Understand the ‘Why’ in a Shopper’s Decision to Buy

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Understand the ‘Why’ in a Shopper’s Decision to Buy

What was the last thing you bought? Why did you decide to buy it? If you want to sell your own products to people, it’s important to understand the answers to these questions.

The last thing I bought at the grocery store was an ingredient to make a special dish: Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s an Indian dish, and one of my favorites. It’s also perfect to impress my friends with my cooking skills, and introduce them to the amazing world of Indian cuisine. (You’ll understand why this is important in a moment.)

As I walked through the store, grabbing items on my list, I came across one particular item I had to make a decision about – Garam Masala, one of the spices recommended to use in the dish. It was a hefty $6 for one little bottle and I thought to myself, “Is this really worth this price?”

That “worth” of the product I was thinking about can also be referred to as it’s “value”. But, value isn’t necessarily just a product’s price.

Value refers to the quality delivered compared to the cost of a product.

Garam masala

In my case, the product’s value would be how much it would affect the taste of the dish I was about to prepare. Would I be willing to pay $6 for the value of improving the flavor of my meal?

Focus on Providing Value

Value is something most businesses simply don’t talk about. Instead, they tout all the features of their product. For example, take the massive customer relationship management software company HubSpot.

HubSpot offers tons of features to their product, such as:

  • A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform
  • Marketing services
  • Marketing software
  • Website SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • A CMS (Content Management System)
  • A website builder
  • And more

However, HubSpot doesn’t sell based on these features… they sell based on the value they can add to business owners. HubSpot is “an inbound marketing and sales platform which can be customized to fit individual business owners needs and helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers”.

Hubspot website

Hubspot’s website

Whenever someone signs up for their free downloads (they have various templates and ebooks), a HubSpot employee will directly call them and ask them how HubSpot can better service their needs.

Rather than telling people “We have a CRM, come buy it!” they ask people “What are your biggest problems?”, then offer a specific solution built to fix those problems.

Key Takeaway: Ask your buyers about the problems they’re facing. Find out what is ailing them, then offer a solution built to fix that specific problem. Don’t be afraid to ask deep, meaningful questions like:

  • What is the biggest ailment to your business/in your life?
  • How is that affecting your day-to-day?
  • How much would it be worth to you if you could solve that problem?

Don’t sell based on your features, sell based on the specific benefits that solve a buyer’s specific problems.

With Guided Selling solutions such as product advisors or product selectors, you can ask interested buyers the right questions to understand their needs and problems. It’s faster than a phone call and more engaging than a typical online survey. Buyers will be able to immediately identify which of your solutions best fits their needs.

Nancy Nardin, thought leader on sales and marketing productivity tools and founder of Smart Selling Tools, applies this tactic to help marketers and sellers choose the right solution based on their business needs.

With the Solution Advisor users can select their role or department, define what they’re trying to improve to then receive suggestions for suitable tools or solutions that can help them solve their problems or challenges.

Smart Selling Tools - Solution Finder

Smart Selling Tools – Solution Advisor

Understand the “Why”

The “why” is why someone buys something. Some people care more about monetary value, others care about quality, and others (like me) care about how something will affect the taste of their meal. The reason one person buys something can be totally different than the reason another person buys.

Let’s go back to the Garam Masala. My personal values prioritized making my meal taste good so I could impress my friends. I knew this spice would improve the meal’s flavor, so I bought it – even though it came at a higher price point. However, if I valued money over improving the taste, I would have picked a different product.

If you don’t understand what your buyer values, you might try to solve the wrong problem and offer the wrong product or solution.

Don’t sell “things” – sell value.

People know when they’re being sold to; they can sense it. And when they do, they’ll put walls up and won’t buy. They want to feel like they’re getting a good value, whether that means a good price, a high-quality product, or great service. More importantly, they want the product to satisfy their unique blend of needs and wants.

How do you sell value?

  • Ask the customer what problems they’re facing.
  • Collaborate with them to discover what they value the most.
  • Figure out the best solution to their problem (even if it’s not your product) based on their unique values.
  • Help them understand the value of the solution you can deliver.

Getting people to see the value in your product and purchase isn’t rocket science. Just remember that you’re dealing with real people who have real problems and priorities. If you do that, you’ll easily match people’s problems with the right solutions and increase the value of your company. In turn, you’ll see more sales and happier, return customers.


About The Author
Bill Widmer
Bill is a freelance content writer who specializes in internet marketing and eCommerce. He holds a bachelor's in marketing and psychology from Penn State and is a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer. Follow him on social media.

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