Motivate Customers through Incentives

The best move you can make in negotiation is to think of an incentive the other person hasn’t even thought of – and then meet it.” – Eli Broad

In an already crunched economy, it would seem rather far-fetched that a company would need to motivate customers through incentives or any other means. However, given that customers still have so many choices – companies and offerings – they do not need to stick with a single company. Based on this, customers are not easily convinced to make buying decisions and that is why companies must motivate customers in whatever way possible – incentives included. Apparently, research and studies prove, that one of the best ways to motivate customers is through incentives or rewards for their business. Providing incentives to customers whenever they make significant spends is actually a science – positive reinforcement, that gets them to repeat their action because they are encouraged to do so. The more number of times a company can do this, the stronger would the lure to spend with them become in the minds of customers.

Companies can motivate customers through incentives because it enhances the pleasure they feel from buying and exceeds their goals and expectations from the particular purchase. For a company this translates to increase in sales, repeat business and even happy customers motivating others to buy from them. Hence, when you motivate customers through incentives, you do not just encourage the current one, you also entice them into bringing others in. When using incentives to motivate customers, your company would incur some costs but if the incentives are thought about well, you could end up gaining a lot more than the initial investment of money and time. Does your company offer incentives to motivate customers? If yes, what kind and what is the process you follow? Have you been successful in keeping customers and attracting new ones? Answer these questions for your own company to understand whether you are doing well or the process requires improvement.

When trying to motivate customers through incentives ensure that whatever you offer has some connection to the actual offerings of your company. The idea is to encourage people to buy your company’s products through those incentives. Careful planning and a structured thought process is required to link the incentives to the company’s offerings. Ensure that the incentives are useful and impactful enough to affect the customer’s buying decision in favour of your company’s products and or services. The incentives must portray value that complements the company’s offerings – rather than being a stand-alone ‘gifts’ to which a customer attaches no importance. For example – offering free maintenance for some months on the purchase of a new care is a great incentive and motivator for a customer reluctant to buy new car.

When customers need to make a buying decision, this decision would be made not by one person but a group of people. Hence, when trying to motivate customers, ensure that the incentives used, appeal to the ‘deciding group’ rather than just one person – making it easier for the lead person to convince others of the usefulness of the buy.

As a company, you may believe that the incentives offered would attract people right away. However, this may not be true. Trying to push incentives at people only making enquiries about products would be viewed as a desperate attempt to sell and could push them away. In order to use incentives right and actually motivate customers to buy, ensure that your company first portrays an understanding of the customer’s requirement. When the customer is almost certain that your company’s products would help, motivate them to take the buying decision by offering them incentives that would further enhance the value they perceive from your products. You can motivate customers through incentives when you portray the incentives as a means to add value to the customer rather than as a way to push a sale.

Ensure that the incentives offered are simple to understand and use. If customers are unable to understand why the additional something offered is an incentive, how would they be motivated to buy. Complex and hard to understand incentives and ‘special offers’ would make customers believe that the company is trying to con them into buying without really offering any added benefit. With so much competition, every company is fighting a ‘battle’ in trying to attract and retain customers and in the bargain customers receive all kinds of offers and from all directions. With so many offers, customers can become confused, and if the incentives offered by your company are tough to understand, the customers might well choose another company to buy from and get incentives that they can understand and use.

Every company in a bid to motivate customers makes promises and incentives should form a large of these promises. This means that the incentives should seek to deliver on the promises made by the company – over and above the actual products and customer service provided by the company. The incentives must reiterate the company’s commitment on doing what they say they will. By keeping promises and restating commitment, a company does not only motivate customers to buy but also gains their trust at a very early stage in the association – extremely crucial to ensure loyalty and long-term profitability.

Another rather important reason to use incentives to motivate customers is to alleviate some of their fears and apprehensions. When investing money and time required for a first time purchase, customers would naturally feel like they are taking a risk. When a company adds something of value and use to their purchase, it helps to lessen that feeling and therefore increases the customer’s willingness to provide repeat business and maybe even encourage others to buy from you. The premise of serving customers is that a company can make life easier for them by whatever means possible, thereby gaining revenue and profit for your company. Therefore, incentives do not only motivate customers but also support your company’s goals of increasing profitability.

Every company must motivate customers through incentives – this is probably a given. However, the kind of incentives, their frequency and customer groups would determine which customer receives what incentive. Incentives work better when customized to suit the customers rather than providing the same incentives to all. Ensure that whatever incentives you offer, they must help the customer to justify even a large spend and put them at ease. The incentives must complement the products or service that the customer seeks to buy in order to enhance the value they perceive in making their expense. Many companies offer trial periods that make it easier for a customer to finally decide on the product or service. These trial periods are free of encumbrances and during or end of the trial period if a customer does not perceive value in the product they are free to return it without any hassle. This is a great way to assure the customer of the company’s commitment to their needs without putting any pressure on them to buy a product without understanding its efficacy.

Just like with anything connected to your customers, the best ideas and suggestions for incentives would also come from the customers. It is important therefore that a company listens to their suggestions and incorporates them, raising the efficacy of the incentives making them work better to motivate custome

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