There are a lot of factors that go into the buying process, whether you sell to consumers or other businesses. The obvious is your prospect must perceive a need for your product or service. But if everyone who needed your products or services bought them, you’d be on easy street, right?
While often overlooked, people tend to buy based on want, not need. Need simply allows buyers to justify the purchase –it will save me time or money, it will keep my kids safe, it will get a lot of use, it’s a real bargain, etc. Wants, on the other hand, are more emotional such as fear, greed, image, or guilt.
So here is the challenge for a business – you must address both. Whether you are making a presentation, having a discussion or creating marketing campaigns, your message should have emotional triggers and justification. In other words, make it easy for them to decide.
The Buying Process
Here’s an example to demonstrate this point. Think of this as the mental steps you, like your prospects, go through during the buying process. Sometimes the process is short. Other times, like when buying a car, it’s longer.
- First, you determine you need a new car. Maybe yours is old and needs major repairs. Maybe you are starting a family and safety matters. Maybe you saw a new model you loved. All are reasons used to justify the purchase.
- Next, you think about what you want. This is the daydream stage. When looking for a car, do you start with the smallest or cheapest? Probably not. People are drawn to what makes them feel good – and later decide if they can afford it. Using an emotion (like fear, image or greed) and linking it to a need is a great way to ensure potential customers come back when the process is complete.
- Finally, you come back to needs – or reality. In this stage, consumers start to justify why or why not. The sports car doesn’t have enough trunk space. The SUV uses a lot of gas. They often make a mental list of requirements – maybe something spacious or something functional or something that won’t double insurance payments, etc. This is where the struggle begins. The consumer now faces the need versus want ordeal. And you can use this to your advantage.
Remember, if the customer can justify making the purchase, he or she WILL! Look beyond the need and focus on the why because that is often where the want dwells. Emotional triggers help a customer decide that his or her ‘need’ and ‘want’ are the same thing – ultimately a must-have! And that’s great for business.
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