Customers Buy Ideas First: Know What You Sell

by | Marketing

There are a bunch of things that have to happen before a customer slaps their money on the table.

You already know that: you’re a customer, too. But you may not have considered this: you buy ideas first. Then you pull out your credit card.

Right after you say “I want . . . ” Or “I need . . . ” your mind begins to create a picture.

You have to be able to see yourself doing business with the company, or the person, selling the object or service. You have to imagine yourself in that picture before you feel remotely comfortable handing over your hard-earned money.

Many business people focus on the thing they sell. They believe an accurate description, and explicitly stating they’re trustworthy and reliable and their thing will last a very long time and give you great value for your money pushes all the right buttons and you should come galloping in the door, waving a fistful of cash.

They might agonize over every detail, describing their thing to within an inch of its life, and wonder why that’s not enough.

They’ve forgotten their customers.

You know this: before you buy, you need some measure of trust. You need some small amount of confidence in the seller. They have to present words, or images, or both, to convince you to take a chance on them. It might require a bit of research, or it can happen in a split second. But one thing remains constant: the idea of the thing. You need to imagine owning it and being happy with it.

You buy ideas first.

Your goal is to spark the customer’s imagination. To create something they can try on, to see how it feels.

To sell an idea, you need to know how to talk to your audience. Listen to what they want and what they don’t. Then you can craft the idea they’ll buy into.