What’s in It for Me?: Determining Why People Buy

7 09 2012

It gives me very great pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger – my dad and marketing wizard, Fred Tomczyk! Without further ado…

Why do people buy?As a Marketing Communications Manager, one of my jobs is to identify the messages we want to tell our customers about our company and our products. The usual goal, of course, is to move them towards purchasing one of our products.

Here’s a simple way to approach this task.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how to select a message that has the best chance of stimulating sales.

The first thing you need to recognize before settling upon a message is why people buy your products or services. I emphasize the word “people” because whether you’re selling B2B or directly to a consumer, there is always a person making the decision to buy what you have to offer.

Recognizing that you are selling to a person, you need to ask yourself why your customers would want to buy what you have to offer. This is actually more challenging than it sounds. Everyone who is considering whether or not they should buy what you are offering is standing in front of you with a question written boldly across their forehead, just waiting for you to read it and give them the answer they need.

What’s that question? It’s simply, “What’s in it for me?”

What your customer is always asking is how will what you’re offering benefit them. This is really powerful, so let me emphasize this again. They want to know how the product or service you’re offering is going to BENEFIT them.

That word “benefit” is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if your widget has a two inch diameter while the competition only has a one inch diameter (the feature). It doesn’t even matter that that two inch diameter means you are stronger (the function). All that matters is the BENEFIT he will derive from the fact that your widget has a two inch diameter and is stronger.

For example, because of this larger diameter, which makes your widget stronger, your buyer will experience increased confidence in using your widget. This may even help him protect his employees. It might help him make more money, improve his customer relations, reduce risk or save time..

Whatever the underlying benefit, your customer will decide to buy your product because they see the benefits that answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s a simple example: Two people bought wrist watches. They both say they bought the watches so they can tell what time it is. One of them bought a $20 no brand, while the other bought a $4,000 Rolex. Both watches tell time. So why would one person buy a Rolex while the other buys a $20 disposable watch?

It’s all about the benefits they were seeking.

The $20 watch buyer may be content with telling time to be sure she gets to her appointments on time. The Rolex buyer says he’s buying the same function, but he’s also buying several other benefits. He’s buying the feeling of prestige. He’s buying something he believes makes him look and feel good. He’s buying something that he thinks tells people, “I’ve made it!”

So, if you were selling a Rolex, would you talk only about the high precision manufacturing process? The composition of the metal? The spring tension on the watch band?

Or, would you explain to your customers how their friends will admire them? How good it will look on their wrists?

Use the following list of benefits (“Reasons Why People Buy”) with your products or services. Develop your list of deliverable benefits so you can use them with all of your communications tools – face-to-face sales, web site, ads, literature/flyers, press releases, signs, packaging, etc. Remember to differentiate between Features, Functions and Benefits. Then use your lists of benefits to answer your customers’ question, “What’s in it for me?” and increase your sales

Reasons Why People Buy
To Increase:
• Profit
• Satisfaction
• Confidence
• Convenience
• Pleasure

To Protect:
• Investment
• Self
• Employees
• Property
• Money

To Make:
• Money
• Satisfied customers
• Good impressions

To Improve:
• Customer relations
• Employee relations
• Image
• Status
• Earnings

To Reduce:
• Risk
• Investment
• Expenses
• Competition
• Worry
• Trouble

To Save:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Space

Next Blog: Just two weeks away. If you can’t wait that long, contact me! I’m always happy to talk smart business.

Found today’s topic fascinating? Me, too! Here’s a bonus TEDx video, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” that makes a phenomenal compliment to what my dad wrote above. Thanks to Chris and Jenny of Body Within Personal Training for bringing this video to my attention!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

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Everyone’s a Band Geek… Everyone

20 07 2011

Band GeekI’m not 100% certain why “band geeks” represent the pinnacle of societal dorkdom, unless it’s simply that the sounds they create draw extra attention, but there you have it: band geeks.

I was a band geek. Six years of clarinet placed me squarely in that category. I geeked out over thicknesses of woodwind reeds, marching band choreography, and degree of air flow.

Being a band geek meant that you talked music lingo, hung with fellow “beeks”, fell into micro-cultures and inner cliques (because heaven forbid a sax player should roll with the trumpets, though the trumpet section always wound up dating the flutists… go figure) and generally became recognized as one of THOSE kids.

That last one, by the way, was the holy grail of band geeking. You didn’t belong until everyone else recognized you as such. This is a critical point to remember as you read on.

Sheer Geekery – We’re Surrounded!

EVERYONE is a “band geek” of one form or another.

I came to this particularly unusual theory on a particularly amusing bicycle ride, where the conversation turned to gear ratios, limit screws, cadence and racing tires. No average person, I realized, would have understood even a twelfth of that conversation.

But then, neither would they have understood the horsey chit-chat of my fellow equestrians, the techno-banter of my fellow designers, the title-packed talk of my fellow bookworms, the race chatter of my fellow runners…

Think about it. There are football geeks, grammar geeks, airplane geeks, art geeks, gardening geeks, church geeks and coupon geeks. And you’ve certainly met grill geeks, and goth geeks, and history geeks, and fashion geeks, and movie geeks, and EVERYONE knows at least one Dungeons & Dragons geek. There’s a “geek” title to crown every interest in existence.

Why? Because “geek” is really just another name for “person with a passion”. And that describes us all.

Geeking Out Over the Goods – Why People Buy

Let me ask you a question: Why does a customer who goes into their local sporting goods store for a pack of fish hooks walk out with the new Sonar-Activated, Quasi-Techline Rod Master 2000?

Because when he walked in, he found himself in the middle of a heated who-has-the-coolest-fishing-gear debate. And he added his two cents, and was validated by one or more participant. And he felt like a part of something – like he belonged – and it fed his enthusiasm. And a simple hook purchase turned into a back-slapping, you’re-gonna-love-it, cool-by-association rod purchase. And he drove home in a cloud of euphorically geeked up self esteem.

Don’t underestimate the power of that desire. It can be one of the most powerful reasons people buy.

But don’t take advantage of it either. A customer who’s been wrongly jockeyed into a purchase will eventually feel used and cheated. An embarrassed customer is not a repeat customer.

Moral of the Story – It’s All Geek to Me

Business owners, embrace your inner band geek. There’s a market for what you sell, and a gaggle of geeks for every market. Bring your passion into play, and you’ll draw those people who will best appreciate what you have to offer.

“Mr. Worf, scan that ship.” … “Aye, Captain. 300 dpi?”  ~ Anonymous (Star Trek + graphic design humor… gotta love it!)

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com