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  • Tom Matthews

Why Do Customers Buy?

The answer is a little shocking and a little counter-intuitive. Because it is not price, it is not even the product. It is who you are, who your company is. 

A customer buys if he believes you are competent and you have character. A 2013 BrightLocal survey asked the question: Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business? 85% of all businesses said they do this regularly or occasionally. The conclusion: consumers want to know if they are dealing with a company that has high integrity. 

If you think about your own experiences, we are much less concerned about the price when we trust the individual, trust him to be fair to us. Auto repair shops have a reputation for taking advantage of people that don’t understand cars. When I lived in Nashville, a shop close to my house had this advertisement: 

We treat you like you’re our brother or sister. We will diagnose the problem with your car, tell you what it will cost to fix it and not charge you a dime for this service. We want your business but we want to earn it. Feel free to take our estimate and shop it around. You will find we are very fair and will take great care of your vehicle.

Without reading the business books, this guy was hitting it right. Talking to his customer about his character and his competence. And his business kicked butt. He was always busy. When I left Nashville, he was looking for a larger space to accommodate all the work he had. 

One of the most fascinating sales persuasion books ever written is Influence written by Robert Cialdini. He is a professor emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at ASU. His entire thesis centers around the idea of pay it forward. Do something for someone and they will feel compelled to do something back for you (buy your products). The book is full of clinical studies proving these theories are correct. If you are good to your customers, treat them with respect, give them great value, they will remain loyal to you. We all complain about the loss of loyalty in today’s world. I don’t agree – I think it is the loss of earning loyalty. 

What are your calls to action? Here are some thoughts: 

Call your customers and schedule a meeting to help them grow. No strings attached. If your product is not best for your customer, find a better product for him or her even if you’re going to lose the sale. Listen to your salespeople. Are they solving your customer’s problems or are they trying to make a buck? If the latter, fix your salespeople! Send your best customers a $150 gift to your favorite restaurant with a note just to say thanks. 

This is the Warren Buffet way of building a client database. Slowly with a great foundation. Turn all of your customers into raving fans. This will be the cause of the effect of greater sales and greater profits. 

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