How and Why People Buy

by Dan B. Cauthron

The Internet is a powerful selling tool. Never before has it been easier to start a business, be able to reach out to literally millions of potential customers and make your business succeed.

The Internet also offers us new tools to succeed. Email makes communications instant whether across the street or across the globe. Websites act as virtual storefronts, allowing us to stay open 24/7. Newsletters inform, educate and even give us an occasional smile.

Yet time has taught us that there is much more to success than simply having a web site or using these tools. Recent experience has taught us that the fundamentals of selling haven’t changed, even if the new selling tools are state of the art.

While these new tools may change the function of buying, they haven’t really changed HOW and WHY people buy. Here are several factors that will help you approach people in a way that will persuade them to buy from YOU.

  1. People aren’t ON the Internet. They ARE the Internet. The same rules that apply at any retail store should apply to your online ‘store.’ Is your site courteous and inviting? Does your site say in clear terms that you know your stuff and that people will get smart answers? Does your site offer to fulfill a clearly defined need or desire? Give your site a checkup today.
  2. People buy online just like they buy offline. If they are buying an impulse item, they’ll click thru and spend a buck. If it’s a bigger ticket item, they’ll shop around. Which are you selling? Is the look of your site appropriate to what you are selling? I don’t want to buy designer chewing gum and I won’t buy at a site that looks like it should be selling gum. Would you? I want to buy the stuff I usually buy, but I don’t want to leave home to do it. Are YOU meeting my need?
  3. People buy what they need, when they need it and can afford it. The key is to give people information that connects with what they need. The good news is that people need the same things they have always needed. Which of us doesn’t long for more time, more money, better relationships with family and friends? The more your message is aligned with these needs, the better you will do.

WHY People Make ‘Buying Decisions’

There are only SIX basic motivators that will trigger any buying decision in the mind of a potential customer. All six are actually deeply rooted in the human psyche, akin to our most common needs and desires.

  1. Desire for gain – usually financial, but also to gain in love, power, respect from other people.
  2. Fear of loss – usually financial, but also emotional. This trigger may tie to the loss of something already gained, or to the fear of not gaining something that is perceived as a need.
  3. Comfort and convenience – convince me that your product or service will make my life easier, simpler, more productive, more worthwhile.
  4. Security – will your product or service protect me, my loved ones, my assets, and reduce my fear of loss?
  5. Prestige and pride of ownership – although it may not be a psychologically healthy frame of mind, most people do attach self-worth to the ownership of exclusive material items (ie. Rolex watches, designer clothing, limited editions of anything.) Will I be proud to tell my friends that I own or use your product or service?
  6. Satisfaction of emotion – will your product or service make me ‘feel good’ about myself, my life, and the world I live in?

The world is a big place and it doesn’t turn on a dime. People will still buy cars just before vacation time and do most of their Christmas shopping about 10 minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve. Don’t buck the trend. Understand and USE people’s existing buying habits and motivations to your advantage, and kick your online efforts into high gear.

Permanent link to this article: