Despite what we like to tell ourselves, we human animals aren't much in control of ourselves. Our Executive Self (prefrontal cortex) is dwarfed in influence and size by our Reactive Self (limbic system). It's why we impulsively do things we'll regret and take short term actions that we'll pay for in the long-run.
When we question ourselves and focus on internal discipline, we can differentiate between what is a reaction and what is a logical thought. It's when we start to think we are smart, they are dumb that we fall into cognitive dissonance traps and make completely avoidable mistakes.
Know your enemy - but also yourself. It's when you stop putting your interests first that you truly gain control.
Written on July 29, 2013 by Emily Worden in Entrepreneurship & Business, Featured Contributor, Guest Post, Sales & Marketing, She Owns It
by Emily Worden | Featured Contributor
Want to sell more? Get in the mind of your customer and identify their wants, needs and desires.
News Flash #1: People care about themselves, not companies. People are bursting with needs, wants and desires, and they buy products to satisfy those emotions. Customers care about your products only when they have a specific need that must be fulfilled. (“I’m hungry.” “I’m cold.” “I want money.” “I want a partner.”)
News Flash #2: People are emotional creatures. They purchase based on emotion and THEN justify with logic. It takes seconds to make a purchasing decision, and dopamine (the feel good neurochemical) rises in the presence of shiny new objects. Emotions rule, the credit card is swiped, dopamine recedes and buyer’s remorse sets in. Then customers use logic to justify their emotional purchase. (“It was a great sale, I couldn’t pass it up!” “Sure it was expensive, but I got it before anyone else!”)
No matter your age, nationality or gender, we are all motivated by the same wants and desires. In his indispensable book, Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone, Drew Eric Whitman elucidates primary and learned desires we all experience. The 8 Common Desires listed below are primal biological needs that we all feel compelled to fulfill, no matter who we are, where we live or what we do:
8 Primal Desires in Everyone:
- Survival: Live a long and healthy life
- Protection: Safety, care and protection for yourself and loved ones
- Freedom: Freedom from danger, fear and pain
- Comfort: Comfortable living conditions
- Pleasure: Enjoy food, beverages and experiences
- Relationships: Sexual relations, companionship and compatibility
- Success: To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
- Likability: Social approval, being part of the “in” crowd
In addition to the primary, biological needs listed above, Whitman lists a secondary set of learned desires. Everyone may not be influenced by every desire on this list, but the needs are certainly prevalent in today’s society and may be quite relevant to your customers:
9 Learned Desires:
- Efficiency: Maximum productivity with minimal effort
- Convenience: Saving money, time or effort
- Dependability and Quality: Higher standards and reliability
- Cleanliness: Clean body and surroundings
- Beauty and Style: Expressing yourself, pleasing the senses
- Intelligence: To be informed, understanding and intellectual
- Curiosity: A strong desire to learn and discover
- Profit: Buying and selling for profit or making something for profit
- Bargains: Purchasing something below retail value
In addition to the 17 desires Whitman identified, I’d like to propose 3 more:
3 Consumer Desires:
- Scarcity: If something is difficult to possess or we’re told we can’t have it, we want it more and attribute a higher value to it. Something is more valuable if it might get taken away.
- Values: We purchase products that align with our personal values. We buy products because they are made in the USA, sales are donated to charities, or to support a local business.
- Individuality: The desire to stand out from the crowd, to be different. It can take many forms – to be first in the know, to create something viral, to have something before anyone else does. (I call this the “hipster effect,” named after the subculture of independent, counter-culture youths who eschew mainstream ideas and thrive on discovering new things before anyone else.)
Now that you know what drives people to buy, your task is to think about your customers. Identify what your customer desires, how your product satisfies that desire, and communicate that value to your customer.
First, ask your customers what they want. Send a survey, an email, start a conversation with social media. Ask your customers why they purchase from you, why they don’t, what they’re looking for, what they’d like to see next, where else they shop, their interests and preferences … all this data gives valuable insights to what your customer really wants and desires.
Second, help your customer visualize using your product and how it will satisfy their desires. Paint a picture with your words, appeal to the five senses. Describe your customer using your product and how good they’ll feel when their desire is met. You’ll have people itching to purchase your product and satisfy their needs as soon as possible.