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Times columnist Ryan Windsor: The difference between paying and buying

Times columnist Ryan Windsor. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Times columnist Ryan Windsor. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015

I pay for a coffee. I buy a coffee. Comes down to the same thing, right? Does it? Well, not exactly.

Successful business owners usually even rely on the fact that there is a monumental difference between what a customer pays for and what a customer buys.

What I am referring to here is the subtle -but huge - difference between the actual product one pays for and the experience correlated to the product, which one is effectively buying into.

Savvy business owners know that this correlated experience is everything in a competitive industry.

Let’s extend the coffee example and take a look at Starbucks.

A customer who enters Starbucks will pay for a coffee, but also buys into the Starbucks experience. This correlated experience explains why that costumer is paying nearly 300pc more than the actual cost of the coffee.

One of the most influential marketers, Seth Godin, explains this principle in detail in his book Tribes.

He describes the group of people that buys into a specific experience as a tribe. People who swear by Starbucks coffee, in this analogy, are part of the ‘Starbucks tribe’.

Although they all could buy coffees of similar quality for a fraction of the price elsewhere, they are happy to pay extra for the experience Starbucks offers them. Seth describes how this phenomenon influences large groups of people’s behaviour.

For business owners, the message to take home is; if you can associate an experience with the product you sell, and create tribe behaviour, you are on the way to success.

To start implementing this strategy, you should ask yourself the following questions: what experience are you offering, or can you offer? What are you doing, or can you do that makes you stand out?

Start thinking about being that provider of choice in your market, the one that everyone is talking about, as that is exactly how tribes come into existence.

Going through this exercise will certainly be worth your while as it has the potential to result in a more loyal client base, which will even be willing to pay more.

This is just one of the strategies I help my clients achieve, and I suggest you start to work on it too.

To ask Ryan Windsor a question or for more information, email ryanwindsor89@gmail.com

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