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Why Do We Buy?

If you understand the triggers that make people buy then you can sell more. And you can find more eager customers. Our emotions trigger us to buy. Don’t make the mistake thinking that people buy what they need. People buy what they want. Needs are driven by logic while wants are driven by emotions.

We buy what we want. Don’t believe me? Who needs a SUV? What teenager really needs a cell phone or $150 running shoes? Who needs your product? People buy because they want it. Everyday we buy things we want instead of things we need.

Don’t mistake your market for “everyone who needs your product”. You will waste time and money trying to convince people who need your product to want it. The best target market for you is people who want your product. They may or may not need it. As long as they want it they might buy it from you. Consider what you bought lately that you did not need but you wanted.

Think about who should join a fitness club. Everyone who needs to be fit – especially those who are not fit. Right? But visit a fitness club and what do you find? Fit people who want to be fit. Who invests their money for the future? Not people who need to save for the future – but people who want to save for the future.

You might feel that you need a glass of wine, a shot of scotch or a beer at the end of a tough day – but the reality is that you want it. We all need to eat – but no one needs a Sirloin steak, deep-dish pizza or Black Forest cake. We eat those things because we want them.

Our needs are logical and matter of fact. As humans we have physical and emotional needs. How we satisfy those needs are directed by the urgency of the need and our wants.

Our wants are directed by our emotions. Here are five of our strongest emotions that control much of the choices we make. If you understand the emotional reasons why your customers buy from you then you can begin to trigger these emotions in your prospects and customers.

Love What do your customers love? It might include their partner, family, pets, business, career, culture, hobbies, books, personal time etc. Do they buy from you for one of these loves? If so how can you recognize and encourage others with the same love?

Love is a powerful emotion. We do strange things when in love and in the name of love. People will shower their loved ones with beautiful and expensive gifts. They might compose songs, poetry or endure great hardships – all in the name of love. How many songs do you know about love? People do even stranger things in the love of a pet. The love of a hobby, art form or culture can motivate spending huge amounts of money to acquire, nourish and enjoy that love.

Pride If pride is considered a sin – then that would make sinners of us all. I am proud that my book, “Secrets of Power Marketing”, became a national bestseller. I am proud of my radio show, “Business in Motion”. I am proud of my grandparents who immigrated to Canada after the Second World War. They arrived with no money yet learned a new language, and lived a productive life. I am proud to be Canadian. Why does your neighbor buy a bigger screen TV than yours? How did you feel when you first drove home with that new car? Who and what are you proud of? And what would you do to show and protect that pride?

Guilt Often it may be hard to know the real reason someone bought something new, invested money or gave a gift. Was it love or guilt? I wonder, “Is guilt the real driver behind the spending for Christmas, Valentines and Mothers’ Day?”

Can the guilt of not buying motivate your prospect into buying? Can you use guilt to up sell? Did door-to-door salespeople sell encyclopedias and vacuums using guilt? Is it love or guilt that goes through one’s mind while making funeral arrangements for a departed loved one? And don’t kids do a number on their parents with the guilt trip? Are you guilty of not tapping into your prospects’ emotions – and missing sales?

Fear This may be our most powerful driver. It is likely this emotion more than any other has helped humanity to survive. We learned to fear wild beasts, fire, and aggressive barbarians.

What fear might motivate your prospect to buy from you? Will not buying expose them to risk, missed opportunities or embarrassment? Many professional buyers operate on the fear principle. It is not that they want to make the right decision. They fear the consequence of making the wrong decision. How can you use or diminish that fear to make them buy from you? Why is it that people who know they need to get fit suddenly change their diet and start exercising after their first heart attack? The fear of dying makes them want to be fit.

Greed “Greed is Good.” according to Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. That line may have shocked viewers. Then consider this, “Sell to the Greedy, not the needy”. The greedy want more and they will pay for it. The needy may be needy because they don’t really want it badly enough.

Conclusion Why do we buy? We buy because of emotional wants. You will be more successful when you market and sell to the wants of your prospects.

George Torok