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Marketing to people - selling the promise!

Updated on October 1, 2012

What people need and want.

Selling a product or service either online or offline is never an easy fate. In this article I try to bring together some of the basic human requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for a customer to even consider purchasing a product from you. Pshycologically we all have the same needs and wants - but what are they?

Imagine this, you're sitting at home at your desk or laying on the bed (like me!) trying to find a quite part of the house to work in - and you're trying to think of ways to best sell your products. Whether online or offline, there are a few common rules that apply - these rules are generally what people buy into, these dictate whom and what you are.

The first rule of thumb is that people buy promises. It doesn't matter if you're selling clothes pegs or solar panels, the promise you make is what the customer is interested in. If you promise to guarantee 30 day money back, no questions asked returns, great customer service or even to send out a fluffy toy with every purchase. Your promise is in essence your word - break it and that customer may never buy from you again - or worse they'll tell their friends!

Your customers come to you for solutions, either to fulfil their needs, desires, wants or to resolve their problems. Your products in order to succeed will need to fulfil at least one of these, or your precious potential customer will go elsewhere.

People have the desire to want and as such products that promise wealth (creation), safety, success, security, love and acceptance do exceptionally well. A customer is not just buying a product; they are buying what it fulfils. For example, a customer that buys a home alarm is buying it to fulfil the need for security and safety. Without the potential to fulfil these needs, the customer would not purchase the home alarm. Another example would be if a customer signed up to a dating site (hey it works for some people), they're doing so because it promises to fulfil the need for love and acceptance.

Customers also take other aspects into consideration before purchasing. They buy taste and the confidence you portray in your business. They buy into your identity, your certainty, your consistency and ultimately your products/services value (which isn't the same as price).

In other words, before committing whole heartedly to a product or service, ask yourself - what need is this fulfilling? Once you know these needs, then produce your marketing material around them, sell the promise!

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