Why Do People Buy Premium Products?
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I recently spoke to a homeowner with a beautiful, century-old home, English countryside on the outside and Arts and Crafts inside, lots of dark wood and character. They needed a new roof but struggled to find roofing to match their existing cedar shakes. I sympathized with the lack of skilled labor and shared metal roofing as an alternative.
While intrigued, they were unsure how long they planned to stay in the house, so metal’s longevity wasn’t a strong selling point. Ultimately, this conversation prompted a question so relevant to our industry, why do people buy premium products?
People spring for the nicer option in nearly all areas of life, including food and drink, cars, electronics, etc. Most products offer a cheap, moderate, and premium level, gas being the most blatant, with choices clearly labeled right at the pump.
It’s no secret that metal roofing is a premium product, both in material cost and installation. Knowing this, we can tailor our sales and marketing methods to take full advantage of the emotion and logic at play.
We say, “treat yourself,” we take out loans, pay monthly payments, and justify the extra money to ourselves, all to explain why choosing a premium product is worth it. And typically, if it costs more, we hope for better manufacturing processes, a better warranty, or a higher quality.
Buying is an interesting peek into human psychology, but what can it tell us about selling a premium product like metal roofing? Psychological reasons to buy are happiness or fulfillment, simple enjoyment, status, appearances, or brand association. Practical reasons to splurge are easier use, a more pleasurable experience, enhanced capability, better performance, or longer life.
Metal roofing matches several of these, offering a beautiful, performant solution that provides significant advantages in exchange for a higher price. Familiarity with buying motivations can bolster sales, reassure noncommittal customers, and enable you to develop and demonstrate the selling points of metal roofing as a premium product.
However, some motivations may be obvious, and others internalized. Often, we aren’t aware of all the effects buying something can have on us. Maybe status plays a bigger role than we admit, or we don’t externalize all the problems with our current solution.
Nevertheless, psychological motivations are strong indicators, and as much as we like to believe that we buy with logic, emotion is usually the deciding factor. To quote Issue 191, “The best salespeople understand this, leveraging emotions to influence the buying process. Emotional appeals generate feelings of pride, accomplishment, and success. Customers crave these without vocalizing it. They intrinsically understand that value is more than economical.”
When dealing with salespeople, customers often erect a wall to hide their budget, motivations, and feelings. Revealing something feels like exposing a vulnerability. From our article on ethical sales, a good salesperson makes the customer comfortable. Assure them (and truly mean it) that you function to solve their problem, not turn a quick profit.
While prospects may hesitate to share with a salesperson, sometimes the appointment setter is less intimidating. Ask questions over the phone that help reveal buying motivations, and you might be surprised by what you find.
People buy premium products for emotional and logical reasons. As a metal roofing contractor and salesperson, it benefits you to understand those reasons and their place in your market. Awareness will increase sales, give insight into your customers, and enable you to position your offerings more effectively.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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