When I first started my career in Commercial Radio, I learned that there are only two reasons why people will advertise; they want something better, or they fear something worse.

Everything falls under one of these headings.

In the thirty something years since I learned this, I have come to realise that this doesn’t just apply to advertising – it applies to every ‘buying decision’ we make. This could be a product, a service or even an idea.

This was reinforced recently when I read Donald Miller’s book, ‘Building A Story Brand’ in which he talks about the human brain and how its primary job is keeping us alive. Our brains don’t want to burn up too many calories. It wants to conserve them.

This means that when our brains are bombarded with information that isn’t relevant to our survival, it tunes out. It doesn’t want to use up the calories considering something that isn’t going to help us survive and thrive.

So, we have two theories;

  • People will buy if it’s going to make their life better or avoid something worse.
  • People will only buy if it will help them to survive and thrive.

Both these theories support the fact that as a business, you have a much better chance of getting people to buy from you, if you can clearly demonstrate in a concise way, how your product or service will benefit them.

My belief has always been that businesses that put their customers at the centre of everything they do, stand a much better chance of thriving than a business that tries to sell people something they don’t want.

Knowing how your products or services will benefit each of the target markets you are aiming them at is central to getting your message across. Knowing the results other people have experienced in working with you will strengthen your position, especially if you can demonstrate how you’ve made their lives better, or helped them to avoid something (i.e., marketing a business in such a way that it averts the threat posed by a new competitor in the market).

Creating a profile for each of your target markets will make you think about what it is that will motivate people to buy from you, as well as any objections they might have to buying (yes, people will probably still have objections even if you are trying to help them).

Using social proof in your sales and marketing collateral will also help. There’s a belief in sales that people buy people and whilst this is true to a degree, people actually buy people like them. So, if you can use testimonials and case studies that show how you’ve helped people to get the results that your target market want it makes your promise more credible.

Finally, if the mission of your business is to help solve the problems of your customers, everyone that works with you understands what it is the organisation is aiming to achieve. If your mission is clear and your people know the part they play in ensuring this is achieved, they are more likely to be engaged and will strive to achieve the same aim as the organisation.

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