Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Secrets of Impulse Purchases

Are you using them?

A few weeks ago, I posted an article and mentioned impulse buying. It’s an important topic I’d like to expand on. But why so much importance on impulse buying? Because, most of the time this is how sales are made. How many times have you not bought a product you really liked because you didn’t have enough information about the product to justify its price, or maybe you were interrupted in the sales process and abandoned the shopping cart, especially when you found out the so-called shipping and handling charge was too high? Or maybe the product presentation was so boring and so lacking in emotion, that you quickly passed on it because it didn’t move you. Maybe you were in a hurry for whatever reason, didn’t order and then forgot all about it five seconds later, forever.

There are a number of legitimate reasons why prospective buyers may not, or simply refuse to buy from you.

Here are the most popular:

1. Your price is either too high or too low. Your price is too high? There’s not enough information about the product to justify its price. And that includes the shipping and handling. What am I getting for $16.95 plus S&H? Is this book worth it or am I getting ripped off? Your price is too low? How can any price be too low? It’s too low when it’s so low that it says: This product is probably damaged and therefore this is why it is dirt cheap. Damaged how? Physically damaged, broken or torn? As far as books go, is the written content inferior? The printing and construction of the book shabby quality? Will it fall apart as I turn the pages? You get the idea.

2. Your credentials are shaky. Who is this guy or gal? What’s their expertise? How much experience do they have in their field? What makes them an authority on this subject? If it’s a novel, what qualifies them as a competent writer? What else have they written that proves they can interest me with a meaningful 400 page story? A story that will add something valuable to my life.

3. The presentation of your product is lame and unexciting. It’s boring and uninspiring. It’s lifeless and meaningless.

4. You’re trying too hard to sell it. You’re too pushy. It’s a hard sell. Something must be rotten in Denmark.

5. You’re not using any photos or videos of yourself. There’s no face to attach to your product. Do you have something to hide? Is this a scam?

6. They don’t like what you have to sell, regardless of your offer.

Okay, we’ll leave it at that. There are other factors but these are the most responsible and the most prevalent for losing a sale, or at least the thought of buying from you. You must realize that selling your book is an uphill battle, but you can level the ground by removing many of the obstacles that block a potential buyer’s way. Above, I’ve listed seven reasons why potential customers may not buy your product. Here’s how to overcome all those objections:

1. Pricing. If you’re not sure how to price your book, just take a look at the prices of similar books in your genre. You want the price of your book to be comparable to those. A little higher or maybe a little lower, but not by much, or the same price will do. Of course you must be able to make a profit at whatever price you set. This will also determine your price and sometimes that may put you out of the running if it’s much higher than other similar books. If so, you’re going to have to re-evaluate the company you’re doing business with. Find another with lower prices so you can mark up your book according to its retail price in the marketplace.

2. Who are you? Do you have some sort of Platform, whether political, societal or in the entertainment industry. If not, what kinds of issues do you stand for now with your book? What are you offering in exchange for trust? What are you promising in your book? A better life? A fulfilling revelation or story that will enhance their life in a meaningful way. What’s in it for them? Let them know with sincerity, passion and conviction.

3. For the love of God, put some emotion into your presentation. How does one go about doing that? Easy, you tie your all-important message, your hook, with relevant music. Not just any music, but music that inspires and moves people to react and take action. You put a lot of heart and soul into your presentation. People can feel it if it’s sincere and heartfelt and most likely they will respond to it.

4. You’re desperate and come across as pushy. You want people to buy your product without giving them a reason to buy it in the first place. You use the word BUY too much, an instant turn-off. You’ve placed Buy Buttons all over the place with red flashing arrows (good Lord). Stop trying to sell and start trying to introduce your product by featuring it in a way that seems useful and meaningful to the prospect. Show it off as large as you can without blowing people away with a huge image they have to back away from. Keep your presentation simple but interesting. Present, don’t sell.

