At our Bootstrapper’s Breakfast, we have had several discussions on what makes the customer buy your product or service. Here are three steps to understand your customer’s buying process.

1) The customer has a need that should be fulfilled. To make sure that your product/ service is most suitable to your customer, think of why it would appeal to the customer. Different businesses look at the same product or service offering differently. For example, a small business will buy a one time service differently compared to a large business. Same goes while buying a subscription service or a support service.

The following questions will help you understand your customer and match your product/service accordingly.

a) Who is your customer and how do they function?

  • is s/he an individual who pays by cash/credit card
  • is s/he a small business owner
  • is it a large business

b) What is the nature of the product/service you’re offering ?

  • is it a one-time service/a one-time product that can be bought
  • is it a subscription service
  • is support offered along with the product

2) The customer weighs different alternatives to fulfill his need. Once  he has a few choices, he zeroes in on a particular choice. The customer then tries to re-affirm the decision made. At each step, you as the seller, have to make sure that the customer’s questions are answered and make him believe that the solution that you offer is the best.

3) Once the customer has chosen your product/service and is convinced, he tries to reaffirm his conviction.  To help the customer reaffirm that his decision is right, you have to make him believe in your product or service.

  • Help the customer understand the offer and the benefits, make him believe that your offer is unique and give him a compelling reason to buy, have a trigger or a reason to act.
  • Give him a free trial. The Freemium model allows people to understand the application. http://www.freemium.org/
    a)   ‘free trial” of full functionality and free but for subset functionality is something which the software provider will have to decide.
    b) There will always be customers who will use the free services but will not convert when it comes to paying for the service.

In conclusion, to better understand your customer, know your customer and how best your product or service can fulfill his need. Then help the customer understand any questions about your service and help him convince himself that your product or service is the most appropriate.