Why Your Customers Buy from You… and Not the Others
If you’ve got a current side-hustle, it’s important to know the reasons your customers buy from you and no one else. As Simon Sinek tells us in Start with Why, people don’t buy what we do. They buy why we do it.
Even if you haven’t sold a product yet, it’s important to start with the customer, not the end-game. “To make more money” isn’t the answer to the question of why you’re in business.
The challenge is to find what moves the customer.
She doesn’t care about bells and whistles. All the little bits that make your product hum aren’t the reason we buy. Those are logical reasons. We don’t buy with logic. We buy with emotions. Later, we justify our purchases with logic.
This means it’s time to change focus.
Instead of beginning with the product, we start with the emotional needs of the customer.
We Run from Lions
Our buying decisions are made from the oldest part of our brain–the limbic system. This is the part that made our ancestors run from lions and swim from big fish.
This means we make our buying decisions with the deepest, most-emotional piece of our mind.
As Simon Sinek tells us, our limbic system can’t put our feelings into words. This is where ‘gut feelings’ and ‘trust your gut’ come from. We can’t tell you why we buy a certain product–not the real reasons. The buying feelings are automatic, ancient, and emotional.
Later, after we make the purchase, only then do we rationalize the purchase with the logical parts of our brain.
We want to feel better about what we buy.
We look at the stats. We read all the bullet points. We open the manual and tell friends about the great deal we just made. But the original purchase decision–that gut feeling of yes or no–the buying decision comes from the limbic system.
We run from lions and we do so automatically.
These ancient warning bells are designed to keep us safe and healthy. However, this old piece of meat hasn’t evolved with technology. There are no more lions or big fish chasing us. Instead, the limbic system is used to choose your next pair of sunglasses.
If those sunglasses don’t stir the right emotional response inside you, there’s no purchase.
We Earn Our Customer’s Trust
Part of emotional selling involves trust. Not only is trust important to your next sale, trust will sway your decision.
If you have to choose between two opinions, one from an expert stranger, well-qualified to help you make a certain decision, and your uncle Walt–you’ll probably choose Walt. Although he’s got no expertise in your area, you trust him.
When we trust people, we believe they operate in our best-interest. When someone operates in our best-interest we buy from them.
How do we earn trust?
We contact our customers one-to-one. We kneel and operate at the customer’s level. We see the world through their eyes. We don’t speak to them as a group. We understand our customers’ pain and we show our customers how to remove it.
We get vulnerable.
We share our mistakes as well as triumph.
Customers learn to trust us when they believe in the work we do and the reason we do our work (the why) matches the beliefs and ideals of the customer.
We Stand for Something
Not only do we focus our marketing on the customer, we also take a clear stance as to why we do what we do. We stand for something.
Whether we donate money from every sale to charity, we help our customers do such-and-such, or our business exists to increase the greater good of humanity.
What we stand for is the feelings-side of the buying equation.
Your customers believe in your business, not because of your product, but because of how your products add (or subtract) from her self-image.
We buy certain products to help tell the story of ourselves.
We want others to see what we believe on the inside by the story our purchases tell on the outside. As a business, if we can articulate what we stand-for, our customers will have an easy time deciding if our story matches theirs.
We Paint the ‘Before’ Picture
Sometimes a customer may not buy, because she can’t see where you fit in her life. One of the best ways to help shoehorn your product in the customer’s mind, is by painting the before picture.
The before image is the customer’s current life–the life without your product in it.
Remember, we run from lions.
If you want to jump-start the customer’s limbic, decision-making brain, you’ve got to show her how bad the current situation is. We need something to run from.
- Show the life without exercise
- Show what’s it’s like with a lack of income
- Show a lack of friends
- Show a lack of potential or knowledge
- Show a lack of fun
No matter what product you sell, you offer some kind of transformation. If we want to show that transformation, we start with the current world. We shine a light on the problem. We need to activate an emotional response.
We don’t care about your product. We care how your product makes us feel.
We Amplify the Problem
Shining light on the current problem isn’t enough. Your customer is already aware of the problem. But, to date she’s done nothing about it.
What can we do to encourage her to make a decision?
We amplify the problem. Using future-pacing we show what life will be like if the customer makes no decision–what will happen if she continues to live the way she does now. This is how we pour gas on the emotional fire.
- We show how much potential income she’ll lose
- We show how he might die younger if something doesn’t change
- We show the lack of time
- We show a lack of productivity
- We show a lower quality of life
By pouring gas on the emotional fire, your customer is now aware of the problem and is compelled to do something about it, else she’ll earn the future life you’ve painted if she continues on her path.
We Present the Solution
The solution to the current problem is your product. If your customer wants the pain to stop, she’s got to buy what you sell. Not only have we addressed the emotional aspects of your product, we also offer a way to escape the pain of the current situation.
The solution is your transformation.
This is an alternate window through which your customer views her life. We’re not selling a new mattress. No one cares about your mattress. We want the solution for our back pain. You show us the transformation of no back pain. This the emotional trigger.
We just happen to sell mattresses.
This is the mistake many entrepreneurs make. They focus on all the details and facts about the product. They focus on the product, its color, and all the features. The features are important. But we only care about those after we make a decision to buy.
We buy the transformation.
We don’t like our current world. You’ve shown us what will happen if we keep living the way we do now. We’ll end up in a situation we don’t want. You’ve activated the emotional, lion-running piece of our brain.
…and here you are.
You’ve got a product to change our situation. Now, all we have to do is make a decision.
We Share the Secret Formula
With all the pieces in place, now is the part of the buying process where give the customer a look inside. We share the secret sauce, the formula, or recipe, to let the customer know we are the only one with the perfect answer to the customer’s problem.
While we don’t give every detail of the formula, these little hints help the logical part of our brain reassure itself that we made the right buying decision.
The secret formula is your solution.
This is the reason why you do what you do. This is the journey you followed to make your product better than the others. Your secret is your 12-step process, the secret paint, the unique code, or the founder’s vision.
When you have a proprietary formula, not only do you become the only solution to your customer’s problem, it becomes a lot harder to compete with you.
Why Customers Buy from You
We buy with emotions. We justify those purchases with logic. Your customers will follow you to the end of the earth if your product meets them on an emotional level.
- We want safety
- We want to look better
- We want to be more productive
- We want to feel better and live longer
- We want to lose weight
- We want to make more friends
- We want to connect with others
- We want to make more money
None of these emotional triggers have anything to do with the color of your buttons or the number of features on your website.
When we begin the interaction by meeting the customer on an emotional level, and later introduce the logical parts of our business. This is why people will buy from you. This is how to keep customers for life. And this is how you prevent those customers from leaving to buy from your competition.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell that work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor