How To Make A Wonderful Product That People Line-Up To Buy
|September 16, 2012||Posted by Louise under Product Development|
Remember the Seinfeld episode of the Soup Nazi? In it, the gang frequent a soup stand where the soup is so popular that people line-up, despite the fact that the owner imposes certain ordering rules on his patrons and if they aren’t met, he declares, “No soup for you!” and promptly kicks them out of the line and the restaurant*.
Now don’t we all want to know how to make a product that people will lineup for and jump through hoops to get?
What draws patrons to the strictest soup stand?
In the Seinfeld episode, the Soup Nazi draws patrons because of the unique value he offers: his personal home-made variety of tongue tantalizing soups.
You could also go so far as to include his strict ordering process that imposes an element of risk and excitement – will you be able to get soup or not? – that makes him stand out and get noticed.
I don’t know if you should apply this recipe per se when creating your own product, but with today’s competition, you definitely have to consider what your customers will want to line-up for.
What do people want to buy?
When creating a product, it’s quite natural to ask yourself many questions like, “what product should I sell? How will I create this product? or Will people really buy my product?”
Look into those questions and you’ll realize that how to make a product should start with your customer.
I’m not saying your passion, your skills and experience are unimportant. Of course not! (And I talk about this in a previous post.) But how you are going to use these to sell a product people will buy will be determined and driven by discovering and delivering what your market wants.
Psychology of sales (just a glimpse!)
When you start investigating why people buy, you soon discover all sorts of reasons. Some are complex; others are simple.
For instance, many articles and training programs claim, “The best products solve problems.”
When I started building my own business and I heard someone say this, my initial thought was of obvious scenarios like the vacuum cleaner, post-it notes (man I love those!), paperclips, or something to that effect that solved a concrete physical problem.
But problems aren’t always physical or obvious. For example, why did people in Seinfeld lineup religiously and risk punishment and public rejection for soup? Well, they needed a solution to their hunger, to refueling their bodies, of course. But, they probably could easily locate good soup somewhere else where they didn’t have to wait in line or suffer the Soup Nazi’s scrutiny. What restaurant doesn’t offer soup?
So to find that in-demand quality found in products that sell, you need to dig a little deeper and enter the area of the psychology of sales.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (remember?)
Search online and see. You’ll find all kinds of articles listing why people buy certain products. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Many marketing experts say that people buy to meet those needs.
Looking at the above image and using the Seinfeld soup stand as an example, you could say that first and foremost, the tasty soup met people’s physiological needs of supplying the food they need to feed their bodies.
You could also argue that “surviving” the strict ordering process and being “allowed” to purchase soup provided patrons with a sort of reward and therefore also met their esteem needs.
In addition, you can google Why People Buy and you’ll discover a whole new set of lists, from the simple 5 reasons why they buy types to detailed psychologically-based research papers.
It can be about giving and taking away
For instance, in one book I’m currently reading, The $100 Startup, author Chris Guillebeau boils the reasons people buy products (or services) down to two: your product gives them more of what they want and/or removes what they don’t want.
1. In the “More” column are things such as love, money, acceptance, and free time. We all want more of those things, right? In the “Less” column are the undesirables: things such as stress, long commutes, and bad relationships. If your business focuses on giving people more of what they want or taking away something they don’t want (or both), you’re on the right track.
Focus on the benefits, not just wants
In another example, Zur.com wrote a great article that shifts this perspective slightly from wants to benefits. Here’s why focusing on benefits is important:
2. People don’t buy products, they buy the benefit.
If you can’t answer this question: Why are they buying? Then you haven’t really connected with that individual. They want to buy a benefit, so exactly what benefit will your product or service be to them? A benefit is something that provides an improvement in a condition, promotes and enhances well-being. It helps assist someone to obtain some desired advantage or position. You have to find out what they personally consider to be a benefit.
Example: Greg DeVore wrote a great article on a GarageBand iPad app he recently bought. Even though the iPad version of Garageband has a fraction of the features the full software package has, the app made his son feel like a rockstar at creating music. The creators of this app did not care about what the software could do, as DeVore points out, but rather what benefit the software brings to the people.
Ask the million dollar question
Likewise, Lisa Cherney, the Juicy Marketing Expert, also emphasizes working out your product’s benefits. Cherney currently helps entrepreneurs find the value in their business and therefore create an offer that will sell. Her training is based on the premise that selecting a targeted niche, like soup, is not enough to create a high-demand product. She says that rather than focusing on your niche, put the spotlight on your clients by asking this question:
“How would their [customers] life or business change after working with you or using your product?”
That’s the million dollar question (or whatever financial target your have in mind!) and the starting point in creating your high demand product. Brainstorm and draw-up a list of answers (I mean it; do it now!) and you’ll have the first glimpse at what you should create that people will line-up to buy.
If you don’t know what people are looking for in your niche – what they personally consider a benefit, then start with some easy research. You can visit niche-related forums, your competition’s websites, and even use social media to discover what people are talking and complaining about on this subject.
How to make a wonderful product?
As you can see, there are all kinds of reasons people buy and all kinds of ways to look at this topic, but the point is that you keep your focus on your market and what they want; not on the benefits you think they want or, as shown in the GarageBand app example above, on the number of features your product provides.
It’s not about being the loudest or biggest or fanciest. It’s about giving them what they want, whether that’s specialized like a hand-stitched wedding gown or simple like a bowl of soup.
What do you think? What focus do you take in your business? How do you find what your customers want?
*http://youtu.be/uVqBzP0xdKk (snippets of Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode – have a good laugh!)
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
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