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Why People Buy Stuff

Kindra K, Marketing Coordinator

Apr 3, 2018 @ 4:00PM 4 minute read

When it comes to acquiring more business there are a number of theories on the best way to go about doing so. Where should you be marketing, and how? Should you focus on gaining new customers or retaining your current customers? How much should you be spending? All of these questions are important to determining the best process to grow your business. However, the first step to answering all of them is understanding how your customers think. Once you can understand what drives the buyer's decision-making process you’ll be able to reach them easier and know how to approach your potential customers in a way that both provides a valuable service while beginning a rewarding, long-term relationship.

The professionals who often land jobs more frequently follow Dr. Robert Cialdini's "Six Principles of Persuasion" to entice and engage with both new and returning customers. Following these principles can help anyone to secure a loyal customer base while growing their business at the same time.

6 principles to follow

These principles can be viewed through two lenses, one that examines why the customer decides to buy, and one that examines how the customer looks at their potential service professional. To attract a potential new client, every business must understand what motivates that person to engage with them in the first place.

Reciprocity

Offering a gift or token as the relationship gets started often triggers a reciprocal action from the potential customer. Costco excels at this by providing free food samples throughout their warehouses. For most, when someone offers something for free, the customer feels an obligation to return the favor and buy something.

For a service-based business, you might offer a T-shirt or mouse pad when a new client books their first service. By offering them a small token like this you’re building a loyalty with them, staying top-of-mind to keep them coming back.

Likeability

 Cialdini's theory suggests that people engage better with someone when they already know they like them. This tends to be those that are similar to them in some way, those who happily cooperate with them, and those who are complimentary of them.

Sharing a relatable story can help open new opportunities. You’ll be able to encourage potential clients to engage on social media with your followers, adding them to an established community of people with similar tastes and preferences.

Amazon exemplifies this principle with their upsell strategy. When a customer clicks on an item that they’re interested, Amazon recommends additional items that were bought by "customers who bought this item." This recommendation further encourages the potential customer to purchase additional products based solely on the similar buying habits of a stranger.

As a home service business, some ways to make your customers like you are through personal stories, testimonials from your customers, and sharing photos of work you’ve done. Your potential customers will likely relate to your personal story, the customers that you’ve had before, or feel that their home is similar to the homes you’ve worked on.

Social Proof

Similar to the principle of likeability, social proof creates a connection based on the opinions of others. Social media offers the opportunity to show that potential customers that others already like your service.

Whenever a new customer books a job with you, they’re taking a risk. By presenting them with some social proof you’re taking some of that risk away, making them feel more confident that you’ll do a good job. Customer testimonials can bolster a company's likability and credibility - if other customers like this company, your potential customer will probably like them, too.

In order to exhibit more social proof you should encourage your customers to give testimonials, write reviews, and share your social content.

Commitment and Consistency

For many people, veering from an already established course can indicate failure or dissatisfaction. Consequently, many people work even harder to maintain their original choice and affirm their commitment by talking about it openly.  

In order to make the sale using the principle of commitment and consistency, you have to lock in a commitment with your customer. A good way to ensure this commitment is by having them book you online or by sending confirmations texts.

Scarcity

One factor that wields enormous influence on people is the notion of scarcity. A limited supply of anything frequently spurs an increased demand for it. This principle holds true for service providers, too. When you offer a special service or a discount that’s only available during a certain time, your customers feel pressured to take the offer for fear of missing the opportunity. Businesses that offer special deals for limited periods of time are encouraging both old and new clients to sign up fast.

Authority

The principle of authority says that consumers are more driven to make a purchase if someone of higher authority recommends it. This could be a doctor, a professor, or even just a specialist. 

Research shows that potential customers respond best to businesses that clearly demonstrate their authority in their field. Certificates and diplomas declare authority, as do newspaper write-ups and magazine articles.

These days, a high ranking on Google's search pages is also an indicator of authority. Remarkably, what people see can be as persuasive as what they hear. Hanging achievement documents within view of the customer waiting spaces display that credibility and ensure comprehension of industry expertise. The potential client receives substantial information before any conversation starts.

Understanding why people make purchase decisions gives business owners the information they need to focus on those triggers. When potential customers feel respected and appreciated, they often respond by hiring the contractors they've come to trust. The resulting relationship can result in years of steady and profitable work for any home services contractor.

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