We expect clients and customers to be reasonable and practical – to weigh up all the features and benefits of our product or service, evaluate that against our competitors, and then make a calculated and rational choice. This isn’t always the case. It’s not always enough to appeal to people’s rational side.
It’s not at all uncommon for people to make purchases which have nothing to do with a rational or calculated choice – the product or service may have just appealed to their emotional side. Many purchases are based on things like loyalty, branding appeal, aspirational values, popular culture and even celebrity endorsement.
How your products and services are perceived can have a real affect on their desirability. It could be the exact same product, but if you put it in ‘value’ or ‘bargain’ packaging there is an immediate decline in the expectation of its worth or value. Likewise, if you sell your products or services too cheaply, there may be an expectation that the quality or value will be equally as cheap.
If your target market happens to be successful professionals with aspirational values and a bit of disposable income, they won’t want to be seen making cheap or ‘bargain basement’ purchases. They will want to make purchases that demonstrate their success and show they aren’t afraid to spend if it’s something that they want. The actual quality and performance of the product is often a secondary consideration.
There is a similar phenomenon with new technologies. The rational or calculating decision would be to wait until the new technology has been out in the market for a while. This gives it time to address any bugs or flaws and for the availability to improve and the price to drop. However, you will always have a set of people who have to be first, the innovators and the trend-setters. They want it, regardless the cost, because it’s new and they want to be the first ones to play with it.
There is a complex and sometimes counter-intuitive thought process involved in evaluating products and services. So, what does this mean for you? Well, if you limit your sales proposition to appealing to someone’s rational side, you run the risk of failing to appeal to them at all. Don’t forget there are a whole set of emotional criteria which may be just as powerful an influence on the decisions your customers make.