Buying motives – Do you know why do they buy?

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Buying motives often overlap. Suppose you just purchased a new jacket. What was your dominant motive in making that purchase? Maybe you bought the jacket for comfort; you expect it to keep you warm. You might have bought it simply because it has a style or label that you’re proud to wear or show your friends.

Maybe you bought it because the colour makes your eyes look bluer, or it makes you look taller and thinner, or in some way it makes you feel good about yourself — it gives you emotional satisfaction. Maybe you bought the jacket for all three reasons merged together: It’s comfortable, you’re proud to own it, and it makes you feel good about yourself.

As a salesperson you might think that people buy your product or service because of the reasons you give them. On the contrary, people buy not because of your reasons, not your company’s reasons but for their very own reasons.

These reasons may not seem sensible, logical or even intelligent to us but they seem that way to the prospect.

Broadly speaking we can categorise buying motives into Rational and Emotional reasons.

Rational buying motives

  • Economy of purchase
  • Economy of use
  • Efficient profits
  • Increased profits
  • Durability
  • Accurate performance
  • Labour-saving
  • Time-saving
  • Simple construction
  • Simple operation
  • Ease of repair
  • Ease of installation
  • Space-saving
  • Increased production
  • Availability
  • Complete servicing
  • Good workmanship
  • Low maintenance
  • Thorough research
  • Desire to be unique
  • Curiosity

Emotional buying motives

  • Pride of appearance
  • Pride of ownership
  • Desire for prestige
  • Desire for recognition
  • Desire to imitate
  • Desire for variety
  • Safety
  • Fear
  • Desire to create
  • Desire for security
  • Convenience
  • Desire to be unique
  • Curiosity

It is extremely important that you uncover these underlying buying motives because the prospect in all likelihood will not come out and tell you. They are sometimes only vaguely aware of their motives themselves.

The primary reason people don’t readily admit their buying motives is because it would make them feel too exposed. Psychologists tell us that people feel vulnerable admitting, even to themselves, what they care about, desire or fear on a deep, emotional level.

Tailor your approach to the right motives and your sales will definitely increase.


    • Chintan Bharwada

      Hi Ron,
      Sorry for the delay… we just had a baby boy few weeks back and its has been a more than two full time jobs… I just read your comment on linkedin.

      Ron, I completely agree with you. Understanding buyer behavior is quite an art. Not many companies understand as “why” people buy… they may have a good product and consumer might “like” the product. As you say “like” does not mean you buy, and buy does not mean that you love the product.

      What I normally look for is related purchase patterns. Try to understand as what other purchase patters emerge in specific segments. As you said we need to dig deeper to understand buyer behavior.

      BTW – I like your website… very refreshing.


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