The Force That Drives Buying Decisions

What do people buy?

They don't buy your wonderful presentation.

People buy solutions and visions.

How do you find out what buyer will think that is?

Ask.

Ask questions.

Spend most of your time asking questions of your prospects, and you will have the opportunity to find out if there is a solution or vision that they want to buy.

When I say solutions or visions, here's what I mean. People buy solutions to problems or deep felt pains that they have or fear happening. People also buy visions that represent the means of attaining their desires.

Of the two, most people will have a stronger motivation to solve or avoid a problem than they will to do something to attain a desire. Don't believe me? Just look at how many people claim to dislike or even hate their jobs. Anyone *can* get a new job or start a new career. Most people never do though. Why? Because the fear of going into the unknown or losing their secure paycheck is more painful than enduring whatever pain or frustration they might have in the job they claim to hate or dislike.

Let's say that If you wanted to sell someone on changing careers. You would need to first deal with whatever they feared in the process of changing careers. Only after successfully addressing this you could ever complete this sale and motivate them with the exciting possibilities that the new career offered.

A business might have a need for a particular product or service that offer. You look at this business, and you just know that they need it. It would make real difference to the way they do business, how they treat their customers, how much revenue they take in, or how efficient they are.

None of this matters.

Nope. That is your perception. The only thing that really matters is whether or not the people who run this business perceive that something needs to be changed. Businesses buy something when they recognize that a change needs to occur to fix or avoid a problem, or to realize a vision for the future.

Now, some prospects are walking pain statements. They'll hand you their problem right up on a silver platter and ask you if you can solve it. These tend to be the easy sales. We love these.

Unfortunately for us, there aren't enough sales like this in most industries to make our sales goals off of. Not all people or businesses perceive that they need to change. Not all buyers are aware of the problems, pitfalls, or opportunities that are out there. This is especially true when you sell an innovative or new product, and people are not even aware that what you offer exists.

So herein lies the challenge and the opportunity for us as salespeople (and the reason why businesses have salespeople instead of a stack of order forms in their corporate lobbies). We are paid a lot of money to find the prospects that are unaware of the problems and possibilities, and to show them the consequences that await them.

People are motivated by consequences. This is one of most important things you can learn in persuasion. Consequences are what people fear or want most. This is the root motivation for what people do, or don't do - what they buy or don't buy.

Earlier I said that by asking questions of your prospects you will have the opportunity to find out if there is a solution or vision that they want to buy. I used the word opportunity specifically, because just asking questions is not enough.

You must ask the right questions at the right time. Use questions impotently, and not only will you not learn what motivates your prospect, you'll likely hear "I want to think about it, call in me in a couple of weeks". This in most cases is just the same as losing the sale.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/ and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/

In The News:

Why Women Are the Future of B2B Sales  Harvard Business Review
How Sales Data Can Help Non-Sales Teams  Harvard Business Review
Sales resuming at Balla Mart  Connaught Telegraph

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