One of the vendors I’ve used for the last 20 years or so recently shipped a new release. With that comes a close-to-$1000 invoice. As always, the discussion in the community of users of this tool is “Should I upgrade?” Some will upgrade because they think their failure to buy will somehow cause the company go out of business. Others buy because there’s something important in the new release that they need. The bottom line to me is: “What’s the compelling reason to buy?” I mention this because YOU need to give your buyers a compelling reason to buy.
Whether you sell software, cars, gaskets, chainsaws, yachts, bow ties, or meat & meat by-products. Your chances of success are better when you meet someone’s needs and/or wants with a compelling offer. If you don’t, they’re as likely to do nothing as they are to buy what you sell.
I tend to talk about software – or at least use it for context. Don’t let that throw you. Think about your product / market when I mention software.
What does compelling mean?
When trying to figure out what’s compelling about your product or service, try these angles:
- What improvement will repeatedly save money / pay for itself?
- What will save a substantial amount of time? An hour a week? 15 minutes a day? 5 minutes a day?
- Does this new thing protect my work, make it harder for me to make mistakes, or streamline a process?
- Will it transform a particular outcome in a way that makes it faster, more dependable, or otherwise “better”?
- Is it smaller, bigger, faster, slower, or more efficient?
- Has a long-standing flaw been fixed?
- On a 38 degree evening in the middle of a blustery rainstorm, will it get you off the couch & into the car to go buy “the thing”, despite the fact that you’re watching the last 10 minutes of a close ballgame or your favorite movie?
If you aren’t sure what your customers find compelling about your product, ask. Even if you think you’re sure, ask. Every conversation you have with your customers about where they see the value is golden. They’ll tell you what others like them need & want. Best of all, they’ll use language that’ll resonate with those people.
What isn’t compelling? Guilt.
“I don’t want them to go out of business.” or “I haven’t sent them any money in a while.”
Did you ever make a sale because one of your customers worried that you’d close without them buying something? Has one of your customers sent you a check because they hadn’t sent you money in a few months or years?
Look, I get it. I find it hard to walk past the older Eastern European grandmas selling veggies at the Farmer’s Market without buying something. Call me a sucker for grandmas. Guilty as charged. Of course, then it’s back to the car to get the bag. Then you have to fill the bag… but I digress.
And sure, I’ll buy popcorn, candy, or coffee from a kid who comes to the door and musters up more nerve than many adult salespeople have in the last year – mostly because they’ll explain WHY they’re selling. Otherwise, buying out of obligation or guilt doesn’t resonate with me.
You might wonder why I feel that way in the context of all the things I write here about creating a community of your customers, building a relationship with them, if not a co-dependency, etc.
Long-term customer success
Those things are focused on creating a better long-term experience for the customer. ALL of it is about serving the customer. Making things easy for the customer. Helping them find others like them so that together they can do more than they could individually.
While such things make life better for the company once they get momentum / critical mass, there’s a dichotomy. Until the customers get more value, meaning, fulfillment, productivity, etc – the company creating those relationships, community, etc gets little or nothing. Loving your customers and their success is an important part of such efforts. The long term benefits to your company come from curating that success of your customers.
It isn’t that you’re making your customers become successful. You’re simply creating an environment where the ones doing the right things can find the people and tools they need to get more from their efforts.