The Real Reasons Customers Buy, And How To Use That Information To Send Your Sales Straight Up!

There was recently a survey done with retail customers. They were asked what they considered important when deciding who to purchase from.

Most retailers would jump on Price as the most important.

Nope. Price came in number five. There were many considerations listed after number five, but here are the top five, with number one being most important;

5) Confidence

6) Quality

7) Selection

8) Service

9) Price

Surprised?

Confidence means confidence in the dealer. Confidence that if there is a problem, it will be taken care of. Confidence that they will hear the truth when they ask a question. Confidence that their interests are being served.

Quality means almost the same thing as confidence. They want to be sure that the product will perform as expected an not cause them a headache. Quality can be summed up as " confidence in the product" .

Selection can mean several things, I suppose. Of course, it means having several models to choose from. I would go further and say it means having the most popular models in stock. That's what many people want to see.

For example, we sell vacuum cleaners. We are not a Hoover dealer. We get people that ask " Do you sell Hoovers?" , and when I say " NO" , they assume that means I have no inventory, or that I don't offer a selection. We finally bought several at retail and so when people ask us " Do you have Hoovers?" We can say " Yes, we have several in stock, along with 135 other vacuums. When can you come in to see them?"

The biggest benefit of having a wider selection (including several national brands) is that the customer has the feeling (in the store) that they have shopped.

For example, if you are looking for an appliance; how many models do you really want to look at? 100?

For me it's about three. Even the most anal retentive Consumer Report toting shopaholic couldn't stand looking at more than six different models before they get tired of looking and buy.

Service simply means taking care of the customer after they buy. It's very related to Confidence. In fact, the first four considerations are really about confidence in you and your product, aren't they?

Price is almost always a consideration, let's not kid ourselves. But price is only the determining factor in a small percentage of cases.

Do this; Go into the nearest Wal-Mart. Go ahead, you can get to one in less than five minutes unless you live in Alaska. Look at the people shopping there. They aren't a real cross-section of America. Sure, there is a Doctor or two, an bank vice-president or two, but mostly, these people are lower middle (and not so middle) income people.

And Wal-Mart has more to offer than the perception of the lowest price. They do have a selection and have a liberal return policy. But when you think of Wal-Mart (now that Sam Walton is gone) you think primarily of " Lowest Price" don't you?

Anyway, Confidence is what you want to foster in your customer.

Having a liberal return policy will help. In fact, I have never seen an instance where the returns outweigh the increased profits. A clean store generates confidence.

Referrals from your current customers are a big part of this. Now you have " Borrowed Confidence" from the referrer.

Having a selection to choose from shows that your business is stable & will be here in the future.

Why am I harping about price not being the prime factor in buying?

Read on!...

Because everyone else in your market is advertising the lowest price and almost nothing else.

They are all sharing the same piece of the pie...the lowest profit piece of the pie.

Ads that stress lowest price appeal to roughly 20% of the buying public..the poorest, least profitable 20%.

If you advertise & market " What you do for them" and " What they get when they buy from you" you are now appealing the top 20% of the market. The most profitable 20%.

The other 60% of the market are concerned with a variety of factors, including all five mentioned above.

You can target the top (or bottom) 20%. You can't target the entire population.

Pick a niche, market to them, and reap the rewards.

Claude Whitacre is the author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual. Claude speaks on small business advertising and retail marketing.

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