlam is a proud Partner of the NSBC.