What makes a customer buy into a new idea (or a product)?


The answer is – solving an immediate, known pain-point for the customer.

This is all about the connection between pain point of a customer and the solution that your idea or product offers to solve it.

The psychology behind the human pain

At the most basic level, people typically spend money on two things:

  • First, they readily spend money to combat pain.
  • Second, they spend money to pursue pleasure.

Pain and pleasure, are listed in that order for a reason. All things being equal, the acuter the pain or problem, the more likely it is that customer will pay to buy a solution.

Unless you solve one of the top problems your target customer is experiencing you’re scre*ed!

From an entrepreneur’s perspective, this means that it’s often better to be in a “pain business” than a “pleasure business.” There is simply more staying power in pain-solving businesses.

Painkillers, Vitamins, Oxygen Or Vaccines: Which One Is Your Product?

Painkiller products:  Two words…  “MUST HAVES”, yep, these type of products fall under the essentials category.  And another common characteristic of them is that they provide an almost immediate relief.

Vitamin products: The main alternative to painkiller-products?  Vitamins (aka “as nice to have”).  Said differently, this kind of products are not bought out of sheer necessity but rather because of a desire to fulfill some non-critical individual preferences.  Such examples could be things like jewelry, watches, productivity tools, dating apps, etc.

Vaccine products: Which as you might imagine are goods with strong preventive nature such as insurance products or health check-ups.

Oxygen products: Not hard to guess what’s that about, right?  That’s correct. Are products that, as ‘the experts’ put it, “you can NOT live without”…  Insulin (for diabetics), revenues (for companies), or air-conditioning (for ‘Middle Eastern people’ during summer) could be some examples here.

Why do users pay?

All (or most) money made by a business, by fair means, comes from real users.  Users only pay for something that solves a problem, they have, in a really good way.  It’s not enough to get users to pay once – for a business to really grow users has to pay again & again and they should spread the word about you. The only way to accomplish this is to create a high-quality solution for a problem that’s important for users.  And, that’s possible only when you have a high-quality understanding about the pain point in the first place.

However, there is one more thing. Just because a problem is painful, urgent and on top of peoples’ minds don’t make it a winner.  Maybe the competition effectively addresses that problem and people are happy with what’s out there.  For many people, even painful and urgent problems don’t justify the decision to open up their wallet.

Implications for building solution

To create a high-quality solution,  you really need to care deeply about a problem. You should care so deeply that you want to solve it not only for yourself but for everyone in the world. You should care so much that “you get joy in your customer’s joy” and “you feel pain if your customer is in pain”. Without that connection, it won’t work.

Try to articulate the pain point that you want to solve in less than half a sentence. If you can articulate the pain point that you are solving, the more odds are that you will get to know more about it as you start working on it. Founders who need paragraphs to describe this demonstrate that they haven’t got this right yet.

To you want to take that test to see if know the pain of your customers?


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