I had a meeting recently at a networking group that I’m a part of. This group, Synergy Business Connections, is a part of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce. During this networking meeting, we heard a presentation given by Harriet Cohen of training solutions. The gist of this business training was to discover why people buy from you. What I discovered was a lot of great insight into the reasons that people buy and how that applies to consultants.

A lot of the information that she gathered was based on psychographic characterizations and how that broke down why people buy from you. Psychographics are defined as a qualitative methodology used to describe consumers on psychological attributes. This includes: personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.

The reasons that people will buy from you are as follows:

To fill a need: to fill a need is the number one reason that someone will buy from you. People buy food because they need to eat. People purchase an oil change because they need their car to run. To fill a need means that it is obviously a necessity and not a purchase that can be skipped. This includes getting rid of a problem that is unwanted.
Inclusivity: this reason is about people wanting to be a part of the group. Is everyone else buying and raving about a product or service? Are they missing out? This is a huge incentive for someone to buy. Keeping up with the Jones’ is a real occurrence.
Praise: they’re buying to say, “Great job!” That was a great ad that you posted or a great sign used to draw customers in. They love the décor or presentation and they are buying as praise. This also extends to purchases made by loved ones or acquaintances that are supporting you and your business. 
Self Actualization: this reason for buying comes up when someone is rewarding themselves. It’s an “I deserve to treat myself” mentality. These are the products and services that you don’t necessarily see as a necessity, but that you truly want for yourself.

The bottom line for customers and clients will always come down to-what’s in it for me? If I am the person buying your services or if I’m the person engaging with a consultant, what is in it for me? How can consultants fill each of the needs that people need to be filled in order to buy?

Consultants can definitely fit into this list of needs, where they fit on this list depends on the role that the consultant will be playing in an organization. Is it essential that a business starts engaging with a consultant? Would a consultant fix an unavoidable problem, offer safety or security in an organization or more? If so, this consultant is filling a need. Would engaging with a consultant be keeping you up to where everyone is in the industry? Could a consultant provide experience and perspective about what others are doing in the industry? If so, this consultant is offering inclusivity.  Is a consultant needed as a second opinion? Is it necessary to have someone who can come in and validate all the good that’s been happening and positive steps that have been taken? If so, this consultant is providing praise. Is it necessary to bring a consultant in to help a project and the business? Will it have a positive impact on the business getting things done and moving a step above the rest? If so, this consultant is offering self actualization. 

Every trade, product, service, etc. can be filled into this model of why people buy. The important part is to understand where your product or service fits on the list and how you can best present yourself to sell. Consultants have to remember that they can fit a wide range of needs and reasons for engagement if they can clearly define their roles. What are your thoughts? Comment below!