Why do your customers buy?

Do you know why your customers buy from you? 

It may seem like a silly question at first, but it’s important to understand. 

If you fail to understand why your customers need your product or services, you’ll fail to align your sales and marketing message with their goals.

This article will explore three frameworks you can use to understand the “why” behind the buy.

Framework #1 – The Gap

The first framework is Gap Selling, which is about selling the gap between where your customer is now, and where they want to be in the future. Your job is to understand what “the gap” is, and its impact, then sell the importance of closing it.

The focus is not on your competitors or your product, but instead on LISTENING to the customer to understand that gap they are looking to fill. 

Some key components of Gap Selling include:

  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Ask the right questions to get the right answers. 
  • Uncover the root cause, its impact, and the emotions involved. 
  • No discovery meeting, no demonstration.
  • Use demos to highlight solutions to the problem, not features and benefits.
  • Focus on the impact of the gap, and sell and hold objections against it.
  • Provide value to the prospect, don’t try to be their friend.

Gap Selling is a great compliment to a digital sales strategy. Focusing on providing value and addressing problems, it encourages sales reps to educate their prospects, not sell to them. 

For further information on this framework, check out the book “Gap Selling” by Keenan.

Framework #2 – Jobs To Be Done 

The second framework is Jobs To Be Done, or JBTD.  It is based on the idea popularized by Clayton Christensen that people “hire” products or services to do a specific job, or to help them achieve a particular goal.

According to the JTBD framework, your prospects are not looking for a product with specific features or specs, but rather a solution to a problem or a way to achieve a desired outcome. In other words, they want your product to do something for them. 

Image from Intercom.

The Jobs to be Done framework suggests that you should focus on understanding the specific “job” that your customers are trying to do, and then focus your sales and marketing efforts on that message. 

By understanding your customer’s goals, motivations, and the other products and services they use to get their job done, you’ll be able to better build and sell your offering. This helps you create complete solutions for your customers, rather than just focusing on a single product or service.

Framework #3 – StoryBrand

The third framework is StoryBrand, a marketing framework developed by Donald Miller. In this framework, your brand (or product/service) is part of a larger story in your customer’s life. 

The story goes something like this:

  • The character (your customer),
  • Encounters a problem,
  • And meets a guide (your business).
  • Who gives them a plan (your buying process),
  • And calls them to action (your calls to action).
  • This helps them avoid failure (the negative impact of not buying),
  • And ends in heroic success (the positive impact of buying).
Image from Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.

The whole premise of the Storbrand framework is that your customer is the hero of the story. You are part of their story and serve as the helpful guide who leads them to success. 

You are the Yoda to the Luke Skywalker.  

Using this framework to understand why your customer buys enables you to tap into a core storytelling framework that we all understand instinctively. You can position yourself as the guide your customer seeks by telling the “story” in your sales and marketing strategy. 

Understanding Why They Buy

It’s important to recognize that all three frameworks make one clear point – your customers don’t buy products for features and specs. Their “why” behind the buy is more than features, benefits, and price points. 

Each framework posits a very different why: 

Gap Selling – closing the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

Jobs to be Done – the job your product is being hired to do.

StoryBrand – the story that your customer is taking part in. 

Regardless of what framework you choose to apply, it’s important that you truly understand the “why” behind your customer’s purchase. Doing this will create a far more effective sales and marketing strategy.