5. Can people see you? Do they know who they’re about to do business with? What about you? Are you trustworthy? Are your photos or videos interesting and assertive, candid? This doesn’t mean you have to smile in every shot, but you must play the part and come across as legitimate and trustworthy. It’s not always easy to get the right shot, but keep trying until you do. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to helping you sell your book, this is truer than ever.

6. Now, if people just don’t like what you have to offer, then maybe they’re in the wrong place. Not much you can do there except adjust your keywords for Search Engine Optimization. Maybe folks are landing on your homepage by accident, because of irrelevant keywords and then quickly back out. Then again, search engines are not perfect either.

So what does any of this have to do with impulse buying and how do you encourage people to buy on impulse? Glad you asked:

1. Present your novel in such an irresistible way that people want to learn more about it. You can’t tell too much. This is the biggest mistake most people make. Stop trying to tell the whole story in one fell swoop. Leave something to their imagination. Tease them, make them curious, motivate them and show what’s in it for them right away. You can do that with the right title, something short (one word is best) and memorable. You must use the right artwork. Something that is thematic to the story or something that will entice them to ask “What’s this all about, what does that mean, why do they show this and not that?”

Give people more reasons than they know what to do with to buy your book. Yes it’s beautiful, yes it’s priced right, yes they trust you, yes they want it, but how do they get it, what’s keeping them from buying it, why should they buy it now?

Because they must have it now and they can’t wait to get it. Why? Because it means so much to them. Why? Because without it, their life will not be the same. Their mundane life will be missing something. Your book will feed their need for, whatever. Their need to understand, their need to be inspired, their need to learn, their need to laugh, their need to cry, their need to hear something different, bizarre, or fascinating. Take your pick, their need to “fill in the blank”.

Buyer’s needs are emotional. It is always that way and no other way. They are human, after all. Fulfill their emotions with your product. Showcase it in a way that fulfills their every desire. Reach deep into their psyche (based on demographics) and universal human needs and tap into their hot buttons then push them all. This doesn’t take force, it takes persuasion. How do you persuade? By answering as many questions about your product as you can and allowing them to come to their own decisions. Offer them more than they expect, if possible, for the same reasonable price. Give something of value away with your product if you possibly can. Make it easy for them to buy. Accept all forms of payment. In short, you must hit a home run with the bases loaded. Nothing else will do. Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned.

And remember this little gem: none of this will do you any good if your presentation falls into the wrong hands. There are plenty of wonderful books, and products out there that I have no interest in whatsoever. Why? Because they don’t hold a special emotional meaning for me and therefore, they are useless to me in all their grandeur and splendor. I can’t respond to (or buy) something that I feel has no emotional value to me. Period. You must get your message to the intended audience. How do you know who your intended audience is? You’ll know in part by instinct, in part by research, and in part by trial and error.

Most of the time, impulse purchases are the only chance you’re going to get to make a sale. People are busy, they are jaded, they’re in a hurry. Use these factors in your favor, not against you. Put together a lean and mean product presentation at the right price, in the right place, and at the right time, and see the difference it should make in sales. My definition of an Impulse Purchase is when a prospective customer is sold on your idea alone and everything else is icing on the proverbial cake. In other words, they've immediately decided that they want and must have your product, for whatever personal reason, and they want it now, and click away without a second thought. This is the ideal sales scenario. What if after they've bought your book and have second thoughts about it? Well, if they can't return it, they can always use it as a doorstop. Why should you care, you already sold it. (Oh my, how callouse. Although you should care because it hinders good word of mouth. Then again, any publicity is good publicity. Shameful.)

"Your objective is to align the moon and the stars in all their glory, insofar that they will shine upon you and your book in the most irresistible and flattering moonlight. In other words, get everything right the first time and don't look back."

Don’t keep this article a secret for fear of competition in the marketplace. Surely, it must have value to you. And it’s free. Read it again. Learn from it. Improve your marketing. Dare to share it. I just did. (Whatever.)


I’ll be away next week but there are plenty of interesting articles you probably haven’t read before. Check out the archives to your right for more good stuff. I’ll be back soon. I bid you peace. Godspeed. (Look, they're right there -->>)