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  • Writer's pictureLance Tyson

How to Determine Buying Motives and Make Every Sales Call Profitable

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How to Determine Buying Motives and Make Every Sales Call Profitable

Buying Motives - Rocket Fuel for Driving Your Sales Process and Profits

Before we jump into buying motives and the buying process, let’s revisit the doctor’s office analogy for a review of the sales process.


When the doctor starts asking questions to diagnose your situation, the questions they ask are simple at the start. The questions they ask are based on their own general experience and their historical knowledge of you. For example, they might ask, “What’s your age? When was the last time you were seen by a doctor? How do you currently feel?”


The questions they ask get more specific and have more precision as the questioning process progresses. When the doctor is finished, they will perform an assessment of your responses to determine where the problems are and what might need fixing. Then, based on their experience, expertise, and assessment, they can arrive at a proper diagnosis and make the appropriate recommendations.


This is what we want to do in our questioning process to drive the sales process and profits.


In previous posts, we reviewed a questioning model that builds credibility and trust within the framework of the sales process. This questioning model has four outcomes it's designed to identify:

  • Where the prospect or buyer is currently

  • Where the prospect of buyer wants to be or the goals they want to achieve

  • The obstructions that impede the buyer's progress or prevent them from achieving their goal

  • The payout or what they will get when they achieve their goal

This framework provides an overall strategy for your salespeople when they are conducting their sales calls. However, there are additional pieces of information they will need before they will be able to move the sales forward. And these pieces of information need to be tied to the prospect's buying process.

Identifying the 4 Categories That Govern the Prospect’s Buying Interest

As mentioned before, there are a few more additional pieces of information your salespeople will need to know as they move the sale forward to closure. We've already reviewed a strategy that will allow your salespeople to actively build their credibility and reinforce trust. Now, we are talking about generating buyer interest that will drive the sale forward.


There are four areas of buyer interest that we can consolidate this additional information under. Let's quantify these four areas under the following headings:

  • Primary interests or the absolutes

  • Buying criteria

  • Buying motives

  • Additional considerations

Here's a quick rundown of these four areas of interest.

The Primary Interests

During the sales diagnosis when your salespeople are running through their questioning strategy, they should be able to isolate and identify the main reason the buyer is meeting with them. They should also realize that this is rarely the thing our sales reps are selling.


Your sales reps' buyers want a solution to their problem. Either that or they are looking for a new opportunity to put them in a new direction. Your salespeople's buyers buy product and services not because of what they are. Rather, they buy the result of your products. They buy what your products and services can do for them.


Put another way, no one buys a drill bit because they want a drill bit. They buy the drill bit to create a hole.

The Buying Criteria

Buying criteria are the basic requirements necessary to move the sale to close. If your sales reps do not meet these minimum requirements, they cannot move the sale forward. If the primary interest is the thing that the prospect wants and what your product or service will provide, the buying criteria are the required elements that provide context.


As your sales reps move in the field and deal with buyers, they will discover that most, if not all of their competitors have products or services that have similar or the same buying criteria. These are not the elements that you can differentiate your products or service on. But these elements are extremely critical and basic to the prospect's buying interests. They need to be met just to get their foot in the door.


Some examples of buying criteria could be a low price, specific loan terms, favorable interest rates, or whether the buyer can go forward with no money down. Certain financing options could come into play, ease of use, or an all-inclusive package.


At the end of the day, these are the must haves, the necessary conditions before your product or services are considered an option for the buyer.

The Buying Motives

Next, we consider the buying motives, or the reason a buyer wants something. This is the compelling emotional reason for the buyer to make the decision to purchase, either from your salespeople or from a competitor. Most decisions have one compelling motive to move the sale forward: self-fulfillment, self-preservation, acquisition, relationships or recognition.


Buying motives will typically conform in one way or another to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – physical survival, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization—at some level. It’s a concept that has been around since the 1940s, and it’s usually shown as a pyramid, with basic physiological needs at the bottom, and above them, some higher-order psychological needs.


We'll touch on this again at a later point but remember that people buy with emotion and justify their purchase with logic. Emotion powers the buying process.

Other Considerations

Lastly, there are the other considerations. These are areas of interest that influence the buyer’s decision. They are not typically requirements of the sale, but if your product or service can meet these considerations, they do play a role in influencing the decision maker. These are the elements that set our products or services apart from the competition. When we understand these factors, we give ourselves a competitive advantage to providing the buyer with a unique solution.

An Example of Leveraging Buying Motives to Magnify the Buyer's Interest

Here’s an example of how these concepts come into play during the questioning phase of the sales process. Let's go back to the earlier post where I was buying the Adidas AlphaBounces. Buying the sneakers, the AlphaBounces, was my primary interest. Those shoes were the primary reason I was at that store. White shoes was a strong buying criteria that I was wrestling with. The fact that the shoes had to be clean was another buying criteria although not as strong since it was everyone else who kept putting it in my face.


But the salesman pulled out the buying motive when he said, “Ooooh! These are those shoes” and then painted a very compelling picture heightening the feeling and my desire to make the purchase.


This is a good example of what I said earlier about people buying with emotion. We are all emotional beings, and a salesperson sells to people. People buy on emotion, but they justify their decision using logic. That’s why your salespeople must know those emotional driving factors. It’s not an exact science. But the questioning process your salespeople through during the evaluation process helps the salesperson put the jigsaw puzzle together. That's why it's crucial for your sales team to have a solid questioning strategy.


But just because people buy on emotion doesn’t mean you need to sell that way. In the sales process, your team should always use logic and reasoning when moving forward in the sales process.


You’ll find more ideas on creating and leveraging buying motives in your sales process in Lance Tyson’s book, Selling Is An Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World available on Amazon. Get your copy today!

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