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What makes people think how they do and buy something

This is a very important question to look at if we are embarking on our Marketing Plan. By trying to understand our customers better we can then find better and faster ways to appeal to their buying nature.

We are told that:

Logic makes people think

Emotion makes people act

Several of today’s guru’s talk about the acronym TFAR:  THOUGHTS lead to FEELINGS which lead to ACTIONS which end in RESULTS.

But is this truly accurate in the buying process?

Many of us tend to think of decision making as a process in which two separate and opposite mechanisms are engaged in a critical struggle, with the emotional and impulsive mechanism within us tempting us to choose the “wrong” thing, while the rational and intellectual mechanism that we also carry inside us slowly and ploddingly promises to lead us eventually to make the right choice. This description, which was also shared by many scientists until several decades ago, is both simplistic and wrong.

Scientists used to assume that emotion and rationality were opposed to each other, but Antonio Damasio, now professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, has found that people who lose the ability to perceive or experience emotions as the result of a brain injury find it hard or impossible to make any decisions at all. They can't shop.

Our emotional and intellectual mechanisms work together and sustain each other. Sometimes they cannot be separated at all. In many cases a decision based on emotion or intuition may be much more efficient—and indeed better—than a decision arrived at after thorough and rigorous analysis of all the possible outcomes and implications.

These are the two motivating factors in a person for doing anything in their life; to gain pleasure, or to avoid pain. You may have heard it stated this way, "The carrot or the stick". The carrot represents the edible reward, while the stick refers to a punishing switch.

Your goal in finding the answer to the prospects' problems is to find the pleasure they wish to gain or the pain they wish to avoid, and then show them how your product or service will help them avoid that pain, or gain the pleasure they seek.

This may seem very simplistic, but in fact, buying and selling any product, service, or idea boils down to simplicity.

People buy products or services based on emotional needs or wants, and then justify their purchase logically.

Every person has a transactional mode and a relational mode of shopping, so don't be surprised when you see yourself in both descriptions. You, like all other shoppers, are extremely transactional in certain product and service categories and wholly relational in others. At any given time and in any given category, about one half of all shoppers will be in transactional mode and the other half will be in relational mode

Transactional Shoppers – are those who are focused only on today's transaction and give little thought to the possibility of future purchases.

  • Their only fear is of paying more than they had to pay. Transactional shoppers are looking for price and value.
  • They enjoy the process of comparing and negotiating and will likely shop at several stores before making their decision to purchase.
  • Transactional shoppers do their own research so they won't need the help of an expert. Consumer Reports are published primarily for the transactional shopper.
  • Because they enjoy the process, transactional shoppers don't consider their time spent shopping to be part of the purchase price.
  • Anxious to share the “good deal” they've found, transactional shoppers are excellent sources of word-of-mouth advertising.

Relational shoppers consider today's transaction to be one in a long series of many future purchases. They are looking less for a product than for a store in which to buy it.

  • Their only fear is of making a poor choice. Relational shoppers will purchase as soon as they have confidence. Will your store and your staff give them this confidence they seek?
  • They don't enjoy the process of shopping and negotiating.
  • Relational shoppers are looking principally for an expert they can trust.
  • They consider their time to be part of the purchase price.
  • Confident that they have found “the right place to buy,” relational shoppers are very likely to become repeat customers.

Bottom line: There is no “perfect ad.” The right thing to say to a relational shopper is the wrong thing to say to a transactional one. The secret to attracting and keeping happy customers is to communicate the truth about who and what you really are. Remember, you're not a 100 dollar bill. Not everyone is going to like you.

Having said that, we can readily see who our product(s), service, or idea(s) will appeal to. Knowing this we can build our marketing campaign based on this information and appeal to these two different types of buyers. Bringing us back to the point that we must know who are target market is and focusing in on them. Especially if we ascribe to the philosophy that 20% of our clients buy 80% of our product, the secret is to find the other 80% who think the same way as the first 20% do.

Next issue we will look at “Why Do People Buy”.

The Laws of Human Nature 

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power comes the definitive new book on decoding the behavior of the people around you

Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.

We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defense.

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