Customers do not buy from you – they join you.
Every time a customer makes a decision to subscribe, follow, engage and purchase they are making an emotional decision to join you.
Which is really cool and you probably want to know why they make this decision so you can increase the number of customers who join you right!?
By understanding why your customers join you, you can:
- Present your business in the best possible way to your ideal customers – increasing your customer base and your revenue.
- Plan your ultimate customer experience – so you can enjoy high customer satisfaction, conversion and retention.
- Create products and services that live into your Heart-Centered intentions – and enjoy greater productivity, fulfilment, long term success!
By the end of this monster article (get ready it’s a big BUT important one) my aim is that you’ll gain some valuable knowledge around how and why your customers think and act the way they do, allowing you to feel more tuned in to knowing why your customers make certain decisions.
Once you’re equipped with this knowledge you can get to work creating an even more awesome experience for your customers!
Here’s a simple journey path for your customers:
Join the Brand + Enjoy an Awesome Customer Experience = Long Term Loyalty.
This is the journey we wish to create: where a customer is driven to join you, has the best possible experience with you and continues that experience becoming a loyal, dedicated member of your community.
The first step to that amazing journey starts with information, and the information needed for this journey starts with the very customers you serve – which is the basis of our 5 steps:
Step 1: Understand The Process Of How Your Customers Think
Step 2. Know Your Why and Communicate It
Step 3: Create the Ultimate Customer Experience
Step 4: Be Aware of What ‘triggers’ your Customers into Action
Step 5: See the Gap between Pain and Pleasure and do Something about it
We’re about to dive into these 5 steps.
Now, thinking about my opening statement: “Customers do not buy from you – they join you” and knowing that your customer makes an emotional decision to do so is very important – it’s where science, biology and business strategy meld together and become really cool – especially if you’re a Heart-Centered Business Owner!
Very basically (and I’m not a brain scientist but here goes…) we have three areas of our brain:
- Our central core which is responsible for breathing, sleeping, hunger, our heart beating, basically our central operating system.
- Our limbic system (which only exists in mammals) is responsible for memory, emotion, connection, learning, behaviour and reactions.
- Our neo-cortex which is responsible for language, thought, rationalisation, interpretation and planning amongst other things.
Our brain is an amazing organ and when you as a Heart-Centered Business Owner can understand a little more about it, you’re one step closer to understanding your customers, tuning into their values, their beliefs, understanding what’s causing them pain – then planning your customer experience, launches, programs, writing content, connecting with your tribe – everything – on a more connected and powerful level.
If you’re thinking “wow that sounds really intense” don’t worry it’s not!
It is however, an awesome chance to get to learn a little more about why your customers make the decision to become part of your community, buy from you, stay with you, support you and help your business growth – and I know you want to learn more about that!
Here are 5 Steps to Understanding Why Your Customers Make the Decisions They Do.
Step 1: Understand The Process Of How Your Customers Think
We make decisions based on emotions, then we rationalise it.
Simply put, your customers make decisions based on the reaction and messages sent by their limbic system, which is the emotional, decision making part of our brain, then rationalise it with messages sent from the neo-cortex.
The cool thing about the limbic system is that it does not communicate in words and numbers, instead it communicates with us in emotions and feelings – probably because it works so damn fast, at 10 Million Bits per second.
The limbic systems gives value, meaning and feeling to all the information our brain is constantly collecting.
The limbic system will say “I feel safe and secure. I trust this person. I enjoy this experience”.
Think of the limbic system like the intuitive part of your brain, the inner voice, the gut feelings you experience.
Our neo-cortex on the other hand, which is the newest part of the brain, is the justifier. It fills in the answers as to why our limbic system would be telling us to feel a certain way.
It works a little slower than the limbic system and has to pick up on ‘markers’ to analytically evaluate why the limbic system is pushing in a certain direction. It could be things like:
“I feel safe because I see other people have had good results with this brand”
“I feel confident purchasing because there is a seal of approval/money back guarantee/30 day free trial”
“I enjoy this experience because I’ve just gained the information I was searching for”
“I feel loyal to this company/person because they believe what I believe”
So our neo-cortex will justify buying something or signing up to something (or not) based on the response sent to it by the limbic system.
