The art of understanding and influencing ‘buying behavior’

People buy for their reasons, not yours. Find out theirs first.
This commandment could also read, People don’t like to be sold, but they LOVE to buy. The nuance of sales (that most people COMPLETELY overlook) is finding out WHY people buy. “Why they buy” is more valuable than “how to sell.” Establishing their “why” is the basis of determining their true need(s). Their buying motive (their reasons for buying) is one billion times more important to the sale than your selling skills. Know “what you sell” in terms of the customer’s need to buy — not in terms of your need to sell. They want to know how they can produce,profit, and succeed — not a bunch of crap about you.

People don’t care what you do, unless they perceive it helps them. The way you explain your business and product determines the buying interest you create — say it in terms of the prospect, not in terms of you.

The best part about finding your customer’s “reasons for buying” is that it will completely differentiate you from all your competitors trying to SELL.
Below are some points to consider as you seek to discover the insight that will create both urgency and orders. Here’s why they buy:

Their MOTIVE for buying will get you to the heart of the sale and their desire to take action. You determine motive by asking questions about past history, experience, wisdom, ownership, and use.

Their STORY will begin to unfold as you ask motive-based questions. When you ask about their experience, a story will follow. Their story will contain major clues about likes and dislikes and how to establish a real relationship.

Their PAST EXPERIENCES will lead to stories both good and bad. Your job is to listen with the intent to understand, never interrupt, and at the end of the story ask more questions. The more questions you ask, the more information you will uncover about the next two motives.

Their EXPERTISE has been acquired from their past experience. Your job is to find out how much of an expert they are so that you don’t look like a fool trying to be an expert if the customer is more of an expert that you are.

Their WISDOM is the final frontier of your questioning about their movies and their past experiences. Asking them what they’ve learned and asking them how they applied their knowledge will lead you to their wisdom.When you can get to wisdom, it means you have established rock-solid rapport.

Their NEED will also tell you their urgency to buy, if you’re able to uncover how they will use and profit from what it is you’re selling as opposed to what they’re currently doing, or what they’re currently using.

Their WANT is the emotional part of the selling process. The more they want it, the more they’ll find a way to own it (just like you).

Their DESIRE TO OWN is similar to their need, but has more pride attached to it. The pride of ownership. Everyone wants to own the best. Not everyone is willing to pay for the best. The salesperson creates the difference.

Their DESIRE TO WIN enhances the emotion of wanting and needing if the customer believes they will gain a competitive advantage from buying your product or service.

Their DESIRE TO SOLVE OR RESOLVE present problems or situations in their company will also be a prime factor in purchasing urgency. The more they believe you are some form of salvation, the faster they will purchase.

Their DESIRE TO RECOVER is similar to solve or resolve but takes a longer time to decide. Recovery means some damage has been done, either physical, economic, or both. And even though they want to rebuild, their steps will be more cautious.

Their PASSION is their highest form of emotion. Sales are made emotionally then justified logically. The more you can uncover their passion, the more they will be willing to share their passion, and the more likely the sale will be made. Especially if they see that you are also a person of passion(belief).

Their FEAR is close to their passion. Fear of loss is greater than desire to gain. Yes, they want to beat the competition, but greater than that is their fear of losing to the competition. Once you understand this motive, you can proceed to greed…

Their GREED is loosely defined as their mental process of thinking about how much they will win by owning what you’re selling. As you’re talking,prospects are often doing what is known as “mental math,” or figuring out their profit in advance. I always try to let customers calculate their own numbers. Much more powerful.

Their VANITY is important to them, even though it means pretty much nothing to you. When you try something on in a store, you Jook yourself in the mirror and have a thought about how you appear.But when the clerk comes over and says, “You look GREAT in that!” immediately your vanity kicks in and you “hafta have it.”

Their DESIRE TO IMPRESS carries the same weight as their vanity. Loosely referred to as “keeping up with the Joneses,” it’s also expressed in some form of “mine is bigger than yours” or “mine is better than yours.” I often think that India should be described as “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and my house is bigger than your house.”

Their PEACE OF MIND normally comes from knowing they have what they want, even though they might not use it at this moment in time. Insurance is probably the best example of that. Investments may be a close second. The bottom line is the more peace of mind you can provide, the more likely you will be to convert your selling to their buying.

Their DESIRED OUTCOME is a critical element, maybe the critical element in their decision-making process. What do they believe will happen AFTER they take ownership? How will they produce? How will they benefit? How will they profit? Are they certain they will achieve their objectives? Are they confident in you providing the product or service that they’re hoping for. NOTE WELL: If you get to a point where you have to sell, don’t talk features and benefits; talk outcomes.

Their UNSPOKEN RISK is their hesitancy in moving forward. Whenever someone asks me how to create buyer urgency, I tell him or her to remove the risk that the buyer perceives but is not telling you. Those factors need to be explored with questions that normally begin with the word why.

Their REASONS WHY must be uncovered in order for you to get past risk. Why will they? Why won’t they? Why are they hesitating? Why are they not telling me everything? The more “why” you can uncover, the more risk you can remove and the more you will get down to the real reason. Try to find more gentle ways of asking why. For example, “What makes you…# rather than “Why do you…”

ACTION: Take the list you have just read and see how many of the items you can relate to you and your selling situation. Then put the best ones into action starting with your next call or appointment, See what motives you can uncover.



A marketing consultant trying to write on subjects ranging from persona; finance to child psychology. As founder of Marketing Realm, I help businesses grow.

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Adil Zafar

A marketing consultant trying to write on subjects ranging from persona; finance to child psychology. As founder of Marketing Realm, I help businesses grow.