A few days ago I talked about the value of selling solutions from a seller’s perspective and I mentioned that you need to understand your buyer’s problem and solve it if you want them to buy. Since all of life is selling, this strategy is effective for anything from selling a product or asking for a raise, to getting a date or asking for a promotion. Always strive to understand the other party’s problem and present what you want as a solution to that problem.
Today, I’d like to talk about that from a buyer’s perspective.
Have you ever paused for a second and thought, “why did I just buy that?” Do you have one of those giant home gym machines collecting dust in your garage even though you spent a good amount of cash on it? Are you spending too much on shopping for things you don’t need? Do you keep finding yourself in a relationship where the other person is not quite what you’re looking for? If so, read on.
The first question a buyer needs to ask is the same one a seller does, “what problem am I trying to solve?” Think about that one for a second. Most of us go shopping for something because we think we need it or we simply want it but we rarely stop to think about what is it that this thing will actually do for us. Will it make our lives easier? More fun? Save money? Make us look better? Make us feel better? We buy and buy and buy without ever considering what need is it that we’re trying to fill. And that’s why we fail as buyers. Just as many sellers fail because they never ask “what problem am I trying to solve”, we fail as buyers when fail to ask that very same question.
The Soloflex Test!
Let’s take that expensive home gym machine you have collecting dust in the garage. Why did you buy it? You wanted to work out at home? Ok, but a good set of $20 weights and some running shoes can do that so that can’t be it. Oh, you thought it would save you money on gym membership? Maybe, except this thing was as expensive as two years of gym membership and now it’s collecting dust! Were you impressed by how ripped the people in the TV commercial looked and you wanted to look just like them? Ok, but that’s not going to happen if you don’t use the machine…
In fact, your problem wasn’t “I don’t have a home gym”, it was “I need to get in shape”. And more accurately, “I need something to get me off my ass and exercising”. How do I know this? Because I do some personal training on the side and I got to tell you, exercising is easy. You can get a great workout with zero equipment if you’re motivated. The problem is that most people aren’t motivated to exercise. So they use excuses like “oh, if only I have a convenient way to exercise at home I’d get rid of this spare tire around my belly!” Except it’s all bullshit. Your problem was motivation, or lack thereof, and the $1,000 you just shelled for that machine isn’t a solution to a motivation problem.
Instead, you should have put that money towards a personal trainer who can be your own personal motivator. In fact, maybe you should have saved your money altogether and invested some time in finding a friend to work out with. Having a workout partner is a great motivator and a far more effective one than a home gym. This worked perfectly for me when I finally decided to get off my ass and work out. I looked at what was holding me back (lack of motivation) and focused on a solution that solved that problem (friend as workout partner, goal of looking good so I’d be more attractive to women plus public competition with another friend) and it got me into the gym. It worked like a charm!
In other words, take the time to understand your problem so you can make a better buying decision.
Why Buy The Cow…
This applies to nonmonetary purchases too. Why are you in that relationship that makes you miserable? Why do you keep meeting the wrong guy? Maybe you should take the time to think about what problem is it that you’re trying to solve. Are you trying to make your parents happy? Are you lonely? Do you need a life partner to have kids with? Are you not getting enough sex? I know this sounds a bit funny but take a second to consider why is it that you want to “have a relationship”? What problem will having a significant other solve? Once you have that answer, you’ll be well on your way to figuring out a solution. For example, if you’re trying to find a life partner to have kids with then you probably shouldn’t be trying to hook up at bars. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Maybe you should try eHarmony (it worked for me!) or ask your friends to set you up with their nice cousin Jack. Whatever it is, figuring out your problem is the first step.
Reverse Engineering A Problem
By the way, this also works in reverse. When someone is trying to sell you something, take the time to figure out if the problem they’re trying to solve is one you really care about. For example, those beer commercials always make life seem so exciting don’t they? They make you feel like the folks who drink Bud light have adventures all around the world while sleeping with a different buxom 18 year old every night of the week. They make your life seem boring and then they present a solution, a wonderful can of beer!
First of all, is your life really that boring? In most cases, the answer is no. In fact, my life is pretty god damned awesome! However, if your life is that boring, is the can of beer really the right solution? I got to tell you, I find most people who drink a lot of beer (especially bud light, which is distilled pig urine as far as I can tell) to be rather boring. So if you really think your problem is a boring life, maybe you should do something other than buying a case of beer.
Again, figure out the problem this product is trying to solve, figure it if it really is your problem and then figure out if this is the right solution to that problem.
It’s The Little Things That Count
I would even apply this to the little things in life. For example, I frequently find myself going to the kitchen looking for a snack. Am I hungry? Nope, I’m just trying to avoid working on a specific problem that’s bothering me. In other words, my problem isn’t “I’m hungry” it’s “I’m a slacker”. Which is fine but if so I should find the right solution. Instead of eating a snack, which won’t solve the problem AND make me feel bad about ruining my diet, perhaps I should take a walk? Maybe call my fiancé and chat for a minute. Perhaps I should play a game of plants vs. zombies on my iPhone. Whatever it is, I should find the right solution to my problem by first identifying the issue.
Ok, so by now I’ve hammered this issue over and over until it’s deader than a dead horse. I hope you get what I’m trying to get across to you because I’m a bit tired of listening to myself repeating it. Therefore, I’ll close out this piece here with a thank you Fit Buff for including my one of my posts in their latest carnival and to Fire Finder for linking to one of my other posts in their recent article.