Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

How to massively increase your sales and profits, with this 1 great idea!

If you want to increase the number of clients you have or boost your sales figures, here’s a quick marketing tip for you: “People buy for their reasons, not yours!”

Most small business owners make the mistake of selling their services, based on what THEY think matters.  In other words, they look at their product or service and because they know it so well, they assume they ALSO know why each individual person wants to buy it.

They are wrong!

Buying motives

Notice I used the word individual in that last paragraph?  This is because people have their own, individual motivations for making a purchase.  We call this their buying motive. If you try and sell or market your service to someone, based on what you assume will be of most importance to them, you may well lose their interest.  However, if you take a moment to discover what matters to them, you will know exactly what to focus on.

That single step, of discovering someone’s buying motive and then focusing on what motivates them, can increase your conversion rate by hundreds of percent!

I saw a great example of this last weekend.  I needed a new phone, so I visited a store and was greeted by the store manager.  She asked me how she could help and when I told her I was looking to buy a new phone, she asked me a few simple questions:

  • What would I be using the phone for
  • Whether I had a contract or not and who the contract was with
  • What my budget was

Once I gave her my answers, she was able to point me in the direction of a small selection of phones that did what I wanted.  Then, by asking and answering my questions, we were able to spot a clear winner.  She discovered my buying motives and focused everything on getting me a phone, that fitted my needs.  I got a great phone which I am extremely happy with and she made a sale (and an advocate!) Win-win!

By the way, discovering someone’s buying motive always allows you to render better service to them.  With my example of the phone store manager, at no point did I even feel like I was being sold to.  It felt like she was using her knowledge to advise me, so I made the right decision.  Now, had the store manager simply looked at how I was dressed (in jeans and a t shirt), and then assumed I would want a “lifestyle” phone or that I was on a low budget, she would have lost the sale.  She would also have came across as pushy, because she would have been offering me things I wasn’t interested in.

Whenever you speak with a prospective client or customer for the first time, always establish what’s important to them and what they are looking for.  Make that your primary focus.  If you get it right, people will never feel like you are selling to them; just like in the example I gave earlier.  You will come across as a professional, who is helping them make the best decision possible, based on their needs – not yours!

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Photo: Terry Johnston

Marketing

26 Comments

  1. Another very good post Jim. When I talk to small business owners I try to make this point by using restaurants as an example. Imagine going out for something to eat – when you sat down there were no menus and a waiter or waitress just brought you some food.

    Even if you’re allowed to order your own food, asking for steak then not being asked how you like it is another example. This actually happened to me once, I was in a restaurant and asked for my steak to be well done. I received a reply from the kitchen via the waiter that my steak would be cooked medium because the Chef didn’t believe in doing them well done. Needless to say I’ve never been back to that restaurant!

  2. Jim, this is such great advice. However, its sometimes difficult to persuade clients that they should focus less on themselves in their printed collateral as opposed to their customers. We try hard but …. I guess you bought the T-Shirt on that one!

    Thanks for sharing – great blog.

    Regards

    Rob

  3. Way to go, Jim… I’ll be passing this one along to my wife the Sales Manager. Rock on!

  4. Hey Jim,

    I actually love these brass tacks/heart of the business insights/articles. The fluff, the guff and the waffle with clever tips, strategies, “killer methods” and all that razzle is all irrelevant if the foundations of life/business aren’t applied. What matters (as you so rightly pointed out) is just simple human nature when you look at it, but how many of us are guilty of being “inhuman” with our strategies sometimes? Even us, that should know better. It really is astonishing.

    Lovely piece, and well shared, mate.

    ~Ben

    • As you rightly said Ben, it’s all about the fundamentals. Get these right and everything falls into place.

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. I was invited to view a webinar recently which promised to give me helpful information on how I could use social media to help my business.

    I tuned in, intrigued by the subject matter. However the first few minutes was taken up with the speaker talking about his business and what they did. My thought was ‘How is this supposed to help me?” As he just continued with his description of his firm and its services I switched off.

    Had he started in a different way, I would probably have listened to it all.

    • That sounds like the standard procedure of internet marketing ‘gurus’ out there. Give little and then ask for cash at the end to tell you the real secrets that will turn your life around.

      I have started unfollowing/unsubscribing so many of these type of people (many well known names too) as you become wise to their tactics.

      • I hear stories like Tessa’s all the time; people using “free” webinars as a poorly disguised way to upsell something.

        If only they gave some value and stopped trying to push.

  6. Absolutely essential advice once again Jim!

    I had a similar experience to yours recently when buying walking shoes. The sales assistant asked great questions, discovered exactly what my needs were and provided great service, to the point of recommending a competitor when I asked for accessories.

    That’s the kind of service that guarantees capturing and gaining repeat business

    • Hi Tom. It also builds word of mouth referrals too.

      I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that shoe shop to your friends.

  7. This is very useful information to every company that is offering any king of customer services. It shows the importance of the customer service being customer oriented. Many companies tend to do this mistake thinking that they know what the customers should have. In the bottom line the customer is always right and companies should be willing to facilitate their wishes and wants.
    I really enjoyed this article.

  8. Excellent lessons to apply to your business. If you are selling a business service and not a tangible product you may have a tougher time discovering the customers buying motive or perspective.

    One way to address this is to attach your service to increased profitability, customer satisfaction/retention, decreased risk, etc. These are tangible benefits that will enable your service to be understood and therefore purchased by your clients.

    • Hi Mike. I have sold a service for 15 years and never once encountered an issue uncovering a prospective clients buying motive.

      Just ask them what matters most to them. Ask them what they are looking for.

      Maybe I have just been really lucky, but I have used that approach many thousands of times with a 100% total success rate.

      • Well, you do have better hair, so that helps out tremendously.

        I also doubt your sales track record is due to luck. You’re far better at articulating your value proposition to a potential client.

        This is a challenging area for me. But I continue to educate myself on that front. I’m getting better by slow increments.

  9. It sounds so simple- and obvious- but so many sales people (marketers too) make this mistake. Start with the prospects needs first. Ask them questions and listen carefully. Listening to them will tell you a lot of things- such as what their true needs are, whether or not you can help them, and their buying motives. Then you will know how to proceed with your solution to their problem or opportunity, etc. and help them buy from you rather than you trying to sell them something.

  10. Good evening everyone.
    Another great post full of advices to follow methodically.
    The most common mistake we can notice as business owners, is that people don’t listen to others.

    If you don’t consider each one of your client demand as an opportunity you won’t never ever work for good.

    Never forget that the demand creates the market and you have to listen to it. Then, you’ll be able to establish your offers. Pull the market, don’t push it or you’ll be pushed out.

  11. Jeremy McMinn

    March 23, 2011 at 23:39

    Telemarketers are a great example of this.

    They go straight into their telemarketing script without even beginning to consider their prospects concerns, wants and needs.

    Some simple questions beforehand would do wonders for their conversion rates.

    Will they ever learn?

    • Indeed. The best telemarketers never sound like they are reading from a script. They still piss me off by calling me, just because they have my number, though. 99% of the time, their call is trying to sell me something I have zero use for,

      Shoddy telemarketing is an annoyance. When done correctly (which is super-rare) it can be useful. This is primarily the case, when you are an existing customer of theirs.

  12. Another fine post Jim – love how your every day life teaches us something.

    FYI, I’m like the phone girl – only with tech (and lawyers). ;)

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