A simple, straightforward look at some of the thinking that goes on in people’s heads as they decide to make a purchase and how you can use that to increase sales.
Which is more powerful, logic or love?
Everyone has a rational side to their nature and an emotional side. When people make a decision to buy something, they use both of these two aspects but they use them in different proportions when buying different types of product or service.
Most wet leisure businesses will sell two types of products and services in as much as the decision to purchase is most strongly influenced by either head or heart – but in neither case is it entirely influenced by either one.
Buying chemicals, spares and service engineer call-outs don’t sound like emotional decisions and in the main, they aren’t. Your customer is going to look at price and availability and suitability and those are rational choices.
But they are also going to use some emotion to make the decision. “I like that service engineer.” “I trust that dealer to get me the right part.” “I’d rather buy the chemicals from someone I know.”
So your sales message has to be tailored to fit into that conversation that is going on inside the customer’s head.
If you just shout about price, where is the trust and where is the relationship?
That’s why talking about value works harder; that’s why saying, ‘buy one and I’ll give you another’ seems generous and caring when ‘HALF PRICE’ seems desperate and cheap.
If you offer a free service visit for customers who sign up to buy all their chemicals from you for a year, you are going into a partnership with that person. You are showing that you value the things that they value. You are showing that you actually care about them and their pool or hot tub.
Thos emotional bonds are harder for a customer to break, even if they see the same chemicals on the web at a lower price. ‘Like’ and ‘trust’ will tell them to keep their business with you.
But emotional bonds are hard to build.
You don’t make decisions of the heart overnight.
The other side of a wet leisure business is likely to consist of purchases that are more emotional. Pools and saunas and hot tubs are things that people ‘want’ rather than ‘need’.
The first step towards wanting something is seeing it.
Hollywood stars used to be pictured in their Hollywood pools, rock stars hung out in their Jacuzzis and high power business deals were done in the high heat of health club saunas.
Those images aren’t as familiar anymore and indeed, perhaps some of them are rather out of date but to start the love affair, your customer has to see or experience the pool, sauna or spa in the right environment with the right associations and want one.
How that ‘wanting’ manifests itself can quite often depend on the cost of the item.
Someone who has fallen in love with the idea of a reasonably priced pool or hot tub may well see it as a way of showing his or her family that they love them, they may see it as a way of spending more time with their family.
A little higher up the price range, they may still see it as a ‘family thing’ but it will also add to their self-esteem. It might be a reward for themselves or it might be a way of showing their friends that they are successful.
At the top end of the market there is ‘because I can’. The technical jargon is ‘self-actualisation’ and what it means is ‘I can be anything I want to be and have anything I want to have’. And having said that, there may still be an element of the pool, spa or sauna being something for the family and an element of self-reward and perhaps showing that success to others.
After ‘wanting’ the next stage is ‘justifying’. The heart wants that hot tub but the head needs to ask a few questions.
This is the stage where potential customers do their research; they ask and they look and they listen.
Any of our three fictional customers above may be looking for different justifications. They might be looking for something eco-friendly and sustainable. They might want to know that their sauna, pool or spa is an investment in their health and their family’s health or they might want to be assured that it is as efficient as possible and has low running costs.
When they get the right answers, the head agrees with the heart and the decision is made. If you have been part of that decision making process then the likelihood is that the sale is yours.
Easier written than done.
The three scenarios above are examples, not moulds that all people will fit into, but hopefully it gives some idea of how the process happens. Of course the next question has to be, how on earth do you manage that process?
The first step is to recognise the different types of customer you have and their different needs. If you listen carefully to them, they will tell you what sort of people they are, what sort of needs they have and what justifications they are looking for.
Perhaps the most important thing is to realise that, even in our information rich and highly competitive marketplace, simple human emotions carry a lot of weight in the decision making process.
Your marketing needs to contain rational and emotional reasons for customers to choose you. Strike the right balance and you will outperform the competition.
We hope that this article has been of use to you.