Post by Laura Thompson, contributing Women On Business writer
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a horse business consultant, which means that I work with barn and stable owners rather than the business population at large. Consequently, I am exposed to horses on a regular basis, and before I entered the consulting industry I was a horse trainer and riding instructor.
Horses are interesting creatures, and they have more in common with your target business customers than you might imagine. Much of what I’ve learned about business I’ve obtained from my experience with horses—and if that weirds you out, I apologize.
The thing is, horses are essentially ruled by one powerful emotion: Desire. Every decision they make is based on what they want—food, water, affection. Their decisions can also be rooted in what they do not desire, such as pain, hunger and thirst.
Your business customers respond to the same motivations, though their desires might be significantly more complex. As a business owner, your job is to find out what they desire and figure out how to convince them you have what they want.
You can work based on desire or based on avoidance, depending on your product. For example, if you sell couches, you’ll sell desire: your business customers want couches that make them feel comfortable and that boost the aesthetics of their homes. If you sell over-the-counter pain relievers, on the other hand, you are marketing based on avoidance. Your customers don’t want to experience headaches anymore, so they buy your product to alleviate it.
Sound easy? In theory, it is.
Too many business owners waste valuable time trying to sell their products and services, when all they really need to do is sell desire. If your business customers buy something from you, what pleasant consequences will they enjoy? How will they feel once you’ve completed the service or shipped the product?
Your marketing campaign should focus on the desire you can engender in your business customers. Like horses, they will gravitate to what they want most in the world, and they want things that make their lives simpler, more comfortable, less stressful, more entertaining.
But more important, you need to convince your target business customers that they need your product specifically to obtain what they want. Whether it’s a comfortable couch or a way to stop headache pain, you’ve got to find a hook that tells them your product is better than any other on the market.
If you use this concept to formulate your marketing campaign, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get new customers and retain the old ones. In essence, it’s the way to lead a horse to water and make him drink.
Just don’t try to make your marketing campaign too complex. Humans might be more complicated than our equine counterparts, but not by too large a margin. Our basic desires are rooted in our inherent needs: food, water, shelter, comfort. So even if you sell luxury products at ridiculous prices, boil your marketing campaign down to the simplest desires possible.
Need inspiration? Give me a call and we’ll take a trip to the barn where you can observe your target business customers in action.