Risk and Reward

We are in the process of implementing a neighborhood watch where I live in northern Bucks County, PA. We had our first meeting to discuss the process and by coincidence my step-daughter, Lisa, was visiting from New Jersey and sat in on the meeting that was held in our home.

The day after the meeting she asked me why it was so difficult to get people to participate (even when they say they will). It seemed like a “no brainer” to her. You want to have a safe neighborhood where you live and you can also form social relationships. “What’s the problem?” is what she asked.

The problem is that the community is very new and everyone has moved into it from other areas. Many came for the schools, some to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, others for jobs. I told Lisa that I think the problem is that besides living in the same neighborhood, nobody knows if they have anything in common. Joining a tribe and taking a stand, (which is what we are asking of them) means giving up some of their anonymity. It means taking a risk. It means investing time. It means breaking with the status quo.

These are the same thoughts that go through your clients and customers minds when you are trying to sell them your products and services. These are some of the questions a good marketer must also answer when designing a marketing program.

Everyone wants to know if the reward they will receive from buying your service or product (or joining a neighborhood watch) is greater than the price they will have to pay. You need to provide your customers with enough rewards to be more important than both the real and perceived investment you are asking them to make.

In the case of our neighborhood watch, we need to show our other neighbors that the rewards of a safe, crime and drug free neighborhood where people look out for one another is worth the investment of their time and the fear of ‘getting involved.”

What about your clients? Will they have to change companies to buy from you? Will they being paying more for your product or service? What if you don’t deliver on your promises? Should they take a risk on a new, small company? Maybe they like you but worry what will happen if you leave the company. Isn’t it just easier to maintain the status quo – even if it isn’t really the best thing to do? At least they won’t get fired for making the wrong decision.

Just what are you asking people to do when they buy from you? Can you provide enough rewards to outweigh the risk? Do you?

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