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Should sales people be telepathic?

It would certainly help in developing a strategy for selling to a customer if you knew what they were thinking.

It would certainly make life easier, but despite us not being telepathic, there are 8 common reasons why customer buy anything.

1. Need

Need is probably the most obvious one. If a prospect has a problem that you can solve, they’re more likely to be interested in what you’re offering. But remember that there’s often a big difference between what people know that they want, and what they actually need. As Steve Jobs famously said “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” The same principle applies to needs. Prospects don’t always have a need until you inspire one.

So our job is to uncover as many needs as we can.

2. Acceptance

Acceptance occurs when prospects are interested in buying a product or service because everyone else around them seems to be buying it as well.

That’s why acceptance is what drives most fads. Certain products or services generate quick interest, and develop followings that grow and grow.

Prospects don’t want to miss out on a new trend, so they make a point of buying in and showing off. Acceptance is a powerful motive for salespeople to use, not least because it’s hard to avoid a trend when everyone else is following it.

3. Fear

Fear is can be an incredibly powerful motivation for action in many situations, and sales is no exception. No one wants to let problems they’re afraid of go unaddressed. That’s why so many companies lean on scare tactics — subtle or overt — to create urgency behind their messaging and sales efforts.

If not used well, using this approach an come across as unethical, but it can still be very effective. Just as you can highlight certain needs your prospect might not be considering, you can also raise fears they might be ignoring as well.

4. Health

Many consumers are interested in taking steps to protect their personal wellbeing, so if you can create the impression that your product or service will make them live better or longer, they’ll be inclined to learn more — at the very least.

In the B2B environment, we can also focus on mental well being. If we can help a prospect be less stressed, work fewer hours, or work more productively, it can have huge benefits for the customer.

5. Impulse

People don’t always give huge amounts of thought to things they buy. We’ve all bought things on impulse at some point.

A particularly compelling deal might work for you; promotional pricing strategies can often generate potential impulse buys.

Remember that acceptance and impulse can often go hand in hand as well. If buyers see their peers collectively embracing a product or service, they might be inclined to get on board without giving too much thought to whether they actually need what they’re buying.

6. Pleasure

Consumers don’t normally only buy the bare essentials. Sometimes, they buy things that aren’t in any way essential. People like to enjoy themselves, so sometimes they buy products and services that meet their wants, not their needs.

Only try to sell on this basis if you’re selling a product or service that’s a luxury.

7. Profit

Most B2B sales will, at least in part, be based on the idea that the customer is investing in something that will ultimately make them more money. They might want to improve their business operations, increase employee productivity, generate more revenue or reduce costs.

If you’re selling to a prospect with this motive, show — don’t tell. Use customer case studies or testimonials to prove your value.

Prospects motivated by profit are more likely to have more at stake than ones buying products to avoid missing out on a new trend. That’s why you have to convince them they’ll be in good hands if they invest in your product or service.

8. Aspiration

Some customers will buy based on aspirations for self-improvement.

Purchases like gym memberships and subscriptions to online courses generally aren’t made out of fear or the pursuit of pleasure — they’re the result of sincere ambition.

In the B2B world this might show itself through a desire to be successful, to enhance a career, to impress a boss; the key is to stress what they could be if they stay the course after their purchase.

Logical vs. Emotional Buying Motivations

It’s also essential to remember that people will make buying decision on two distinct levels; logical and emotional.

Buying decisions are most often a combination of both elements but typically lean towards one more than the other.

It’s essential that we take time to understand the underlying buying motives of our prospects. If you understand why they’re considering buying, you can better understand how to approach them.

There’s a reason for every purchase, so take time to find out what they might be.

If you’d like to explore this topic in more details, check out our Sales Training and Coaching programmes which cover this topic in more detail.

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