Motivations For Buying

Every sales person needs to know what motivates people to buy. Therefore it is worth exploring this subject in detail.

Think about something you purchased recently. Why did you buy it? You brought it because you either needed or you wanted it. But why do we need or want things? Consider for a moment the motives for buying a car which is one of the most expensive forms of transport, yet most people have one, why? Because they need one, but why? Because owning a car provides you with the following benefits:

It saves you time. It is arguably one of the quickest modes of transport, especially if the alternative is waiting for public transport.

It gives you much greater flexibility. You can start your journey at a time convenient to you and do not have to plan ahead or be bound by timetables.

It is more comfortable. You can adjust the seating and heating to suit your taste.

It is also more enjoyable. You can listen to your choice of music and share the journey with people you want to be with rather than strangers.

Many sales people have a company car because their organisations view it as a good investment. Providing a company car allows the sales person to be more productive. A company could save money by giving their sales people a bus pass, but the benefits of a car far outweigh the cost savings.

Therefore, people buy things because they need or want them. But the reason they need or want them is because the things they buy provide them with benefits.

There are 6 key reasons why people buy:

Savings or financial gain
A saving or financial gain is often the most powerful motive to buy. An example of this motivation in action is the purchase of energy efficient light bulbs. They may actually cost more than other types of light bulb. But over the lifetime of the product, they will save money on your energy bills. In business saving time is also an important motivator; after all time is money, especially where staff wage bills are concerned! Therefore any solution that saves a business time potentially also saves money. An example might be a more powerful vacuum cleaner for a cleaning company. It could reduce the time the cleaning operatives take to vacuum a customer’s offices so reducing labour costs for the cleaning company. This could potentially represent significant savings over the lifetime of the vacuum cleaner, even if the initial purchase price is higher than a less powerful alternative.

Image and ego are powerful motivators, especially for those who are image conscious. A good example of this is the clothes that we buy. We are usually motivated to replace clothes before they are completely worn out because we are concerned about our image. This could be for social or professional reasons. For example, we may want portray the right image in the work place. Ego also plays a part. Many people are motivated to buy things that make others view them in a positive light. Fashions are often developed through this motivator, as we want to wear, for example, designer clothes that others admire.

In the business world, image is important to almost all companies. Many organisations spend vast amounts to ensure they have a positive image. This is because we, their customers, feel happier buying from a company that has a good image. In many cases we are happy to pay more to companies with a particularly good image. Examples are premium car manufacturers and designer clothing brands.

The next key reason people buy is to satisfy their health and well-being motivations. This is one of two motivators that are known as “negative motivators.” We are motivated to reduce or remove the negative effects of, for example, poor health and we are driven to achieve well being for the longest possible period. This motivator makes us want to eat healthy foods, do exercise, take vitamins, give up smoking, and be careful about how much alcohol we drink. As with all of the motivators, health and well being can be more important to some people than others. We probably all know people who are more health conscious and others less so. Some people are not health conscious at all, and these people would not be motivated to buy something with health benefits. In business, health is important motivational factor. Employee welfare is now high on the agenda for many organisations. Legislation has also had a big impact in influencing this motive. This motive also has wider connections with the environmental issues and the potential impact on our health.

Safety and security is the other of the two negative motivators. We are motivated to reduce or remove the negative effects caused by a lack of safety and security. Generally speaking, the more we have or we own, the more we feel we have to lose, and the more we want to protect ourselves against potential loses. Take for example a successful business that owns a factory with expensive machinery that it uses to manufacture its products. This company will be highly motivated to protect their machinery. They will be concerned about any loss or damage that would lead to them not being able to manufacture their products. This would be especially true if they had loyal customers that they did not want to lose. A solution to protect them against this risk will be very appealing to them. It will provide the benefit of peace of mind and less worry through increased safety and security. As the saying goes “what price is peace of mind” We are prepared to pay to gain peace of mind. It is worth noting that it is a negative motivator, therefore people do not necessarily feel positive or happy by satisfying this motive. It simply removes the potential negative effects. A good example of this is house insurance. You may not exactly feel euphoric when you buy it, however at least you won’t have to worry about the problems you would face if your house or its contents were to be seriously damaged. In summary improving safety and security removes potential negative effects, which leads to peace of mind and less worry.

Think for a moment about your main motive for eating. Yes we all need to eat to survive, but the main driver for us to eat, most of the time, is to satisfy our feelings of hunger. If we do not eat for a long time, the hunger becomes uncomfortable. Therefore we eat to satisfy our hunger and to feel more comfortable. Our bodies, of course, make us feel hungry so that we are motivated to find food.
Other examples of purchases for comfort are warm clothes, central heating, comfortable chairs, shoes that fit well.

The last key reason why people buy is for pleasure and happiness. We buy many things to make us happy. It could be for our favourite hobby and interest, such as a new set of golf clubs. It could also be that we buy to increase the enjoyment of an existing hobby, such as a new television.

Sometimes multiple motivators are evident at the same time. For example you might buy a new TV to increase enjoyment. However you might choose a brand that you know well, even though it costs a little more than a cheaper alternative. This is because in addition satisfying your pleasure and happiness motivations, you also want to make sound investment, which is a safe choice, and so makes you feel more secure in your decision.

The pleasure and happiness motivator also includes the people factor. We are more likely to buy from someone that we like and with whom we have a good relationship because it is more enjoyable for us to deal with this person. In selling it is important to build relationships and ensure that your customers have a pleasant experience when dealing with you.

Understanding what motivates customers to buy is one essential element to success for salespeople. Further knowledge and skills can be developed on a sales training course.