You would think most people are rational when spending money on products and services that they find online. After all, the complete information about the product is readily available right on the Internet.
You can also quickly compare prices, shipping, and other factors between two or more sellers to assure you’re getting the best deal possible.
I’ll admit that I’ve spent hours online comparison shopping, researching benefits and features, and reviewing the sales pages for just one item I wanted to purchase.
The time I spent online was probably worth way more than the product I was after.
Did you know that buyers often make a purchase for a reason (or no special reason at all) that has nothing to do with the product itself?
That being the case, it would be wise for the business owner to poll his buyers after a purchase to thank them for their loyalty and try to discover why that particular purchase was made.
When the business operator understands the various reasons why a targeted customer is buying from his site, he is in a better position to strengthen his sales process in the areas that are meaningful.
Here are a few of the “non product related” reasons that online shoppers have given for making a recent purchase.
1. The customer liked the business web site and felt safe and secure in placing an order.
Trust in the web site, the company behind the product, and the owner are powerful reasons why you need to do all you can as a business owner to develop your prospect’s trust. We all make purchases from people that we know, like, and trust.
2. The customer had had a personal conversation with the owner, had liked her, and decided to buy on that basis alone.
Sometimes, we buy because we want to reward the owner for being a friend, for helping out, or just because we like the person. All other things being equal, most of us would make a purchase from someone we get along with over a total stranger.
3. The customer had talked to some people that had done business previously with the company and had enjoyed a pleasant experience.
The power of good testimonials is underestimated by most solo business owners! When a happy customer recommends your product or business to a friend or associate, it is like having and insider advantage in making the sale that your competitors don’t have.
4. The customer sent the company an email asking a question about the shipping policy and was sent an email in return 10 minutes later.
Company customer service is an important consideration in most buying decisions. If we feel the risk of making a purchase is small or non existent, the typical barriers to pulling the trigger on the sale are minimized.
5. The customer had followed the newsletters and blog of the owner and felt like he was a friend.
We have already mentioned that many folks want to buy from someone they know or like. Remember that developing a relationship with each individual will pay great dividends for the small business owner that takes the time to make his business personal. As a business grows, this becomes more of a challenge for the business owner . . . but there are ways to automate your followup and contact with both prospects and customers.
6. The customer said he could have purchased the same product from a dozen different stores, but he made his decision to take advantage of a 15% discount coupon the company had sent him with his recent site registration confirmation.
How can you provide incentives to increase your share in a niche market? Can you add value in the niche to the purchase?
7. The customer said the company was located in the same part of the country, which meant he would receive his product faster.
Customers like to purchase products they can get their hands on quickly . . . the sooner the better. Maybe it would be good to concentrate on prospecting for customers in your own geographical region. Sometimes this is not possible, but often you might have been to the area or region where the client resides and you can take advantage of that familiarity when communicating. What you say may not be important at all . . . but the fact that you’re reaching out to make this exchange more personal will help your cause.
8. The customer wanted to take advantage of free shipping the company offered that the competitors didn’t.
This is another incentive that many customers almost “expect.” Can your products be shipped without cost to the buyer? The only way you’ll know if this incentive can work for your business is to test it out on your market. Of course this is one of the great benefits of selling digital products . . . no paid shipping!
9. The customer said, “The company always sends me a Christmas card.”
How well do you pay attention to the small details as a business owner? Anything you can do to put yourself in front of your customers in unexpected ways will usually pay out dividends in terms of customer loyalty.
10. The customer liked the soft and non-threatening selling approach of the business owner.
Most consumers don’t particularly enjoy being “sold.” It puts the buyer in a defensive mood and she tends to resist the pressure.
Try to develop a sales strategy that includes recommending solutions to problems rather than a “hard sell” of products.
None of these reasons the customers gave for buying had anything to do with the product itself, it’s features, quality, price, or it’s functionality. But they were all important reasons, or at least contributing factors, as to why a sale was made.
Can you easily and cost-effectively incorporate any of these ideas into your business?
Can you create some of your own unique selling incentives? Even if you sell the exact same product as a competitor, these added client benefits can make the difference in who the prospect chooses for her purchase.
To your online business success,