Men traditionally shop less frequently than women, and when they do shop, it is often to replace existing items, or to address a new need. In the case of menswear, for example, it is most often to replace existing items in order to refresh their closet.

While this varies per customer, in the menswear industry there are five primary motivations for a man to buy: fit, style, selection, quality and service.

There is, of course, one other factor, namely price, but this is typically taken into consideration as it relates to the other items. Price is a function of determining value, and is not typically a singular motivator to buy. Men will buy if they believe something is of good value, and value is derived from the benefits they receive from a product, less the price. If, in his mind, an item provides value of $1000 and the price is $900, then the price is justified and the product is a good value. On the other hand, if the same item is viewed as providing only $800 of value, then the price is too high, and the product is viewed as not being of good value.

If we were to translate this concept into a simple formula, we arrive at the following:

Value = Benefits – Price

If this is the case, then there are two ways to increase the value of a product. The first is to lower the price and the second is to increase the benefits, or at least the perceived benefits. So, if a customer’s primary focus is on style, it is imperative that style becomes a main talking point. Discussions that highlight other areas of potential interest, for example, mentioning the style in addition to the fit and quality, will increase the perceived benefits.

As a final note, it is important to understand that men do not buy features. In my many years selling custom clothing, I often had sales people who focused on horn buttons, silk threads, Bemberg linings, and the like. While it is good to discuss these items in describing quality, it is critical that you don’t stop with the feature alone. You must then describe the advantage and ultimate benefit to the customer, because it is this benefit, rather than the feature, that is ultimately what the customer buys. Benefits like looking good, feeling more comfortable and attracting others are what product presentation is all about. Benefit selling can, in fact, build a price objection, as expensive sounding features with no defined benefit simply sound like unneeded extras.

Feature Photo Source: Terry Leekovsky