When talking to potential customers, having an understanding of their thought processes and the psychology of how purchase decisions are made – why people buy — can be very helpful when it comes time to close the sale.
Homeowners considering a new kitchen experience two types of pain —
(1) the pain of living with an inefficient, out-dated kitchen, and
(2) the pain of having to pay for a new kitchen.
Using brain-scanning equipment, scientists in the field of neuroeconomics have discovered that they can predict whether subjects will make a purchase. Neuroeconomics is a relatively new discipline that combines neuroscience, economics and psychology to study human behavior and choice making.
The accumbens, a pleasure center, lights up when people are contemplating a purchase, and the insula, a pain center, lights up when they are thinking about how much that purchase is going to cost. These studies suggest that each buying decision is a fight between a pleasure center seeking the happiness of acquisition and an aversion center seeking to avoid the pain of paying.
This is all very interesting, we hear you saying. But what does it have to do with getting homeowners to buy a new kitchen from me?
Based on the neuroeconomic findings, you have to start considering part of your job description to include that of a pain reliever.
Pain is particularly present when consumers are facing a complex, expensive purchase, such as a new kitchen, especially since they can’t see or touch what the finished product is going to be. At this stage in the process, they are buying something intangible, which increases anxiety.
Pointing out what buyers will gain by buying your product requires them to picture themselves in a better place after having bought from you. This type of imaginative leap isn’t easy to take, and can be painful when they start to think about how much a new kitchen or bath costs.
How can you overcome their pain of purchasing?
You as the pain reliever can go to work at your very first meeting by getting them to like you and feel comfortable with you. Finding similarities between you and your prospects will help to relax them. You already know this, of course, but now you can know why it’s important.
An expert on purchasing behaviors reports that women measure their self-worth by the quality of their relationships, and they evaluate purchases by the impact they will have on family and friends. Buying to help the quality of their relationships eases the pain of a major expenditure.
You must demonstrate how your solutions will relieve her pain and enhance her relationships. Ask her to imagine herself in the space you’re planning. This is powerful because when you ask someone to imagine something, the brain takes ownership of it, and the person becomes emotionally invested in the solution. “Imagine how nice it will be to have the space to entertain your in-laws in your new kitchen.” “Imagine having a place for the kids to do their homework while you make dinner.”
Another way of easing the pain of buying is to give clients the opportunity to do good at the same time. Studies show that the affluent care about the social and environmental responsibility of the companies they do business with, so tell your clients if the cabinets you sell are certified “green” by the KCMA, are formaldehyde-free, etc.
Still another way to ease purchase pain is by story telling. The logical side of buyers craves facts and figures, while their psychological side craves stories and pictures of past successes.
Storytelling is a way to alleviate pain because it creates and/or strengthens emotional bonds. When people read or hear a story, their brains experience it and remember it, as opposed to merely hearing a recitation of features and benefits.
Stories of past successes resonate strongly with buyers because they can picture themselves in the situations of previous buyers. This is why “Before And After” case studies are powerful influencers.
For example, when showing a deep drawer under a cook top, you can tell a story about a client who incorporated one into her kitchen. Now she’s thrilled because it’s easy to access her pots and pans and cooking is more fun.
Be sure to use the word “you” in your presentations when addressing pain points. “This drawer makes it easier for you to get to your pots” or “you won’t kill your back reaching for a heavy pot.” Speak to the pain and how you’re going to relieve it.
In addition to being a great designer, you have to become a pain reliever. Relieving your prospects’ pain starts by getting them to feel comfortable with you.
Then you can move on to demonstrate how your design solutions will enhance their relationships and allow them to support companies that care about the environment.
And finally, you can close the sale by sharing “Before And After” stories that tell through words and pictures how your designs relieved pain points for other customers.