Evoke emotional reaction first – inspire action with rationalisation second.
Keep in mind that “up to 95% of human behavior happens subconsciously, so we as humans can’t really explain why we do the things we do, even if we believe so. Brain research calls this illusion “user illusion.”
Step 2. Know Your Why
When you know, explain and live into what you stand for, it’s easier for your customer to know why you matter.
Your ‘why’ is your personal driving force, your beliefs, your mission for why you do what you do.
When a customer can clearly understand your why they can easily understand the value you represent to them, the beliefs and value you have in common and the reasons for wanting to join you on your mission.
When you and your ‘why’ is described and positioned to your ideal customer it should evoke an emotion, a feeling, a response.
Now if you’re thinking why and how does this all this feeling and intention connect to business strategy and business results, I want to let you in on a little secret…
As individuals, we align ourselves with people and products and businesses that make us feel something because emotion and feeling is at the center of every decision we make.
Both the limbic system and the neo-cortex are important because both work together to quickly convey to a potential customer your ‘why’ and what that means to them.
When your customer believes and is passionate about the same causes that you and your company stand behind and the conversations you are involved with.
Also see: Why Do You Do What You Do?
When you create customer-focused solutions which are truthfully and intentionally designed to do good – then you guarantee a Heart-Centered Business.
Then each moment in your customer’s experience leads to growth and expansion (for both you and your customer).
That’s the goal right?
Now, customer journey and customer experience, interestingly, it’s one area where a lot of businesses fail to spend time, energy and resources planning.
However, once you do, you step into a real leadership zone and can completely break free of all your competitors and shine in your customer’s eyes.
I’m going to share one of my favourite quotes:
“Don’t create a product, create an experience”.
If you can create an amazing experience for your customers – one that ensures you help them solve their problem AND they enjoy the process, rave about it, you, your services and want to stay engaged with you – then you’re building a loved-up community.
Running a business can be tough, you can get caught up in the zone of creating products, launching services, being active on social media, pumping content plus everything else… and sometimes you can forget to focus some of your energy on creating the ultimate experience for your customers.
“Your website isn’t the center of your universe. Your Facebook page isn’t the center of your universe. Your mobile app isn’t the center of your universe. The customer is the center of your universe.” – Bruce Ernst
Well basically you want to ensure that every touch point your customer has with you and your company is an outstanding one.
Every essential element to your Heart-Centered Business contributes to your customer experience but here’s a few major contributing factors to take note of – especially if you’re a creative or professional services boss:
- Are you engaging with your customers in ways they enjoy?
- Are you providing them with all the information they’re looking for?
- Have you planned their journey and are actively guiding them on it? (this is a big one!)
- Are you adding your ‘special sauce’ this is what makes you unique and different, to your process?
- Are you sharing your beliefs, values and intentions with them?
- Are you making it super easy for a customer to connect with you when and how they want to?
To keep it simple think of every touch point your customer has with you:
- Social media
- Sales process
- Added value content
- Customer service
There’s just a few – think of all the stages for your business where your customers interact with you and commit to a standard of awesomeness around each of them, then you start planning your customer experience.
Please keep in mind that your ultimate customer experience is based on what’s best for your customers and how to enrich their experiences, it’s not about you.
The magic happens when that gap between the two is as minimal!
A quick example for you:
If your ideal customers are stay at home Mum bloggers and you schedule a webinar for 4:00pm because that time works for you – but for your customers, that’s when the kids are home and they’re in ‘Mum zone’ – it’s probably not going to work as well for them as say 11:00am that same day.
So schedule it for 11:00am and let them know this is so they can jump on line before any lunch plans they have, in between school drop off and pick up times – let them know you’re thinking of them.
