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Our crash course in customer buying behaviour

22nd October 2018

If customers only buy good feeling and solutions, then it’s your job to know how to provide them.  And that, in turn, means understanding more about the feelings customers have and how they go about deciding to buy.

The first point to remember when consumers are buying from a business is that:

People buy emotionally and then justify with logic

The second point to remember is that consumers:

Spend money with a business when and where they feel good

In most cases we don’t buy what we need. We buy what we want – and our wants are based on our feelings.

For example, you need food, but you want a steak for dinner tonight. You need transportation to work, but you want that new car you saw in the dealer’s showroom yesterday. And once you decide that you really want it, you’ll think up all sorts of logical reasons for buying it, such as, “It gets good mileage, it’s easy to park, and the dealer threw in an extra year’s warranty to make it a great buy.”

So, you buy it and convince yourself that it was a sound, logical decision. You bought it because it makes you feel like a free spirit after being caged in an office all day. You bought it because all the gauges and high-tech bells and whistles at your command make you feel important and up-to-date.

In short, you bought it because it makes you feel good. And it is feelings not logic that cause people to buy most of the time.

The 4 Emotional States

 The brain processes emotional reactions 3,000 times faster than rational reactions. We feel first, think second.

Whether we realise it or not, everything we do is driven by our emotions. According to psychologists, we can experience only four basic emotions:

  1. Enjoyment
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Fear

ALL our feelings are constructed from these four, just as all colours are some combination of red, yellow and blue.

  • Glad – Joyful, happy, thankful, relieved, pleased. This is the “good” feeling
  • Sad – Unhappy, miserable, grief, lonely, distressed gloomy, despair
  • Mad – Anger, irritation, fury, rage. This is the feeling of violation; what we feel when someone crosses our boundaries.
  • Scared – Fearful, anxious, uneasy, nervous, worried. This is the feeling of being threatened.

At any given point in time a person is feeling either Glad, Mad, Sad, or Scared, and that emotional state will govern his or her behaviour.

Your company may offer the finest products/services in the marketplace, but its how customers feel about your products and services that, ultimately determines how successful your business will be.

If they feel good, they’ll buy and come back. If they don’t … they won’t!

Here are some key ideas you can use to put the right touch to keep customers coming back…

 Put yourself in the Glad emotional state

People buy when they feel Glad, and feelings are contagious. Be the carrier, not the catcher. People like to do business when and where they feel good. Act the way you want to feel and soon you’ll feel the way you act.

 Never tell customers your problems

Most of them don’t care and the rest will be pleased that you’re as miserable as they are! Telling people your problems makes them Sad, and Sad people don’t buy as often.

Remember that customers buy for their reasons, not yours

To quote George Bernard Shaw: “It is unwise to do to others as you would have them do to you. Their tastes may not be the same.” Every customer has a different emotional makeup and different problems that need to be solved. You win and keep customers by giving them what they want and not what you think they should want.

 The company’s image depends on you

When you are dealing with a customer, you are the company to that customer, and his decision to become or remain a customer depends on you.

Use both logic and emotion to win and keep customers

While the overwhelming majority of buying decisions are made emotionally, never underestimate the importance of logic. Emotion causes customers to buy, but logic keeps them sold and coming back. Once a customer wants to buy, he needs reasons justifying the purchase. Your job is to point out the logical benefits of what he is getting for his money and see to it that he gets them.

Use a problem-solving approach to move customers from Mad, Sad or Scared to Glad

Whenever a customer has a problem calmly ask them: “What is the current situation?” and “What would you like it to be?” Once you know the answers to these two questions, you can decide how to solve their problem. Even if you can’t solve it, letting them express it and taking the time to listen will make them feel better.

In summary, the degree of success of any business hinges on how many customers it rewards with good feelings and solutions to their problems and how well it does both. Check out our winning and keeping customers session outline for more details.