People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Emotions

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Emotions

Many people aren’t sure why people buy their product.

They know it’s good, it’s worth buying, but talking about it in a way people understand is difficult.People often figure out what they’re selling and stop there. Socks, laptops, tea, you name it. Common sense dictates that if we list off all the features of our products, then slap the word “best” in front of them people will buy them. But that’s not what happens.As a business owner, you’ve probably experienced this.It reminds me of those lemonade stands kids set up on hot days in the middle of summer. I’ll be honest, there’s almost nothing that would compel me to pull over on a hot day and dig through my pockets for two quarters.Except for a lemonade stand.One hot day, pulled over and ordering my lemonade, I asked the group of kids who they made the lemonade for. “Everyone!” was their excited reply, “Everyone loves lemonade!” Of course it was for everyone. Everyone needs lemonade on a hot day, right?But they were wrong.

I’ve never stopped at a lemonade stand for the lemonade. And I don’t think anyone else has either.

That’s why you never see lemonade stands run by a bunch of college kids or 40-year-old men. Imagine that: driving down the road, thinking about how badly you’d like a nice glass of lemonade. Then, as if in answer to your prayers, you see a group of balding men crowded behind a foldable table with a handmade sign that says, “Nice, cold lemonade! It’s the BEST lemonade you’ll ever have!”Good thing it’s not about the lemonade.So why pull over and spend valuable time and money?It’s for the kids.You see, I believe in empowering the next generation—teaching them to stick their necks out and try something hard, something that might get ignored. I stopped and gave them money to encourage them to keep it up. I imagined them becoming entrepreneurs or bold risk-takers. Maybe they’d just learn how to work hard.

Unknowingly, what the kids at the lemonade stand were selling me was a feeling.

In this case, one of altruism. And selling feelings is much more effective than selling products. Look at Patagonia. Or Pact. Or Starbucks.There are other companies that provide gear, clothing, and coffee. But Patagonia makes me feel like I’m caring for the earth, Pact makes me feel like I’m taking care of the factory workers who stitched my clothes together, and Starbucks makes me feel proud as I walk into work with their Venti fashion statement.StoryBrand calls this the Internal Problem. It’s not about the features or details of your product; it’s about the feelings and emotions your product gives people, and the way they feel when they don’t have it.I’ll let you in on a secret: People don’t make decisions with their brains. They make most decisions with their emotions, then justify those decisions with their brains.So, when you tell a potential customer all the features of your product, you’re not communicating with the decision-making center of their brain. To reach the part of their brain that makes decisions, you have to tell them how your product will make them feel. It is only after that that telling them about features is valuable because it is then that their rational brain jumps in and tries to make sense of the decision their emotions just made.Most people want to feel rational, so they believe the story their rational brain tells them about the features of your product and ignore the emotions that drove the decision.But you can’t believe that rational-brain-story. Not if you want to grow your business.

So here’s what you need to do:

1. Think through the emotions people experience before and after they buy your product or service. What emotional problem does your product solve? (A couple of examples: If your product simplifies a process, people might feel frustrated beforehand and relieved afterward. Or, if your product helps them reach a new level of performance, people might feel inferior beforehand and confident afterward.)2. Integrate those emotions into your marketing. For example, tell people you know what it’s like to feel inferior and you want to help them feel confident.But only tell them something that’s true. If you make up stories or emotions to try to manipulate people into buying your product or service you’ll degrade your humanity for the sake of marketing. Plus, they’ll eventually figure it out, and you’ll lose business.Let’s look at Patagonia again. If you’re Patagonia, your customers might not have outdoor gear, or they need new outdoor gear.Now, press into that a little more. How do they feel when they don’t have outdoor gear? What is it causing them to miss out on? Maybe they can’t go camping or backpacking, or it’s too cold for them to go outside. Maybe they feel constrained when they can’t do these things. What they truly want is to feel free.Suddenly, Patagonia no longer sells outdoor gear; it sells freedom. No wonder people pay so much for their products. When you communicate with your customers’ emotions and paint a picture of how your product or service will make them feel, more people will buy, and your business will grow.If you want help clarifying your Internal Problem, or working through the other two problems you help your customers solve, click here to schedule a call. I would love to help your business reach its next level.
“Everyone” is Not Your Customer

“Everyone” is Not Your Customer

“Everyone” Is Not Your Customer

man shopping for lumber

When I first started my business, I made a big mistake.

I believe in StoryBrand. I think the StoryBrand Framework can solve most companies’ marketing problems. So I went out and attempted to convince local businesses that I could help with their problems.

I landed a couple of clients but quickly began to regret it.

I saw that these businesses needed marketing and messaging help and told them that would lead to increased sales. They saw low sales and wanted sales to go up, but didn’t see that marketing as their problem. We were misaligned.

They brought me on because they knew something needed to change, but they fought me at every turn.

One had a terribly confusing website and one-liner. I redesigned the website and rewrote the one-liner so people would understand them. The next day the owner changed them back. “No, that’s not what I need. I just need people to show up.”

The other didn’t know what problem they solved for their customers. I attempted to help them narrow it down. They wouldn’t have it. After hours of work together, they decided it was better not to know what problem they solved or why people bought their product. They’d rather write cute taglines and hope one of them worked.

When I stepped on the scene and tried to convince business owners to try out the StoryBrand Framework, I neglected their worldview. I didn’t take into account whether marketing, or this particular type of marketing, fit into the way they see their business.

I ignored a fundamental truth about business: my customer is not everyone.

You see, every person has a worldview. A lens through which they view the world. This worldview is decades in the making. Everything a person experiences contributes to the way they see and engage with the world. It includes all sorts of thoughts and opinions, from the way they should start their day to what kind of car they should drive to the pets they own.

I attempted to change peoples’ worldviews and convince them that what I had to offer is what they wanted. This is an incredibly difficult, and often futile, task. With so many years and so many experiences contributing to their thoughts and beliefs, my opinion is a drop in the bucket.

It is not my job to convince people I have what they want. It is my job to find people who already want what I have.

There are people in your community who already believe what you believe. They’re not walking around looking for someone to change their mind or convince them of something new; they are looking for someone who supports their worldview. They are looking for what you offer.

Consider the new movie, Black Panther. In an interview with Rolling Stone, director Ryan Coogler made it clear that his target audience was not everyone. Referring to an early conversation with Disney he said, “I was very honest about the idea I wanted to explore in this film, which is what it means to be African.”

A movie about what it means to be African at a time when white supremacists are holding rallies, and the president seems to embrace, or at least tolerate racism and bigotry. During its debut, white folks posted on Twitter with fake stories about being beaten and kicked out of theaters by angry black people. Not an ideal scenario for a new movie.

And yet, Black Panther is smashing through box office records. It had one of the biggest opening weekends of all time, second biggest second weekend of all time, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

I discovered the same thing—the more I focus on people who want what I sell, the more successful I am.

I’ve stopped wondering who I can convince to buy my products. Now, I look for people who already want what I have. I spend just as much time thinking about who is not my customer as I spend thinking about who is my customer. To know both, and be okay with both, is vital.

If you need help identifying your target audience and clarifying your marketing, click here to schedule a call. I’d love to help you gain clarity and grow your business.

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