If they take the time to join you on the webinar, in the follow up email wish them luck with the school pick up that afternoon!
Take the extra step and think about your ideal customer, what their world, their day looks like and figure out what’s going to be the best possible experience for them and how you can best contribute positively to that experience – and Thank them! Thank your customers for showing up!
Customer experience is so important for a Heart-Centered Business because when it’s implemented well it can let you enjoy:
- Better customer loyalty
- Higher customer retention rate
- Increased customer satisfaction
- More personal relationships
- More referrals and recommendations
- An easier ‘selling’ strategy
Also keep in mind that overall, the strength of your customer experience lies in engagement, not sales.
What sparks a decision in your ideal customer?
There’s quite a few different reasons why your ideal customer will join you.
Biology says we’re still heavily influenced by our herd and our tribe.
When we see one of our peers experience a positive result, we’re more likely to want the same process to get the same result.
This exists around us constantly – when a friend tells you how awesome their new hairdresser is and you book in right away. When your sister tells you about the book she’s reading and you want to read it to. When your partner tells you they’re taking you to the new restaurant around the corner because they saw a review on facebook that said the cocktails were amazing!
It’s called social proof and it’s incredibly important ‘marker’ to let your customers feel safe.
Gareth Goth at Insightsquared.com says: “Buyers – and human beings in general – have a herd mentality, opting to move together in large groups. They will naturally be swayed by what a great number of their peers have done. This is why social proof has become such a powerful selling weapon today. Demonstrate to your potential buyer how others have bought and benefited, and they might start to see things from that other herd’s positive perspective as well.”
Apart from social proof, other psychological triggers that may activate your customers into a decision include: reciprocity, novelty, storytelling, simplicity, credibility, common goals (and common enemies), curiosity, anticipation, scarcity, celebrity, social importance (a red carpet experience), VIP ‘closed door’ information and controversy.
Of course knowing your ideal customer, their driving forces, what matters and appeals to them and what they perceive to be valuable is what will guide the triggers you ensure are present on your website, copy, services and programs because let’s remember – it’s all about your customers!
Coming back to our brains for a moment – all these markers are giving your customers little signposts along the journey which tell them to keep going.
- If your customer is on your website and the imagery is appealing to them and their values – the brain says keep going this feels good.
- If they’re reading a blog post that speaks to a current issue they’re facing and how to solve it – the brain says keep going you’re gaining information.
- If they’re reading an email that is telling a story – the brain says keep going you’re being entertained.
- If they’ve just had an awesome meeting with you and they receive a thank you email or text – the brain says keep going you’re appreciated.
- If your customer is about to purchase something and they see reviews and write ups from other customers praising the product – the brain says keep going, others have had great experiences, you will too.
- If your customer receives the best possible welcome pack to your company or program that lights up their day – the brain says keep going, I’m important to this person/company and they value me.
This is happening constantly and it’s not random – your brain is evaluating so many pieces to the puzzle based on your personal values, driving factors, success signposts, memories (basically everything) and letting you know whether the interaction you’re having is enjoyable, valuable and getting you closer to your goals (or not).
Step 5: See the Gap between your Customer’s Pain and Pleasure and do Something about it.
Learn what is causing pain to your customers, and create experiences to move them away from that pain.
Know your customers, love your customers, honour your customers.
As a Heart-Centered Business Owner I know you care about whether or not your customers have a positive experience with you.
I know you care about the difference you’re making in the world and that the best place to start is with the difference you can make to the lives of your customers.
However, caring about your customers experience and being crystal clear on what their pain is and how to move them away from that pain, are two separate things.
A big part of the reason I started my business was because I was hearing the same story over and over from different bosses:
“I am really good at what I do and I’m passionate about building a strong business that helps my customers, but I feel stuck. I don’t know what strategies to use that will help me grow my business to where I know it can be, I don’t enjoy pushy sales tactics, and I’m not sure how to communicate my Heart-Centered intentions to my customers. I feel like if I just had a little help in bringing it all together this business will be amazing!”
