What customers really buy (vs. what we think they buy)

What do people really buy?

You know when you bought those hot pants that were a teensy bit too small? It wasn't really the hot pants you were buying. It was the idea that you might just look like Kylie on Saturday night.

When you bought that shiny new notebook for your son's homework, it wasn't about the book at all. It was the hope that somehow that boy would catch a handwriting fever, transforming his messy scribbles into works of beauty.  

That's the thing. 

People don't buy stuff. They buy feelings. 

So what are you really selling?

I think it can be pretty difficult to step back sometimes and work out the thing that you're REALLY selling. What is the number one thing that your customer is truly getting when they buy your stuff?

This week I've had the pleasure of writing for an artist who sells exquisitely hand drawn watercolours of couples and families, capturing facial details, clothing and moments important to their lives. In actual fact she's not really selling prints or watercolours at all. She's appealing to your heart to try and remember forever that moment in time that will be lost if someone doesn't capture it. 

Selling notebooks and planners? No you don't. You sell the illusion that owning one will transform the buyer from someone who can't get their shizzle together for toffee to a super-organised seize-the-day kinda type. 

Take a couples advent calendar. That Santa design might already be gorgeous, but is it truly the most important reason your customer is buying the calendar? It's more likely that deep down they want to make a first Christmas together as sweet and memorable as possible. 

See what I mean?

Look for the hook.

Next time you have a brand new product to list, or even when you’re setting about designing one, look for the hook. What is the emotional hook that this product is really all about?

After all, we work in the gift market where people aren’t really buying out of necessity. We need to tap into who and what they want to be to boost our sales. And when you follow that promise up with the amazing service, fast shipping and swoon-worthy packaging you provide, I reckon you’ll be reeling in customers who’ll buy again and again. 

So why not have a go right now? Think about the number one thing your product is REALLY selling and write it down in a sentence you can use for your next description. Email it back to me if you like and we'll sort it out together. 

Of course, it goes without saying that if you find this painful and you’d rather be making what you make, I’m in the business of writing for indie brands just like yours and I’d be delighted to do it for you. Just send me an email and we'll start the conversation. 

Martha Moger