How your customers buy and how you can get more of them to buy from you
It is interesting when you think about the marketplace; there are lots of buyers and lots of sellers. There are even lots of sellers of the same products, but customers will choose one seller over another consistently, but not every customer will choose the same seller; they purchase the same product from different sellers for different reasons.
Have you ever seen a business that seems to be doing things reasonably well – or very well – that suddenly changes the way they do business? How did that impact your thinking about that business? Perhaps it made you more loyal if the changes were those that appeal to you. Alternatively, you may find that you no longer wish to do business with that business.
More than likely, the business is attempting to narrow into their target market and the way they sell to that market; you may or may not be part of their target audience. So, by extension, this business probably realizes that the changes that they make may not appeal to every single customer, but that there are greater revenue opportunities by serving the needs of a narrower market. Perhaps the target would purchase more, be willing to pay more or will cost the company less to serve.
The understanding is that you cannot serve everyone. As big as the largest discount retailers in the world are, there are large segments of the population that would not darken their doors. At the same time, the savviest specialty stores will never see any money from parts of the population. In either case, the businesses that do well are those that do not have an identity crises; they understand who their customers are and how they buy.
The keys to tapping into how your customers buy are as follows:
- Start with the very basic standard; define who your customers are. What is their motivation for buying? Is it a need or want? Do they purchase for prestige or individuality or just on impulse? How often would they buy? Are they more concerned about price or quality?
- Learn how they purchase similar products. If you are in the hotel/restaurant space – is it the brand your customers are after? Customer reviews: The more people you watch or learn from, the better your chances of getting a purer understanding of how they buy are.
- Think about the whole buying process – from the time they first become aware of your offering and your company beyond the purchase point:
- Awareness – the first impression is a lasting one. Regardless of how you try to fix it.
- Interest – simply putting information out to an uninterested audience is a waste of time and resources. Understand what will pique their interests
- Decision – they will either buy or not buy – it may be now or later, but they will make a decision; how will you impact their decision? Commitment – not everyone will purchase immediately. If they only make a commitment – how will you ensure that they don’t change their mind before they actually buy?
- Action – how will you get their check? What confidences do they need? How important is the amount they pay versus the value you provide?
- Talk – involve your customers and staff in refinement of meeting your customers’ expectations and needs during the buying process
- Evaluate – what parts of the process could/should you incorporate into selling your offering?
- Plan – you need to think about changing not just activities, but also mindsets; how will you address both?
- Act – all of the planning in the world won’t make a change. It is action that makes things happen.
Knowing who your customers are and how they buy, then refining and implementing a solution or solutions to meet those needs will directly impact your business; doing the same old thing will get you the same old results. Perhaps good enough is good enough, but if your plan is to build a company that is extraordinary, constant development and refinement of ways to reach your markets’ needs must be an ongoing process. Commit to it on a regular basis and keep your company’s mindset and that of your customers on the idea that the company will constantly evolve to meet the requirements and expectations of its customers.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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