Personal Branding: people buy what others want to buy

July 1, 2016

Paris department store Galeries Lafayette is one of the World’s most famous places for high end fashion and accessories.

Inside is an exclusive area for Chanel handbags but customers cannot enter just by walking in, they have to queue up at the entrance. An attendant comes by and asks what you will be looking at in the store. The wait isn’t normally too long, only about 10 minutes or so, and the attendants are quite pleasant (you may have experienced the same at Hollister in London). Then you’re in the store and you can browse at designer handbags. You buy something you want – you don’t take too long because you are conscious of the queues outside. You pay an arm and a leg. The stores attendants thank you and you leave feeling good.

A couple of streets away is a store full of handbags, belts, shoes and jewellery. A man shouts in French and English how his stock is on sale, it’s cheap and half priced. People try to ignore him, look the other way. The store is almost empty.

The handbags in both these stores aren’t that different. Clearly the Chanel bags cost a little more and last a little longer but they aren’t that different and if you were from out of space you would struggle to see which one was better.

There is of course one big difference – the price. The brand name cost 50 x more yet that is the one people queue for.

The reason is people don’t buy what others want to sell. They buy what other people want to buy. We buy properties and clothes that other people want. We buy from consulting firms that others use and we invest in companies that others are throwing money in. Yet countless people go to great lengths to show how badly they want to sell something. They scream into the streets that they have cheap products to sell.

Service providers take on clients without setting any boundaries. They answer calls late at night, get paid late and incur costs. Everything says ‘I will do everything for a sale’. The more people and companies do that the more they turn people off. The more a potential buyer sees you are desperate to sell something the more they wonder why you are desperate. Your goal is to place a high value on what you do and work with people who do as well. Set your boundaries, have your terms, protect your space so you can deliver something special. The skill comes in making something available without forcing it on people.

Your job is to celebrate the people who are already buying from you and hold them in the highest esteem. Take care to ensure they feel good about what they have bought and give them more than they expected. Don’t rush off, build the relationship. When they feel good about buying from you they will tell people they bought from you.

When they tell people others will want to buy. It’s not about price – it’s about personal branding.