Note: I’m currently on a plane en route to San Diego for Blogher 2011. I’ll be taking part in a panel on Friday morning on creating digital products from your blog. If you’re going to be there, feel free to say hi or tweet me so we can meet up!
I rode my bike past a self-storage place the other day and noticed that it was recently landscaped. Flowers, trees, and a fresh coat of mulch lined the fence facing the road.
My first thought was, why would anyone bother taking the time to landscape a self storage place?
Then I realized it was analogous to my installing walls at the Buyers Market. It’s that above and beyond that builds confidence in your brand. After all, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable leaving your possessions in a place that was well cared for and attended as opposed to a place that was rundown and overgrown?
I just finished reading Predictably Irrational and am now reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. The premise of both of these books is that, despite what we’d like to believe, much of our decision making occurs in the subconscious or unconscious mind.
You don’t rationally think, “Wow, this place has nice landscaping. I’ll keep my stuff there.” Instead, you just know there’s something about this self storage unit that makes you more comfortable than the others you looked at.
The same thing goes for my walls. In the comments, many people argued that the decision to buy or not buy really couldn’t be influenced by the walls. And rationally, that’s probably true. But subconsciously? Well, I believe that’s a different story.
So much of selling revolves around understanding psychology. Many of the improvements I’ve made to my own sales procedure have come from observing the way people interact with my products and making changes accordingly.
Back in 2007, when I first started doing outdoor retail shows, my entire product line consisted of earrings and bracelets. I didn’t really wear necklaces, so I didn’t make them.
But when people would walk into my booth, they would glance at the product, see that I made jewelry, and then instinctively look up to see what I was wearing. The first place their eyes would go? My neckline, to see what necklace I had on. You could practically sense the disappointment when people realized I wasn’t wearing one.
As a result, I started adding more necklaces into my line. And now necklaces are actually my biggest sellers.
The same goes for the way your booth is set up and the way people behave. Does your set-up encourage them to come in? Look around? Touch? Or do they hover like they’re at the edge of a cliff, too scared to dive in?
Most of the time, people won’t tell you why they did or didn’t buy your product. Because they can’t.
Because so much of our decision making process is subconscious, it’s difficult to articulate why. You can’t expect your customers (or those who look but never become customers) to clearly explain their actions.
Instead, it’s up to you to observe, draw conclusions, and make changes accordingly, keeping in mind that it’s often the little cues and subliminal messages that influence someone’s decision to buy.