Memory Lane Hints & Tips – What makes people buy? Icebergs!!

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Following on from the previous post linked to face-to-face selling – “What makes a sales person?” – some snippets from past sales manuals regarding “What makes people buy?”

The Primary & Secondary Motives’ Iceberg 

One thing is certain – every customer can appear to react differently when it comes to buying, but studies show buyers’ reactions have more in common than most would think. For example, there is the approach that buyers involve themselves in one of/or a combination of: Primary Motives and Secondary Motives.

Primary Motives are the sub-conscious ones, which are often emotional driving factors such as ambition, desire, fear but they are difficult to identify as many (perhaps most) people do not/cannot openly express these motives. It could be argued that these are the customers’ “want drivers”  as opposed to “need drivers” when it come to making a buying decision. Yet, these Primary Motives can represent up to 90% of the drive that makes customers buy. An example that shows ambition, desire, fear (a pretty crass one admittedly), but one that hopefully gets across the point, “the keeping up with the Jones’s syndrome” —— ” Joe Bloggs wants to own a home, it has to be a house not a flat and it must be in a posh area otherwise his friends and colleagues will think he can’t afford the same as them”. Other factors could be added to the emotional driver list – for example, wanting…. to be liked…. to do the right please……to avoid change…or they like/dislike the seller based on halo/stereo type/mirror effects. If it is acknowledged that these motives are sub-conscious, then no wonder it’s difficult for buyers to express them (these motives could even, on occasion, pop into the buyer’s consciousness, put on hold there in denial mode and then suppressed, back into the subconscious); these Primary Motives become internalised, part of the buyer’s make-up and there could be 100s of reasons for this (Nature/Nurture…a whole new debate!!).

Maybe this statement  summarises the Primary Motives section – “Selling to buyers, a sales person needs to be aware that buyers’ objections to a sales proposal are not always logical in the commercial sense, but very logical in the personal sense.” A sales person should assume that most buyers are normal just like the rest of us and will have Primary Motives lurking in the background – a good sales person should be able to spot an illogical commercial objection and presume that the next stage would be to expose/establish the potential logical personal objection – not an easy task, but one that can be done with the right skill set ….this will be discussed in later Hints & Tips

Secondary Motives are much easier to acknowledge, express, identify and understand by both the buyer and seller. It could be argued that such motives are classed buyers’ “need drivers”. Let’s  call them a buyer’s Commercial Logic List. A buyer’s logic list could contain: product delivery, cost/profit parameters,  supplier reliability, seller-buyer relationship, distribution, supply chain, competition. etc…. a buyer’s objection to a proposal could be based on one or more of the logic list and normally the objection is voiced loud and clear (this could be construed by the seller as a buying signal…but that’s for another Hints & Tips day!) so the seller knows that a logical response is expected.

So that’s it then! Easy! Well not so easy. The easy bit is understanding that buyers have different motives that spur them on to say “YES” to a seller’s proposal. Regarding PRIMARY & SECONDARY motives the latter is arguably the easy bit – the logic list. The hard bit is to discover, when you think you have covered all the commercially logical objections, what other equally real, but personal objections are based on the buyer’s Primary motives……in other words the Primary & Secondary Iceberg …the logic bit of the iceberg is often clear but it’s the hidden motives, the sub-conscious ambitions, desires, fears and the multitude of other potential emotional drivers that can influence a buyer’s decision to say YES or NO to a seller’s proposal.





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