Why your customers buy – it’s often not about the product

Working out why your customers buy from you can really improve your marketing and save a whole load of wasted time and money.  Here’s a quick case study on how I helped a newly self-employed ironing lady work this out:

A while back I did a bit of training for a woman called Zoe who was new to being self-employed. She’d started an ironing service and I was helping her to learn about keeping financial records.

Why your customers buy - it's often not about the product
Spend some time thinking about why your customers buy from you.

During our session we discussed how much she was charging and she quickly realised that she is far too cheap, possibly by as much as 50%. So any new clients will be paying more than her current ones (sorry).

But part of the discussion was why people buy an ironing service. Why would anyone pay someone else to do their housework?

We came up with a number of reasons:

  • some folks are short of time
  • others won’t be very good at ironing
  • many will feel that they’d rather be doing something else
  • and some will pay to have to have it done because they hate the task

For most people it’s a case of saving time.

Most of Zoe’s clients will simply value their time at higher than the rate she charges.

They aren’t buying the ironing, they’re buying the time it saves.

So what Zoe is actually selling is time.

She’s giving those with the money and inclination the opportunity to take away an undesirable job and get back the time it would have taken.

And this set Zoe thinking a little more about the value of time.

You see, time really is the only finite resource, when it’s gone you’re not getting it back. And it was at this point that she realised that she didn’t value her own time highly enough.

An important lesson, I feel, and better learned sooner than later.

But the most important lesson that Zoe learned was that her clients don’t buy ironing, they buy time.

Zoe now knows why her clients really buy and she can now focus her marketing on what her clients gain from her service.

She can now further emphasise the benefits of buying back time rather than just taking away an undesirable job.

So, here’s a question: can you do a similar exercise to work out what your customers really gain when they buy from your business?

Once you work out why your customers buy from you it’ll make your marketing so much easier (and a lot more effective).

Want more on marketing? Check out:

Here’s why you should spend more time marketing to existing customers (Article and video)

How to spot sales opportunities in your business (YouTube video)

2 thoughts on “Why your customers buy – it’s often not about the product”

  1. we exchange time for money in every transaction because the other option is to do it ourselves. if we were to do it ourselves, how will we earn the money because we will a) not have a job and b) we will not have the time in the day to go out and earn.

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