Why Buyers Buy – Or Not
What motivates a buyer to buy?
When you approach a prospective customer, he wonders what you have and what you want of his busy working day. He is more interested in what you can do for him, at first, and, if this is interesting enough, your name and company assume importance because it tells him who is going to do it for him.
Selling is not a battle of wits and those who approach it as such usually are the losers. The true salesman recognises basic fundamentals and buying motives and uses them logically to give his presentation all the power he can muster. When selling to a retailer your appeals to buying motives must be directed through him to his customers. A retailer wants what his customers wants plus a fair measure of profit. Thus your approach will be aimed in a slightly different manner to show him what it will do for his business and how and why it will appeal to his customers. Selling to retailers is on a more personal basis, as you call on the same man with some regularity and know his habits, his preferences. But if you want to increase your share of his business, or approach a new customer, sell to him, do not just tell him, and hope for the best. The hardest distance for your goods to travel is from his shelf to the other side of the counter. Constantly give him help and guidance in appealing to his customers’ buying motives.
Value – Profit or Economy
To most of us these means much the same thing. We can profit by making economies or we can improve economy through greater profits. Depending upon your product you must decide which aspect will appeal more to your type of customer. A retailer is more likely to be interested in profit through greater discount, or he could profit through more economical or balanced stocks. An accountant may be more motivated by the word economy, as usually it is his task to save money. He saves money to ensure increased profit but thinks more of saving money than making it.
Design or Appearance
The value of design or appearance is far more important than we tend to think. People who buy houses, cars, furniture and appliances on appearance or design are buying with their eyes. Whenever possible appeal to the eye with a visual presentation or paint the picture in your customer’s mind with words.
Comfort or Convenience
Does a furniture salesman sell just the wood, springs and covering? No! He sells comfort. All of us gather about us those things that make life more comfortable or convenient. Look around your home and ask yourself how many things have to do just this for you. Refrigerators are more convenient than ice chests, radiators more than log fires. The list is endless.
Comfort and convenience apply to a man’s business life too. What you offer may give him convenience by removing a process or clerical problem that recurs at regular intervals. He has the mental comfort of dismissing the problem from his mind. Insurance has security, such as knowing money will be available at the time of retirement. You see many instances of comfort or convenience being the primary buying motive. Think about what you sell and weave this aspect of buying appeal into your story.
Take two rival cars, both of similar size, finish and price. One does twenty miles to the gallon, the other thirty. Which would you buy under these conditions? Performance can be the manner in which your product does its work; it can be the extra production it gives in a given time. Where practical, stress the value of performance in easily understood and demonstrable terms. For many products, performance is the feature above all else.
Safety or Security
Unit trusts, shares in large public companies are attractive because they offer gain and security. The risk is minimised and this appeals to all of us. Seat belts are sold for safety or security, so would you really be concerned with what their materials look like, if you were assured they would stand up to the stress of an accident? When your item has a safety or security factor highlight it, whether it be physical safety or mental security.
This is an important buying motive but its value is somewhat different. Your name or your company name can spell dependability. You business history with a client can give him this feeling about you or the lack of it. You have always done all you said you would, your company has unfailingly backed its products. So much of the value of dependability as a buying motive rests on you and your selling behaviour.
Those qualities you may feel are important in your proposition, may not necessarily be as important to the prospective customer. Your job is to dig out what is important to him and be able to convince him that what you offer has those qualities for which he is looking. How can you do this? Let him tell you why he will buy. Find out by careful questioning and listening. He could well call it turnover, where you think of the benefit as profit. They amount to the same things, so sell him increased turnover. Whatever he calls it, however he states his/her buying motive, sell it to him in his terms Perhaps Mr. Brown says: “I’ve heard this system gives trouble!” Sell him reliability, sell him service; quote other installations to verify your statements, but sell what he asked for, reliability.
No salesman achieves anything for himself or his company until a sale is made. You influence these decisions that lead to success or failure, so always remember that people buy for six basic reasons. This will become part of your selling strength.
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