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Why Do People Buy?

Why do people buy?

Originally posted to Linkedin

I know that people have a lot of complicated metrics and pyramids and explanations for these things, but the truth is there are actually very few factors at play in why people buy anything. Here’s a list of the reasons.

  • Perception of difference from competing solutions
  • Perception of value relative to competing solutions
  • Little or no risk (to the company or the individual within the company)
  • They like you, believe you, have confidence in you and trust you (as a company and individual). Liking you is first.

Obviously someone does have to be aware of you in the first place and that’s no mean feat in itself. Really though, that’s it. There is very little else at play. There are plenty of elements within each of these that shape whether someone will buy or not though.

The single largest factor that most companies fail to understand about this very short list is that these elements all have context. That context is that of your customer and their experience and understanding of you and your brand and products and services.

No doubt you have amazing quality products but so does some of your competition and even if they don’t can your customer see the difference? Or is that difference important to them?

No doubt you are amazing value but how can your customer tell and what does value mean to a customer in your market anyway? Sometimes value for a luxury item is not in function but in conversation and social context and meaning.

I’m sure that buying from you involves no risk at all in terms of the purchase itself. But risk is a funny thing that sometimes isn’t anything to do with the reliability of a product. There may be no greater actual risk to a business and in fact the risk might be less with buying from you but the risk around where responsibility will lie if something goes wrong (and things go wrong) may change depending on how you, your business and product/service are perceived relative to a competitor.

People have to like you. It covers a lot of ills and opens the door for people to believe you and have confidence in you. Ultimately leading to trust. Trust is vital for the buying process but it starts with people liking you.

*Note the absence of quality or price from this list. Note especially the use of the word “perception” with regards to value and differentiation.

So ask yourself, are you considering all these things when you think about your marketing materials activities and planning? How are you supporting these elements of the buying decision? Within your marketing team you need to be brutally honest and explicit about how you are perceived using the context of the people you want to buy from you.

Or are you just dying to talk about yourself.