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Why people buy people is still very true

By June 25, 2021December 19th, 2023No Comments

Here’s why the phrase ‘People Buy People’ is still absolutely true…

The phrase ‘people buy people’ has been around for decades, and is accepted as a universal truth. But, in this world of digital marketing and online selling, is it still true? In the world of small business marketing, should it be part of your marketing story?

In short, YES, it’s still absolutely true! Below we look at why this is and what you can do to ensure your customers are ‘buying’ your people, whatever the size of your business and whether it’s online or in person…

Know, like and trust

In most businesses, when a tender process isn’t needed, winning business isn’t about price nearly as much as you might imagine. In fact, price isn’t even in the top 10 key factors.

As Ivan Misner said when he started BNI, reputedly the world’s leading networking and referral organisation, it is about ‘know, like and trust’.

People need to know you exist before they can buy from you.

  • They are more likely to buy from you if they like you.
  • They absolutely must trust you will deliver on your promises.
  • Whilst Ivan was talking about this in a referral context, it is very true in a marketing and sales context too.

People buy the ‘Why’

Very few of us now do something nobody else does, so we all have competition. Competition that competes on price, location, number of awards and in many other ways. But, more and more, the factor that makes you stand out is the ‘Why’. People can see what you do and, probably, how you do it, but the reason many buy from you now is because of why you do what you do. Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk explains this far better than I can!

How to help others buy YOU

To get people to buy you, there are a series of things you need to do. Here’s what they are and why they are important.

1. Get out there

If people don’t know you, there is no chance of them buying you. So the first step is to ensure that more people know you exist and know about you. For many small business owners, that means more networking. We’ve already mentioned the, very formal, BNI, but there are plenty of others. Nigel goes to Fore Business events (you can read why here) as well as more local events such as Connecting Croydon

2. Use stories

From childhood onwards people have always loved stories. Bet you remember some stories from your childhood! People remember stories better than facts, so what are the best stories you have about how you’ve helped your clients? If you’ve never really thought about this, have a think.

  • Which clients have you achieved the best results for – and how did you do it?
  • Which clients are in the most niche sectors (check out the Cat Doctor and what we did for them) – and what did you achieve for them?
  • Have a story, or two, for each sector you work in, so you can tell relevant stories to the people you are talking to.

Before you tell your stories to someone, find out something about them first. You can then choose the best stories to tell them.

3. Always look to help others first

We all want to make more sales and grow our client base. But if you can help others without expecting something in return, it will come back to you. Whether it comes from the people you helped, or via another route, it will happen.

People remember that you helped them. If they cannot help you back, they will talk about you to others.

4. Deliver on your promises

If you do make commitments and promises to others, make sure you deliver. Remember it is your reputation that is on the line here. Deliver and your reputation, in that person’s mind, grows. If you don’t, you slip down in their estimation.

5. Collect and use testimonials

Before you get to meet someone, it is highly likely they’ve reviewed your LinkedIn profile and your website. Having a good set of testimonials/Recommendations in those places will help to improve their perception of you prior to the meeting – a leg up to start with.

If you haven’t got any, its definitely time to start. Ask your best clients and request recommendations from your best LinkedIn connections.

6. Get more reviews – and share them

Similar to testimonials, reviews can really help people buy you. Whilst they may be about your company, it is common for people to include names in their reviews, particularly in a B2B scenario. The other great things about reviews are:

  • You cannot edit them, particularly on Google or platforms such as Feefo or TrustPilot. People get to read both the good and the bad.
  • However, you do get the opportunity to reply

We recommend that you always reply to reviews – because it shows you care. For a good review, a thank you goes down well. For a poor review, either correcting the story or working to fix the situation is a must.

Setting up your Google Business Profile doesn’t take long. As soon as it is live you can start collecting reviews.

7. Culture

A business’ culture comes from the top. As your business grows, your team need to continue to build on 3 & 4 above. Whilst clients and prospects will not always be dealing directly with you, they will still think about you and what you’ve built when considering to buy, or buy more.

Recruiting the right people, training them and supporting them are vital.

8. Become your business’ figurehead

Part of developing that people first culture is demonstrating what you want your team to do. They will look to you for guidance and they will copy what you do. Think of the people you know and recognise as the “face of their business”. The more people think of you as a figurehead, the more they will think of you when thinking about what you do.


What to do next

  1. Take a look at your own presence. Does it sell you as well as your business?
  2. Complete steps 1-4 above
  3. Get in touch if you would like an independent opinion or some help.
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