Customers will strive to avoid pain

Have you noticed how many diet products there are on the market right now?  Even Tesco’s Supermarket  is promoting its online diet. And have you noticed how they are marketing it to people. Are they focussing on losing weight, trimming inches or are they focussing on a new you, a slimmer figure?

Research from Minnesota University in late 2008 has shown that the buying public are more concerned with trying to avoid pain when buying products or services than anything else. In fact, over 80% of the people they interviewed were avoiding issues, problems and pains rather than striving for some goal.

Maybe this is to do with the current down-economy or the way people naturally are, but it certainly helps us when we’re selling.

Think about it. People will do anything to avoid real or perceived pain or to rid themselves of problems and this is a massive motivator.  NLP calls it towards and away from. People are motivated either as towards things such as goals or away from things like pain.

So a diet product will appeal to people differently.  Towards people will want to have a slimmer figure, get a partner or look good on the beach naked.

Away from people will buy a diet product if it helps them lose weight, to stop having tight fitting trousers, to stop wearing unfashionable clothes, to stop people staring at them or feeling sorry for them.

Think of the last thing you bought. Was it an away from or a towards purchase?  I bought some running shoes last autumn because my old ones were worn out and hurting my toes – I didn’t want that pain anymore.  I bought BUPA medical insurance because I didn’t want to worry about having to wait for an operation, and if truth be told, I didn’t want my wife moaning at me anymore that we didn’t have private insurance!

The difference is clear and it also helps us to look at the way we sell our products, services and ideas and the key lesson is that 80% of people are away from buyers. So dust off your products and services and examine how they prevent pain. Find out what troubles your customers experience. Do some research, run some focus groups, ask them, get your marketing department to find out what problems your products fixes. Forget about benefits and features, that’s so noughties, and focus on away from pain solving.

And me…I had a good Christmas so I definitely need to buy some diet products so these trousers don’t feel so tight. Anyone got the Tesco Diets web address?