Why do you buy?

I've come to the conclusion there are only two types of buyers in the world...(1) people that buy experiences and (2) people that buy products.

I'm an experience buyer. In other words, I buy stuff because it will bring me an experience of some kind. In general, experience buyers would rather spend money on something like a vacation, a nice dinner, gas to drive (with no particular destination) -- something you experience. If they buy "a product" - it is in support of their view of experience. They may purchase a BMW to drive - but it is purchased for the experience of the "ultimate driving machine" not for the status. People that are experience purchasers, would be more likely to buy a mountain condo (to live in for the weekends) and rent someplace close to "work". Are you starting to get the picture here -- purchases are about having an experience.

Now, I know lots of people that are Product buyers. They buy "labels" and "logos" - sometimes to impress others, but mostly because they perceive a higher value in these products. These buy the same BMW, not because it's the "ultimate driving machine", but because it's a BMW and that will make them feel "special". It's not always about how others will "view" them - it's about how they feel about themselves. Security is in stuff. These people might visit the same mountain area as the experience buyer above, but will "rent" the condo and buy the house in town.

Why is this important? Because people's motivation in buying your product or service may be completely different. The BMW above is purchased by both types of buyers -- they are just coming to the purchasing decision from completely different directions -- because they are seeking different "satisfaction" from the purchase. And if you are trying to sell an experience buyer something like "prestige" they will look at you as if you have a third eye - the flip side of the coin, don't sell "driving on that curvy road, grinding through the gears" to the product buyer, hell they are just as likely to toss the keys to the valet as often as they actually drive down the road.

Understand your customers. Ask questions, get to know them. People love to talk about themselves. People like to tell you stories about themselves. Just give them the lead, and they will take it. Selling, Marketing, Customer Service. It's more about being human, about connecting. Be willing to connect with people.


  1. Daniel4/24/2008

    (3) Purchases for utility. When it's not about the experience or abou the brand - but just to get something done.

  2. Good point Daniel -- Gas is a prime example and there have been lots of studies done on Gas Retails - and what is the primary "purchasing driver". In almost all cases, it has less to do with price or brand - and more to do with convenience -- meaning, if the gas station is one my way home (and priced within my mental range) AND it is on my right hand side (so I don't have to turn left to get into it), I'm much more likely to stop and purchase.

    Very simple - but they've spent millions of dollars to figure it out.


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