The Only 4 Reasons Why People Buy.

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Quite simply there are only 4 reasons why anyone buys anything. All driven by emotion as you can read in my earlier blog “The Neuroscience of selling”.

What are they?
ConvenientRelationshipOne of a kindPrice
Let’s have a look at each of those….
It’s probably the most overlooked… We all buy things everyday because someone makes it easy to do so. The best example being Amazon, good value but often not the cheapest and definitely not unique products but in two clicks of a smart phone you can have what you want delivered the next day. In my opinion a lot of businesses overlook the value in making themselves “easy to do business with” and will spend £1000’s on all sorts of clever strategies but if they just made their product easier to buy they would generate more sales with some simple fixes.
When you are convenient, price becomes less of an issue too. How many people will pay a small premium to get something quickly or to be able to procure something in less time. How many of us will pay a premium for a pint of milk or loaf of bread because the small local shop is easier….
We will discard convenience and price if we have a relationship that’s strong enough to make us want to deal with the person we like. Everyone has things they buy from certain places because they like the person or the place and have a sense of responsibility back to them. I personally always feel compelled to help local businesses especially those that are owned by friends. Even though I know I will pay a small premium the added value of knowing where that money is going is money well invested to me. Like paying a persons mortgage or for a school uniform and generally giving someone a living is a genuine reason for me to buy from some people. Its a two way relationship though, I also know I will get excellent service from that person too.
One of a kind
It’s simple really…. We will forgo cheap, convenience and relationship if something is truly one of a kind. One of a kind cars, art, technology, ornament, furniture and even unique food and drink. One of a kind doesn’t have to always be a product though, it can be an experience too. Some restaurants, holiday locations or special experiences will sell themselves on nothing other than being one of a kind. Most people that market themselves to the super rich will do so under the “One of a kind” banner.
Let’s be honest, sometimes if it’s a commodity that you can buy from anywhere and you have no reason to buy from someone you have a relationship with then guess what….. It’s going to be bought on price! Some people are more price driven than others and that can vary from product to product and person to person. Some people will drive for miles past endless fuel stations until they get to one that’s 1p a litre cheaper than the first one they past 8 miles ago. It’s almost irrational, risking running out of fuel to fill your 40-litre tank at a saving of 1p per litre but it’s a commodity and most people do it. I personally don’t, I almost always go to my local garage because it’s convenient and I know the people who work there so I have a relationship too.
Combinations are killer!
Some of the reasons can double up, just like my fuel station example where it’s a combo of convenience and relationship. It’s probably more relationship because it’s like a scene out of “Cheers” when I go in but I rationalise it with the fact that it’s very close to my house too.
One of a kind is the most stand-alone reason but even this can be aided by relationship. Relationship seems to win the most battles but there is a big war in the “Price” world for commoditised items where the sellers are not able to build a relationship with you or make it easier than the competition to buy your product or service.
Certain combinations don’t go together or should I say don’t need to. If what you have is one of a kind then you don’t need to compete on price but don’t underestimate the value of convenience, it still needs to be easy to buy. Remove the blockers! If you sell a commodity you can go toe to toe on price with everyone else or you can do one of two things: Make it easier to buy or invest in building a relationship. You may be surprised that people will pay a small premium if you do either or both of those.
In summary…..
There can be a mix of reasons but certain combinations don’t go or need to go together. The best thing to do is have a look at the things you buy every day:
Why did you choose that product?
Why did you buy it from the place that you did?
If you sell a product or service ask yourself if people really buy it for the reasons you want them to.
Be aware of why people buy from you. Focus on your strengths and double up on that but be aware that if you can tick one of the other boxes you may be on the verge of creating yourself a lot more custom. You can dive deeper and get to the bottom of why the customers motivation is what it is and challenge that. Each of these reasons is still driven by our emotional brain and depending on the product, how we feel about it and the circumstance we are in we will prioritise one of the four reasons.
As a salesperson or as a business person selling a product or service a basic part of your qualification process should be to establish the main driver behind the customers purchase. If you do this, you then have a choice to either adjust your offer or qualify the customer out as a potential buyer and accept that regardless of how much more you put in you will likely not win the sale. By doing this and being honest with your customer you can use it as an opportunity to build the relationship if that is of value to you which in most cases it is and should be. You will be surprised, you might lose the sale but they may still recommend you if someone in their network is buying but for different reasons.
Happy selling.
Chief Geek @ Sales Geek