So it’s my intention to move my customers away from that feeling of helplessness and closer to feeling strong in direction, alignment and strategy.
My aim is to help them grow the business they envisaged when they first started, experiencing growth and expansion easily, using strategies rooted in their heart-centered intentions.
It’s also my goal to educate my customers that a profitable business can be a positive and joyful business and ‘selling’ does not need to be pushy or aggressive.
If you’re a virtual assistant for solopreneurs then your customers might be feeling like this…
“I am so overwhelmed spending every day answering emails and taking product orders – which I do not enjoy – and I have zero time to focus on growth or development let alone being present in my community or creating new content. I feel so stretched and I feel my business is just consuming me. I know I need help but I’m reluctant to give control over to a stranger.”
So your goal is to move them away from that overwhelm and towards feeling completely powerful and productive, knowing whilst they’re focusing on big business goals and doing what they love doing in their business, you’re working in the background on all the essential admin tasks that absolutely need to happen for their business to run smoothly, but take away from their personal enjoyment.
Your aim is for them to feel safe in allowing you to get on and do what you need to do to be successful in your role and let them feel comfortable handing over the reigns. Win, win!
Here’s another one:
If you’re a social media strategist whose best customers are small businesses they might be feeling like this…
“Our small team is completely overworked and understaffed as it is and although we know we need a social media strategy, no one has the time nor the inclination to own it. We’re desperate for help and we don’t really they don’t know what we’re doing in the first place – at the moment we’re just pumping money into ads which aren’t generating any return.”
Your goal is to move them towards a more organised and strategic schedule so they can rest assured knowing you have the ‘social’ covered, the planning, the creation, the posting – everything – then they don’t have to worry about it, and instead can focus on their ever expanding to-do list.
Because ‘social’ is so much more than just ‘social’ you’re going to add more value than they realise in taking a look at their entire marketing process so the money that’s being spent in ad campaigns is definitely going to generate a return.
Aaahh did you hear that deep sigh of relief from the team leader?
Oh ok just one more…
You’re a wellness coach and you work predominantly with women who are married with young children and working part time. They might be feeling like this…
“I want to be a good mother. I want to create a healthy, happy environment for my family. I want my partner and I to become better role models for our children and teach them the importance of health and wellness but I am so stressed. I’m trying to run the home, run the kids to and from school and sport, be an asset to the company I work for and really do a great job on all fronts, but some days it’s really hard and I feel like I’m not doing any one thing brilliantly.”
So the goal for you is to help incorporate your wellness program or plan seamlessly into her already crazy busy schedule so you’re not adding to her duties, but helping create health and wellness standards in her family. At the same time you want to ensure that you’re wellness plan has a level of accessibility so she can access the learning wherever she is because let’s face it, there is no down time for this customer and she needs access to what she’s investing in at the exact moment she needs it.
You can add even more value to your customers when you put yourself right in their shoes.
Often the solution you’re creating is about helping your customers become a better version of themselves.
This might sound like a lofty goal, and if you’re a life coach or wellness coach or personal trainer this is pretty obvious – but even if you sell home cleaning products and your customer buys a steam cleaner that can clean floors, walls, appliances and bench tops – it’s still helping to create a better version of themselves.
Did someone say I can clean my entire kitchen in under 4 minutes using the anti-bacterial power of steam!?
Enter super happy, super tidy, better version of myself.
So how quickly you can move your customer from their pain to their pleasure is the value of this experience (and that’s generally what customers pay for).
“Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.” – Heather Williams
There you have the 5 points that will help you today become more in tune with the decision making process your Customers go through to join your brand, align themselves to you, become part of your community and consistently buy from you.
The great news is, no matter what industry or what stage of business these 5 steps will help you to listen in, learn and act based on the needs, wants and desires of your customers. Remember, the need or want to ‘join’ is based on an undeniable pull that us humans have for connection and belonging.
Please let me know in the comments how you are going to plan and create an even more awesome experience for your customers today?