Steve Kaplan's Blog

June 17, 2011

Why Customers Buy

Filed under: Steve Insight — stevekaplan @ 7:02 am

By identifying the real reasons your customers buy what they buy, you’ll be able to tailor your selling proposition (the “why” they should buy) to each customer base.

First, of course, you need to know which category your customers fit in. Say you’ve never even thought of categorizing your customers. Well, what are you waiting for?

I divide customers into 4 categories. Remember that no category is inherently superior and that customers can shift from one category to another: A quality seeker at Macy’s might be a price seeker at Blockbuster and a satisfaction seeker at Joe’s Pizza Parlor. When customers decide whether to buy something, they are often motivated by more than one need.

To discover what motivates your customers:

Know your categories. Read and understand each category definition (in the next  post), especially the buzzwords and what each type of category is thinking.

Gather intelligence. Ask your customers why they buy. Develop a simple two-or three- question survey your sales or customer service personnel can use. Depending on your type of business, ask customers to rank their priorities: price? quality? style? selection? safety? If yours is a B2B, ask your salespeople to fill out the information based on their knowledge of customers and their purchases.

Get out and observe. There’s no substitute for your own eyes and ears. Walk your retail space; talk with customers; join a company call. Ask for opinions on how you’re doing and how you can improve. You’ll be surprised at how much people want to help you.

Once you know what they’re buying and why, you can generalize by putting customers into the four basic categories of need.  Next post: the Four Categories of Customer.

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