The answer is found in this simple question, “Why do you buy what you buy?” Chances are you buy what you buy because someone else has made you an offer that appeals to you and your desires. It’s not the item itself, but the offer which was made in a way that you perceived “fit” you and what you desire.
At the same time that you bought that last item, thousands of other offers were out there in front of you (both offline and online) that you could have taken advantage of, but you didn’t. Why? Again, chances are because you didn’t perceive those offers were as good a “fit” for you and what you desired in comparison to the thing that you did buy (whether that thing was an idea, a service, or a product).
So, if you buy what you buy because you believe something “fits” you and your desires, what does that say about your target market? Exactly. The reason they buy what they buy is the same as you.
In other words, people don’t just buy ideas, products and services, they buy the ideas, products and services that they believe are a good match for them and that meet the longings/desires that they have in their lives.
For example, no one “needs” a Mercedes. What they need is to get from point A to point B. But plenty of people will buy a Mercedes because they believe it “fits” them and meets certain longings (for ex. status, success, self-worth, etc.).
On the other hand, there are plenty of people who would never buy a Mercedes. Why? Because it doesn’t “fit” them and what they desire.
So, if people buy what they buy because they believe it “fits” them, what does that mean for you and me? It means that if we want to be great at selling (and we want our businesses to be great at selling), we need to know—better than anyone else in our market—what “fits” our target market and their desires.
In order to know that, there are five critical questions you MUST know the answers to—and know them cold—if you want to become great at selling whatever you want to sell to a certain group of people. What are those five questions? Well, here they are.
1. What are the deepest desires and urgent wants of your target market?
I ask this question of owners, entrepreneurs and service professionals all the time and virtually none of them has great answers, let alone answers that flow quickly from their mouths—and that’s a problem.
If there’s anyone who ought to be able to articulate the deepest desires and urgent wants of a target market, it ought to be the person at the top of that business or organization.
How can any business make great strategic choices without really knowing the people they’re trying to sell products and services to? It makes no sense.
The hard way to sell is to come up with a product and/or service and then try to convince someone else that they need to part with their hard-earned cash to purchase that item. The easy way to sell is to figure out what a specific group of people urgently want—and then give them what they want.
Note: I didn’t say, “Figure out what they NEED.” Why? Because people don’t buy based on need, they buy based on want. A prospect may need a new sign for their business, but what they want is more customers who will buy more stuff at higher price points.
If you try to sell to need, you’ll always have a hard time closing deals. In general, people put off buying what they need until they’re forced to. But people buy all kinds of things they want every day of the week. However, you can’t sell to WANTS if you don’t know them.
So, right now, what are the top five deepest desires and/or urgent wants of your target market?
2. What are the primary fears and frustrations of your target market?
Next to wants and desires, the second most powerful pull in selling is to market to someone’s fears and frustrations. In fact, some would say it’s even more powerful than wants and desires.
Why? Because pain is a major motivator. For example, if you were selling some kind of diet product and you knew it was high school reunion time, you’d probably sell more product focusing on the fear of being found overweight at your 20th high school reunion than you would by focusing on helping someone get in the best shape of their life for their 20th reunion.
Fear is a powerful pain motivator—and your prospects have them. They have fears of failure, rejection, death, loss, sickness, losing, etc. all related to what you’re offering.
They also have some major frustrations in their lives related to what you’re offering. Everyone has “stuff” in their lives that drives them crazy. The moment you speak to that, your prospect immediately thinks, “This company gets me!”
So, what are the top five fears and frustrations of your target market?
3. What are the major obstacles and problems they’re facing?
As created beings, we’ve all been programmed with a goal-orientation. We all want to accomplish certain things in our lives. Unfortunately, life, systems, organizations, and other human beings often get in the way of what we want to accomplish.
However, because we all desperately want to accomplish what we’ve set out to do, if someone comes along and “speaks our language” by calling out those obstacles and constraints, we’ll all be inclined to say, “I’ll buy that!”
The health and fitness industry gets this. “We know you’re busy and don’t have time to exercise. So buy this doohickey and you can have washboard abs in just three minutes a day!”
So, as you look at your target market, what are the top five obstacles and problems that they’re facing?
4. What are they searching for?
When the people in your target market go online and enter in some words on Google (or Bing or Yahoo, etc.), what words and phrases do they use?
Why does that matter? Because knowing this not only helps you understand what they really want, it helps you understand what language they actually use.
The reason that matters is because every profession, every business, every organization, has its own language. And because we use that language all the time, we tend to think that everyone else uses that same language—which isn’t always so.
For example, an attorney might think that people would search using the phrase “how to litigate.” However, the phrase, “how to litigate” is only searched for 18,100 times per month (because it’s a lawyer word). Whereas the phrase “how to sue” is searched for 11,000,000 times per month (because non-lawyers use the word “sue.”)
An easy way to check to see if you know what your prospects search for is to use Google’s Keyword Tool. Insert what you think people use and then look at the search results around it. You just might be surprised.
So, what are the top ten search phrases or words the people in your industry use? And what is it they’re really searching for?
5. What are they looking for that they’re having a hard time finding?
This final question is important to ask because you don’t want to be stuck in the commodity trap where you’re basically offering the same kinds of products and services that others are offering. You want to be different.
For example, if you’re in the dry cleaning business and every other vendor is basically offering the same kinds of services—but you know the people in your target market are stressed out, over-worked, and have disposable income—you could probably offer free pick up and drop off service (assuming no one else is offering mobile service).
Or if you’re in the food business and you notice that there are an increasing number of people in your target market with gluten-issues, you could be the first to offer a gluten-free menu.
But, and this is key, you would never make either of those decisions apart from knowing your target market—not just want they want, but also what they’re having a hard time finding.
Whenever you can offer someone something that they urgently want AND that they have a hard time finding somewhere else—you have a competitive advantage that allows you to charge more and keep more—and for a longer span of time.
So, what are the people in your target market having a hard time finding?
If you want to become great at selling, the single most important idea you need to own is that you need to know your target market inside out— better than anyone else. Because the better you know them, the more you can speak their language. And the more you speak their language and offer them what they urgently want, the more customers and clients you’ll have knocking at your door ready to buy whatever it is that you’re offering.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. If you didn’t do so already, make sure you take some time today to ask and answer those five questions. From a marketing and sales perspective, “There’s gold” in each of those questions. Oh, and don’t rely on your memory or begin to think, “I know that.” Take the time to actually type out or write out your answers to each of the questions above. You just might be surprised at how hard it is to answer all five.