People buy for their reasons, not yours

October 23, 2014

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

People buy for their own reasons, not yours. This is a mindset that average sales professionals do not understand. The top sales professionals understand that everyone makes their purchasing decisions based on different motives. No two decision-making processes are exactly alike.

The only way to discover what these buying motives are is to engage the prospects in discussions about them, not you. Just because some things are important to you (e.g., your truck, your bin, your shred size) does not mean it is important to the prospect. So, exactly how can you distinguish what is important to the prospect so you do not assume you automatically know? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a pre-call plan worksheet to identify key objectives of the conversation?
  • Do you have a list of 10-15 questions you would like to ask every stakeholder on the decision making team?
  • Is your proposal a snapshot and confirmation of this discussion where you uncovered their reasons for purchase?
  • Do you have a way to lead the decision-making process from start to end so it does not come down to lowest price?
  • Who does most of the talking in your sales conversations? The prospect should talk 80 percent of the time so you can find out these motives.
  • Are you able to challenge the prospect when the conversation potentially turns awkward?
  • Is the prospect aware of what the implications could be to their business if sensitive information fell into the wrong hands or they made their decision solely on lowest price?
  • Do you have a strategy to receive as many testimonials as possible and include these as social proof for the decision maker?

If you are the perceived expert for the decision-making team, they will look to you for guidance and suggestions. Keep in mind that most decisions are made emotionally and justified logically though. Engaging the prospect in a dialogue about himself or herself is one of the best ways to connect emotionally. People will also pay a little more to do business with the perceived expert. Time to become that perceived expert in your market.