Everybody wants to sell; nobody wants to buy
Everybody wants to sell; nobody wants to buy

Or rather, everyone wants to buy, but no-one wants to be sold to.

We have probably all heard the adage, nobody wants to buy a drill...everybody wants to buy a hole. As an entrepreneur, one of our biggest challenges is to establish the exact problem, before coming up with a solution. Too many of us come up with a solution and try to force it onto who we think is our target market. Software developers, stand if you’re guilty!

So, you have the perfect solution to a clearly defined problem. Most innovators who come up with creative solutions are usually terrible at selling that wonderful solution. The packaging of the promotion is the key to much higher sales volumes.

Let us take something as simple as pizzas as an example to explain human buying behaviour in a B2C (business to consumer) business.

Purchasing value

When people pay for a promotion they value it more than when they get it for free. The stock-standard promotional offer of “buy one, get one free” illustrates this clearly. Marketers have reduced these types of promotions to “BOGOF” or simply “241”. The promotion is essentially two pizzas at half price.

If the pizza seller were to sell the promotional leaflet (BOGOF) in the neighbourhood, instead of simply printing leaflets offering two half price pizzas, people would value the offer that they paid for far higher than the same offer where they were simply handed a promo leaflet.

Higher redemption

For many marketers, a huge challenge is to get the customer to actually make the effort to redeem the promotional voucher once they have received it. Far more customers who buy the “BOGOF” promotion for a nominal amount, will beat a path to the pizzeria’s doors to redeem their voucher. Far more than those customers who received a leaflet simply stating that if they buy one pizza they will get one free.

The statistics are staggering. Promotional flyers that have been distributed normally return 1 – 2% redemptions, whereas those that have been purchased will be redeemed by about 90% of the customers who paid for the promotion. Even though the promotional value to the customer is exactly the same!

The growth of the Internet has not changed the above two facts. It's not just personalised face to face selling that makes this concept work. Daily Deals organisations such as Groupon took this model for selling promotions online and proved it works virtually too. They sell the experience beautifully. Gorgeous photos complement artistic descriptions to make you want to visit a participating restaurant. Only then does a consumer press the buy now button.

As marketers we must deeply understand that it is not a promotion itself which drives its own usage because 20% off is just a boring 20% off. I can pick it up from any voucher site online.

Apply this concept to your business and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Another sales adage - nobody wants to buy the steak, they buy the sizzle.