Sandler Training – Why Do Customers Buy?

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Why Do Customers Buy?

How important is this question to the sales professional? How many times when a sale is made can the salesperson actually articulate the real reason why their customer bought?  I can tell you, after working with hundreds of sales professionals, more often than not, the real reason why customers buy is not known.  The problem with not knowing is that it becomes difficult to repeat what was done that convinced the customer to buy.  Do you really know why your customer buys from you?  This article will discuss what motivates customers to make buying decisions.

The first motivator is intellect.  Most salespeople can understand how to engage the intellectual portion of their prospect’s psyche.  The product/service features, benefits, and pricing that the salesperson knows so well and is typically excited about appeals to our prospect’s intellect.  We know this to be true because prospects are easily intrigued by bells and whistles and new ideas to do things better and so they typically engage in the sales conversation asking lots of questions, offering up buying signals and asking for proposals.  In turn, the salesperson easily gets excited by this type of intellectual engagement from the prospect, believing that it signals a sale may be close.  All too often, this results in a flurry of time-consuming activity that does not result in a sale.  The intellect of the prospect is important (pricing, terms, warranty, delivery, etc.), but it does not contribute the lion’s share of motivational energy behind the buying decision.  Yet, most salespeople engage prospects at the intellectual level only, and as a result, do a lot of work that does not generate revenue.

The second motivator is emotion.  All you have to do is examine your own buying process and you would have to agree that buying decisions are to a great extent driven by emotional disposition.  To simplify the discussion, the emotions in play can be grouped into two categories: pleasure and pain.  In the B2B landscape, it is true some buying decisions are made to satisfy a desire for pleasure, but a vast majority of buying decisions are made to remove or prevent pain.  Therefore, a salesperson’s primary objective to a sale should be finding if and where the prospect hurts.  This is much easier said than done because even if the prospect reveals some hurt (poor service, reliability issues, inefficiency, etc.) it is offered up intellectually.  Most salespeople, when they hear a prospect’s issue that plays into their wheelhouse, will jump right into sales mode and begin advocating features and benefits that appeal only to the intellect.  You see, the issues your prospect gives you are rarely the real issues so when you find indication that their might be pain, the sales professional should gently drill deeper by asking questions and keeping their mouth shut.  If the salesperson can be patient, listen intently, and keep drilling, the prospect will leave the intellectual conversation in favor of an emotional one. With that comes emotional motivation to hear the salesperson’s solution and if it fits, emotional motivation to buy it.

The emotional portion of our psyche provides 70% of the motivational energy behind the buying decision while the intellect provides only 30%.  If a sales professional can successfully appeal to the prospect’s emotional reasons to buy during the sales call, he/she will have more than a two-to-one advantage over the salesperson who appeals only to the prospect’s intellect regardless of price.  This is why high-performance salespeople win at higher percentages while capturing higher margins than their competitors.

A great exercise you can do right now is to ask you current customers why they buy from you.  They may give you an intellectual answer at first, but I am certain that underneath the intellect is strong emotional justification to purchase your solution.  Some examples might be stress reduction resulting in a better night’s sleep, time savings resulting in the owner spending more time with family, improved profitability which removes the need for laying off employees, improved quality output resulting in saving the manager’s job.  So, why do your customers buy from you?

by Karl Schaphorst, President

402-403-4334 |

Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies.  For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at  You can also follow his blog at

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