Keep open to and address your buyers’ real reasons for buying

So profound is this that a client of mine who sells pesticides tells me that one of their products is more expensive and bulkier than the competitor’s and yet farmers prefer it

“Mimi nilivotia Sonko, kwa vile Kidero ametusotesha sana. Na hope Sonko atatulipa mshahara on time kwa vile Kidero alikuwa anakaa sana bila kutulipa.” (Sheng for: I voted for Sonko because I hope unlike Kidero, he will be paying our salary on time.) So said Martin Kamotho in an interview. You may know him better as Githeri Man.

Githeri man and ladies

If elections is a product then Githeri Man’s reason for voting manifests how varied people’s reasons of buying can be. I mean, in the midst of all the talk of manifesto, tribalism, patriotic duty, issues, democracy and whatever other pitch that was being sold, he voted (bought) because of a very personal reason. That maybe, he will get paid on time every time.

For many ladies, elections meant ogling, tweeting and posting their overt infatuation with the CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Ezra Chiloba. As a radio host aptly put it,  “While many husbands remained glued to the growing numbers at the bottom of the TV screen, holding their breath hoping for their candidate to win, their wives were watching the same screen for a different reason- ‘Chilobae’.”

Your product means different things to buyers

My point is that buyers buy for different reasons. For instance, your lift that opens from either end could mean speed during emergencies to the hospital (no need to turn the stretcher); safety to the warehouse manager (the forklift doesn’t have to go up ramps); and, order to the airport seeking to control traffic flow.  There are buyers who will buy your service because they admire your persistence; others will buy because they want to exhaust that financial year’s budget. The lesson here is to keep open to the varied reasons your buyers could have for buying your product.

So profound is this that a client of mine who sells pesticides tells me that one of their products is more expensive and bulkier than the competitor’s and yet farmers prefer their pesticide because of the ease  of measuring the required doses. You see, his pesticide comes in liquid form but his competitor’s powder form. The liquid formulation is easier to measure. On the surface, one would imagine farmers would go for the cheaper option.

Show off

Do you know that buyers want the latest phone complete with all the bells and whistles but will most likely use one bell? What’s their reason for buying? One (a lady) told me: “You want to strategically place it on the table for people (other ladies, she insisted) to ooh and ahh whenever they pass by.” In sum, to show off.

To find out the real reason for your buyer buying is not a science, it’s an art. It’s born out of research, actively observing, asking insightful questions and keenly listening. It’s born of trial and error. Once you know that your formulation is king, there’s no need to harp on the justification of price vs. value. Just focus on the real reason. Just like (now Governor) Sonko would have when pitching to Githeri Man: “Ukinichagua, hautawahi kosa ama cheleweshwa mshahara tena.” (If you vote for me, you’ll never miss a salary again).


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