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How can I get people to buy from my business?

It is said that salesmanship is the art of getting people to buy what they don’t need.  But is that what you want?  If I’m right, you would prefer people to want to what you have to offer.

So how do I get people to buy from me?
Firstly, for people to buy your product or service, they must need – or want – it.

Just because you have something to sell, because you are convinced that “everybody needs one of these”, it doesn’t mean that there are people who actually do want it.

You need to ask the hard question: is there really a market for my product or service?

How do I know that there’s a market for my ‘product’?
You’ve got to do some market research to find out if people do want what you have to offer, and you have to be prepared to hear what you may not want to hear.

“Listen to your customers” is the mantra of successful marketing gurus

Before you conduct market research, you need to consider a few questions.  The answers to these questions will become your Research Plan.

Henry Ford: “customers would want a faster horse”
Henry Ford: “customers would want a faster horse”

What do you want to know?
“Are there people what want what I have to offer?”  This will determine how and what you ask so that the results that you get relate to your need.

Who will you ask?
How will you make sure that your audience is representative of your target market?  If your market don’t often use the internet, an online survey would not reflect your prospective customer base.

How will you do the research? Will you use surveys, focus groups, interviews, observation or field trials.  Will you do this yourself over in person or online?  Or will you contract a professional market research company?

What will you ask?
There are numerous ways to get the responses that you need:

You can ask questions that:

  • limit responses to one of a number of possible answers (multiple choice): “Which of the following do you prefer: brand 1, brand 2, brand 3, none of the above?”
  • elicit a Yes / No (dichotomous) response: “Do you prefer local to imported?”
  • offer a range of responses (Likert): “On a scale of 1 (agree strongly) to 5 (strongly disagree), please indicate if you have a need for this product.”

How you phrase you your questions will determine the reliability of your results:“Do you have any complaints about the service?” is a leading question that will encourage the respondent to think of a negative answer.

How will you use the answers?
Will you adapt your product or service to make it market-driven?

Henry Ford is reported to have said: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.” by which he meant that he better understood his customers’ needs than they did.

How much will the research cost?
Is the value that you get from the survey appropriate to the cost of obtaining the information (return on investment)?.

Think like one of your potential customers: “Why would I want to buy this?”

Rick Ed



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What questions would you ask of your potential customers to find out if they would buy from you?

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