Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Your Clients Aren't Buying Your Product!

Ask any marketer, the best way to promote or sell a product, service, or idea is to show the benefits to the specific person you are trying to get to buy.

It's the benefits that people are really buying - not the product.

Thus the struggle for any marketing department (and thus for every small business owner) is figuring out which benefits are to sell your product - and which ones aren't. It's figuring out what makes you, your business and the products you sell stand out and want to be bought.

For example, people don't want to pay for someone to cut and style their hair as much as they want to feel more beautiful. But when they have looked at all their options on "how to look and feel more beautiful", they usually decide that they will go to a professional to have them do it.

Cutting, coloring, or styling hair are the services provided, but looking and feeling beautiful is the benefit.

Likewise, people don't go to the local baseball stadium to watch a baseball game, they can watch one (just about any time of day or night) on TV. They go down to the stadium, because of the benefits of seeing a game live - the roar of the crowd, the excitement and energy of the stadium, and the memories it invokes of when they were young. They aren't paying as much for the game as they are paying for the experience and memories of the event.

The ball game, the hot dogs and peanuts / cracker jacks are the products, but the energy, excitement and the memories are the benefit.

I could go on with just about any product or service out there, but I think you get the point. The key is to look beyond what you sell and figure out the benefits that your clientele were sold on when they hired you or bought your products.

Or even more importantly, the key is to figure out the what benefits your potential clients are looking to fulfill.

But you can't stop there - as most business owners that get this far do. The second half of the equation is understanding what people are willing to exchange - usually money and / or time - for the benefits you are offering.

And this comes down to understanding the value people place on the benefits your product or service are providing / offering.

Safety is a great benefit that many cars offer as their primary benefit, but that's not necessarily the a benefit that a 19 year old boy is willing to spend much money on. Where it is priceless to a 35 year old single Mom of three kids.

So the the real question comes down to, what is the value of the benefits you offer - not in your mind . . . but in the mind of your current and potential customers?

I'm sorry to say, finding this answer is not easy. It takes considerable work. But without it, you are simply throwing darts at a dartboard, blindfolded. And far too many business owners (large and small) make the mistake of thinking they know - when in fact they don't. But if you take away only one thing from this blog, let it be that if you want to know what matters to your clients (why they are buying your product),


In the case of the hair stylist (I mentioned above) people don't just want to look beautiful, once a week or once a month, they want to look that way EVERY DAY - but they know they can't afford it. Many people are willing to do a lot of daily personal hair care (washing it, blowing it dry and even maybe coloring it on occasion), but most value a professional when it comes to get it cut. While others value their beauty so much they are willing to pay for washing and curling by a professional every week.

The truth is, what benefits people are looking for and how much they value those benefits vary greatly. But if you truly want to make someone (or a group / target market) your client, YOU as the marketer / business owner need to learn and take the time to understand these things and use them to grow and enhance both your business and your customer's experience when they to choose you over every other way to satisfy their needs.

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