Buyers always buy for their own reasons not ours.

By Jonathan Farrington

Every successful sale is made not so much because of the excellence of your product or of your sales pitch, but because consciously or unconsciously, you have found the human reason why your prospect should buy: You have found the door to their motivation and have opened it. The more you understand the function of human motivation, the more successfully you will sell.

In its simplest form, motivation emerges as a cycle. It starts with a want or need, expressed or hidden. Inherent in this is a problem, a problem that must be overcome in order to satisfy the want that must be solved. Once solved, the want can be satisfied and the cycle is completed.

In terms of personal development, there are several levels of needs. You will no doubt be familiar with Maslow’s “Pyramid of Needs” These needs are basic to everyone you sell to, live with, or encounter, and we all of course are different. Their needs will vary in degree, in shape, and in the nature of their answers. But they are common to all. As you are alert to them, as you understand them, so will your success with others be measured.

How do people seek to satisfy their needs? Thorndike’s Law of Effect supplies the answer: “People tend to behave in a way to gain rewards and avoid punishment.”

Again, this varies with different people. Generally, people can be classified into three dominant types:

• The Achiever

• The Seeker of Social Recognition

• The Security-Minded

(But no one is likely to be a “pure” type)

The Achiever is most likely to be oriented toward gaining rewards.

The Security-Minded is likely to be dominated by the desire to avoid punishment.

The Social Type stands somewhere between the two.

These are the dominating factors. But in varying degrees, each has a little of the other two in them.

In terms of selling, whatever the dominant drive of your prospect, they are above all, buying benefits. Benefits are best defined, in this context, as the results of the product, which enable them to gain rewards and/or avoid punishment.

In making their decision, the buyer uses the “Minimax Principle” – To minimize their losses, or to maximize their gains. This is true whatever the personality orientation. The emphasis depends again on their individual motivational drive.

The “Law of Effect” then – depending on specific motivation – relates directly to the “Pyramid of Human Needs” and expands in this manner:

The benefits you have to offer are both negative and positive. The right emphasis, directed in the right way, offering both to determine preference is your shortest way to your objective.

In summary, according to Russell: “The essence of motivation is finding meaning in what we are doing. Motivation is an inner control of the individual.” Only you can motivate yourself.

All these concepts apply to you in all phases of your life and your work, as well as they apply to others. Finding the right meaning in what you do will be the great motivator for a more effective you.

Understanding the nature of what motivates each person you deal with will enable you to help them make a decision favorable to both of you.

The most important fact to remember in influencing the behavior and decisions of others is that people do things for their reasons, not ours!