I have always been intrigued by the reasons people buy. When I first began selling, I was amazed at some of the reasons behind people's buying decisions. Often, I noticed, I clearly could have gotten the buyer a better deal and saved them money--but the buyer would instead decide on something more expensive and more complicated, and would end up purchasing something they never originally wanted. Where's the logic in that?!

I eventually reached the following conclusion: Buyers purchase for two simple reasons. Reason #1: Your product of service makes them feel good. Reason #2: It solves their problem.

If I could do both, I reasoned, the sale was guaranteed--and I'd have a customer for life. Keeping customers was never a problem, it was getting customers that was hard. But once I realized that the root of most buying decisions is based on an emotion, and has little to do with logic or reason, I acquired more customers.


Have a Coke® and a Smile

How true is my research? Take a minute and visualize your favorite TV commercial. Close your eyes and see the commercial in your mind. Now, let me ask you, does that commercial ever mention the price of the product? Does it ever tell you how it's packaged? Does it give you the price or where you can purchase it? No!

How are you supposed to buy, if you don't know how much it is or where you can get it? Most effective advertising doesn't address any of those questions!

Advertising based on logic rarely does as well as advertising based on an understanding of people's emotions, desires and needs. Consider how commercials make you feel. My favorite commercial was an old Coca-Cola TV ad with Mean Joe Green coming out of a locker room after a game with a little boy following him. He looks tired and beat--and the little boy looks up to him and hands him a Coke®. The commercial says absolutely nothing about the cola product--it just invokes good feelings--period! And of all the millions of minutes I've watched TV over the years, that's the one I still remember.


Find the Hot Button

If the root of buying is based on emotion, the key to selling is being able to find out the emotional wants and needs of your client. Finding and pushing someone's "hot button" will usually result in a sale. What are their interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes?

Analyze why your customer made the decision she did; write your conclusions down and remember them for the next sale. Chances are, they'll purchase that way again.

Here is a list of common types of emotional connections people may have with your product or service.


FEAR. People will buy for fear of "losing their hair," "bad breath," or showing up at their high school reunion 20 pounds overweight.

SAFETY. People want security--for their family, themselves and their possessions.

GREED. Some buyers want to believe that your product will make them rich or

BELONGING. Some people hate to feel like they are the only ones without something.

IDENTIFICATION. Some buyers like to be associated with a product name or service.

DOLLAR VALUE. Some people simply like to save money--if it's on sale, they buy it!

SUCCESS. Your product supports their success.

FRIENDSHIP. Some people will buy simply to have someone to talk to.

EASE. Does your product make people's life easier?

AVOIDING PAIN. Your product may solve your buyer's problem.

EXPRESSING LOVE. People buy things to show their affection.

BEING ORGANIZED. People buy things that simplify their lives.

EXCITEMENT. People are tired of being boring.

TRENDY. People know their friends will notice.

FEELING YOUNGER. Need I say more?

SAVING TIME. People are always looking to cut corners.

"I DESERVE IT." Buyers who need encouragement.

BEING INFORMED. Some people need the latest, most up-to-date.

CONVENIENCE. I've no time to get to the store--I want to order from my couch or computer.


IMAGE. I look good, I feel good.

IMPULSE. Quick fix for what's going on in my life.

POPULARITY. Everyone wants to feel included.

HAPPINESS. Buying makes people happy and successful.

HEALTH. Buying health products makes them feel healthy--whether they take them or not!

EXCELLENCE. Some people love being able to purchase expensive products.

CARETAKING. Some people will buy for others things they wouldn't give themselves.


Customers buy for their own reasons, and most salespeople have no idea what those reasons are. They assume that customers buy for their reasons. Many companies still attempt to make customers buy for their (the company's) reasons. But people buy with their hearts, not their minds.

The next time you're on a selling appointment, remember that people don't buy from rude or pushy salespeople. They buy from people who have a smile and who are enjoying themselves. Sell with your heart and watch your sales soar!



DAWN SIEBOLD is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group (www.gove-siebold.com), a training organization that helps networkers develop world-class communication skills.