The Importance of Context in the Purchase Decision

Note: Next week is my premium webinar: How to Influence Customers to Buy. This blog post is a partial excerpt from that webinar. 

Context is critically important to the purchase decision process. Meaning people need to be able to compare things before they buy.

Image courtesy of uuikibeach

Customers don’t have an internal value meter that tells them how much things are worth. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if they did? All we would have to do is present the facts and the price tag and people would know they are getting a good deal. Nope. Instead, people focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate the value accordingly. Most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.

So it’s your job to make the customer’s purchase decision easy. That means it’s your job to provide context, to allow your customers to compare the relative value of what you have to offer. This does not mean you have to do a side-by-side comparison with your competitor’s offering. But you do have to set up a comparison landscape for your customer.

One way to do that is to provide customers similar options. For example: Let’s say you run a refurbishing business that refurbishes offices. How do customers judge the value of your offer? It will be tough because people just don’t do a lot of refurbishing. So instead of just providing a quote (as many professional service businesses do) you provide similar options.

Make Comparison Easy

Option One is the what you think the customer really needs based on your best judgment. Option Two is a more expensive option that uses higher quality materials and craftsmanship. This allows customers to not only compare price, but also materials, enabling them to put the value of your proposal in context. Then there’s Option Three, something that’s less good than what the customer really wants.  It allows the customer to compare what their office would look like if they went the cheap route.

Finally, give the customer the option of doing nothing at all. This allows their mind to compare your best option to what they currently have. Their subconscious will evaluate the current undesirable option and provide the motivation to act. Do not leave out the option of doing nothing at all.

People look at their decisions in a relative way. Making relative judgments is the natural way customers think. They often don’t know what they want until they see it in context. You must give people that context by providing options that are easy to compare.

Do your customers have context?

Get more information on our premium webinar: How to Influence Customers to Buy
See the syllabus and enroll here: Customer Influence Webinar

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