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Why People Buy What They Buy

When you think about why people buy what they buy, you will find that the decision process operates at two very distinct levels.

Why People Buy Is Really Two Questions

  1. Why do people buy the generic solution?
  2. Why do people buy a specific product or service?

An Example – Why Do You Buy And Own A Car?

The reason probably goes something like this…

You have a need or want for personal transportation that gives you independence from public transport and from other people.

First look at a need for a car.

Perhaps you live in the countryside and you work in the city. There is no public transport that will get you to and from work in a reasonable time.

You don’t know anyone else who lives nearby who makes a similar journey at a similar time so there is no opportunity for you to receive a regular lift.

You could use a taxi service every day but buying and owning a car is cheaper.

Your need for a car might not be that strong and compelling.

Perhaps it’s your want for a car that makes you choose to spend some of your spare money on a car rather than saving it or other forms of expense.

Perhaps you value the freedom and independence that having your own car gives you. While you can accept that other people may decide to spend their money in a different way, owning a car is important to you.

Why buy a new BMW 520 rather than a second hand Mercedes C class?

Once you’ve decided that you will buy a car, why do you buy a particular car?

The issues come down to your purchase criteria for what you want your car to do for you, and in this case, say about you.

There are some functional issues:

  • How many people do you want or need to carry?
  • Do you need a car to be a certain size so that you can fit in it? I do.
  • How many doors do you want?
  • How big a boot do you need?
  • How important is the fuel consumption and the other running costs per mile?
  • Will something stop you from having the car you want? For example sky-high insurance premiums?

These narrow you down to a broad category of car that you want.

Then you have to balance how much you can afford to spend on a car (to buy it or lease it per month) with how you feel about a new car rather than a second hand car.

Then you need to focus on particular brands and models. Is one appealing to you particularly because of its looks, its image or performance?

Can you see how a decision like buying a car is made up of many smaller decisions which gradually narrow down the choice until there are a small number left.

Using These Ideas

There are fundamental questions you need to answer:

Why do your customers buy what you sell at the generic level?

Why do they buy from you rather than your competitors?

Why do they buy that particular product or service from you, rather than something else you sell?

And, just as important…

Why don’t well qualified prospective customers buy from you and either:

  • Buy from one of your competitors?
  • Don’t buy at all?

Answering these questions will go a long way to showing how you need to improve your lead generation and conversion activities.

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