Inside the Buyer’s Brain: A Book Review
Hinge, a marketing firm focusing on the professional services industry, has developed a reputation for producing thought-provoking marketing books based on their own research. So when we got the news that their new book, Inside the Buyer’s Brain, was available, we were excited to give it a read. Here’s what to expect:
Book: Inside the Buyer’s Brain: How to Turn Buyers into Believers
Authors: Lee W, Frederiksen, Ph.D., Elizabeth Harr, Sylvia Montgomery, CPSM, and Aaron E. Taylor
Published by: Hinge Research Institute
Best for: B2B firms, professional services companies, marketing firms
Summary: In their latest book, the Hinge team focuses on the relationship between buyers and sellers of professional services, helping sellers identify where the gaps lie and how they can close more business. Hinge based the book on interviews with over 1,300 buyers and sellers of professional services.
What I liked
It’s obvious that research is at the heart of this book, and the Hinge team makes the data easy to understand with lots of graphs, charts, and infographics.
Hinge has a knack for taking a topic that could easily be dry or academic and making it fun and readable. Inside the Buyer’s Brain uses the same light, sometimes irreverent tone that made their other books so popular, while not skimping on the hard facts. Interspersing the written content with lists, infographics, and case studies, the writers do a good job keeping the reader interested and making it easy to digest the information. One of my favorites: at the end of each chapter, there is a box summarizing the “Key Takeaways”—nuggets of wisdom that you can walk away with.
Inside the Buyer’s Brain offers visually compelling graphics that make the book fun to read. Along with colorful graphs and charts, Hinge has added alluring, eye-catching pictures that demonstrate the skill of their graphic design team.
What I learned
- 1. Sellers truly do not understand their buyers!
I knew that there would probably be a perception gap between buyers and sellers on certain issues. But I had no idea it would be so large! For example, for one part of their survey, Hinge asked buyers to state their top business challenges. Then sellers were asked the same question. In all categories except technology, sellers badly underestimated buyers’ most important business challenges.
Hinge highlighted a problem: sellers misunderstand buyers’ needs. This underlying problem has profound implications for many other aspects of a firm’s business, including creating relevant service offerings, communicating value to prospects and clients, and expanding relationships with current clients.
2.Most professional services firms are not well known
Hinge’s research demonstrates that, while many firms offer quality services that tend to bring back repeat clients, the firms are not well known outside their circle of clients. The chart below illustrates this problem: while nearly 60% of all buyers gave their vendors high marks for reputation, only about 23% of buyers thought that their vendors were well known. The Hinge team shows how this gap presents a huge opportunity for firms to move ahead of the competition by clearly demonstrating their value and message, and then goes on to offer techniques for making that happen.
- 3. Winning firms do things differently
One of the most interesting takeaways from the book is a comparison, on page 66, between the behaviors of winning firms (those firms that successfully closed the deal) and runner-up firms (those firms that almost closed the deal but then ended up not getting chosen). For example, winning firms ranked a certain behavior—educating prospects with new ideas or perspectives—very high in their process of attracting new business, while runner-up firms ranked that same behavior low on their list of priorities. Hinge ties it all together with a neat infographic, and offers strategies for changing your marketing model.
There are plenty more golden nuggets of knowledge in this book, but it’s impossible to cover all of it in a single book review. As Hinge says, “if you are a professional services firm executive interested in growing your business, entering new markets, or introducing a new service, you need to get inside the minds of your clients and look at your firm from their perspective.” If you fit that category, Inside the Buyer’s Brain should be recommended reading.