People Have No Desire for Your Products or Services. And That’s the Secret of Selling
Why do people buy? Anything.
Why do people buy stuff? Why do they buy your services? Why do they buy art? Why do they buy a specific piece of art?
Let’s go wider still. Why do people buy into an argument? Why do they buy into a particular perspective? Why do they buy a story and into a story?
Not because they need any of these stuff. No one even buys the first-need stuff, like milk, based on need. We could buy any milk. But we buy a specific brand of milk. And need is not the cause of it.
That’s the first rule of selling anything:
Understanding that people never BUY (in as wide a sense as you want to use that word) because of need.
Buying is in fact based on a much deeper connection that we make with a skirt we see at the store, with the painting we see at the gallery, with the lawyer we choose to represent our case, with the person we select to design our logo, or take our wedding pictures, or bottle our milk or concoct our shampoo.
Buying is based on a deep personal connection. That’s the secret of all selling.
And that’s why you get a lot of marketing gurus running around waving their arms in the air and screaming down your social media channels:
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!
But all you want to do slap them across the face with a dead fish and yell back:
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!?! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!?!
We get ya. We’ve been there. We know what you’re wondering.
Are you supposed to go out and meet the thousands or hundreds, or dozens even of potential clients you’ve never met or had? How? That just seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Or are you supposed to fill out another one of those “avatar” forms where you daydream about your ideal client that buys at first sight, never asks any questions, and never has any complaints, and then “manifest” said dream client (times one thousand) into being by the sheer power of your will?
Good luck with that!
The gurus are right of course.
(Let’s use them for dinner, instead, shall we?)
No matter whether you want to build an e-commerce empire or whether you avoid any commercial routes like the plague, at the end of the day you still have to sell something to somebody. Even if that’s your services as an employee to your boss. You’re still selling and the boss is buying.
What may get missed in all the hoopla about knowing your customer and SELLING! SELLING! SELLING! are the underlying reasons why people buy.
From a straw hat to the Mona Lisa, people buy based on the same 3 simple principles.
If you want anyone to buy from you, you need to appeal to these three areas of your ideal audience’s mind through the way you PRESENT your products or services to the (online) market. And that includes both the visual and verbal presentations you put out there.
Understand that people have NO desire whatsoever to buy your product or services.
Hard to accept, isn’t it? But the sooner you do the sooner you’ll understand what people REALLY desire.
Schwartz classified all human desires into three categories:
• Physical desires (the desire to be sexier, prettier, stronger, etc);
• Material desires (the desire to have the latest gadgets, the coolest car, or lots of mollah);
• Sensual desires (the desire for a stiff drink after a long day, for some quiet time after the kids are off to bed, for a good kiss on a hot date).
You can’t create desire. All of the above desires pre-exist in your customers’ minds.
That means you shouldn’t waste your time and money trying to create a desire in your customers.
Your job is to uncover and understand the desires of your target audience and the place your products in a position to satisfy those pre-existing desires.
This is the reason why Coca-Cola centers its messaging around “happiness” (a sensual desire) and not “soft drinks.” And the reason why Apple markets its products around “revolutionary tools” (material desire) and not just “electronics.”
Other examples? People hire photographers and personal trainers for a desire in the same category: physical. They want to look good in their (wedding/anniversary/professional) pictures or in real life.
People pay designers and copywriters (hello!) NOT because they DESIRE a website (who cares about websites anyway?) but because of the material desire to generate a good income.
People buy body butters and lipstick and perfumes, not from the desire of rubbing their skin with ointments, but from the sensual desires for relaxation or flirtation.
What your customers (and customers everywhere) desire is not your products or services, but the effects of your products or services.
If you nail this difference, you’ve won half the battle to the cash register. Cha-ching!
Best case in point: novels.
No one buys novels because of a need to read. But we all like to read books (or watch movies and series) because we like identifying with a specific character.
You customers don’t only have to desire the effect of your products or services in order to be convinced to buy, but they also have to identify with the results you claim satisfying that desire will have.
As customers, we don’t simply buy a product because it fulfills a desire. We also (subconsciously) buy the specific brand of product because it helps us project a story about ourselves, an image that we identify with.
That’s why identification is the secret behind creating unique product positioning.
Do people choose Samsung phones over Apple, or vice versa, because they’ve actually read and compared all the specs? Um, NO! They do so because of the image of their ideal customer each company projects.
Do you prefer one car maker over another based entirely on what’s under the hood? No. You probably never even lifted the damn hood. But the notion of how “green” or how “soccer-mom” each car makes you appear plays a huge role in your buying decision.
And in order to make your customers identify with your specific product or service, you have to show them what their life will be like once the effects of your solution take place.
Why should they choose to buy your products or services over someone else’s?
If you’re a really fun, spontaneous, and adventurous photographer taking unusual family portraits, you want to let that personality come through your website and all your content so your ideal customers (fun, quirky, active families) can IDENTIFY with you.
A good way to think about identification is: besides what you do, what do you offer?
For the photographer we described above, we could say: besides taking family photos, what she offers is fun adventures. That’s the identification point.
At Chocolate & Caviar we emphasize both our artistic and lighthearted nature in everything from our name to our content to our design. Besides web design and copywriting, what we offer is an artistic process with a touch of whimsy.
In order to connect with your ideal audience on a deeper level, the copy, pictures, and graphics you use on your website and social media messages have to offer clues about the lifestyle your ideal audience will identify with.
Beliefs are very important in creating deep connections, but also very tricky because they’re ingrained things and not usually open for discussion.
The presentation of your product or service shouldn’t be trying to change the beliefs of your customers. It should show customers how theirs beliefs align with the results your product or service provides.
Schwartz considered belief to be the most important factor in creating deep connections, but also the most misunderstood one.
If you violate your prospect’s established beliefs in the slightest degree—either in content or direction—then nothing you promise him, no matter how appealing, can save your ad.
But on the other hand, and even more important:
No matter how intense the desire, no matter how demanding the need to identify, both these reactions must be fused with a third great emotional force — Belief — before they can produce the final overwhelming determinant of action — Absolute Conviction.
The trick is to offer one good promise that your ideas customer believes to be possible and which will increase her desire for the effects of your product and her identification with the position you present.
The difficulty with incorporating belief into your online message is that belief doesn’t come in the form of a specific element (words you can use, or images, or colors). It’s an effect resulting from the whole structure of your presentation.
Imagine if Coca-Cola said “Open Happiness” using a really macabre font would you believe their promise and resonate with the message? Nop. You wouldn’t. Would run the other way as fast as you could! Or if it had pictures of bored teenagers lounging around in parking lots rather than having fun at the beach? You sure wouldn’t buy that brand of “happiness.”
The beauty of belief is that it has the flexibility to enter at any stage of your presentation both visually and verbally to support your direct claims through indirect means.
But that’s also the tricky part of it:
It’s not an added element to your presentation, but an underlying structure that can enhance your presentation.
It’s more of a “feel” and overall “look” you must strive to create.
Going back to our novel (or movies) example, belief are those details that we don’t pay direct attention to, but which make us believe that the world in which the story takes place is utterly and totally true.
And that’s how you can get your audience to buy anything
• Discover their real desires that your product or service can satisfy.
• Project an image about life with your product or service as something your ideal audience identifies with.
• Don’t shatter your audience’s beliefs about what’s possible, but gradually enhance them.
How does your messaging and content communicate Desire, Identification, and Belief? Which of the three elements do you find more challenging to create?
Leave us a comment about it and let’s talk about how you can deepen the connection with your clients so they can wholeheartedly buy into your products and services!