By the time you’ve given someone a reason to buy – they’ve already bought.
So the logical reasons, and features, and nifty customisation options that you’ve littered throughout your sales spiel and marketing collateral probably don’t make as much of a difference as you think…
Here’s how your customers REALLY decide whether they’re going to buy:
The EMOTION Filter
We enter the sales process with DESIRE. This is the desire to fulfil a personal need around the product.
At this point, we’re driven by emotion – and the more selfish or personal our deep personal need is, the stronger this emotional pull can be.
Our emotions are hard-wired, and are some of the strongest motivators we have.
They are almost certainly the first feelings we evolved as living organisms – and they’re tied to our base needs as living organisms – specifically, the need for food, sleep, shelter, comfort, safety, procreation, etc.
If we meet these needs, we feel good.
If we aren’t, we feel discomfort – and we’re driven to take action action to solve whatever problem may be standing in our way.
We could be looking to buy because we have an itch we need scratched that is unrelated to the product itself (impulse purchases – such as buying a chocolate bar at the supermarket checkout – perhaps because our brains need a safety net of energy to process difficult thoughts and emotions).
Or it could be a practical need (solution-driven purchases – like hiring a plumber to fix a clogged drain that is beginning to smell or causing us inconvenience).
(It’s worth noting that if you’re selling products or services to other businesses, often the personal desire your customer is feeling has nothing to do with the product itself. It’s typically more a desire to meet their own professional needs and ambitions in their own role, and less the type of direct personal desire someone will feel towards a product in a B2C sale. This selfish motivation/deeper personal need is something few B2B companies take into consideration in their sales process.)
The EGO Filter
If we tick the box saying our EMOTIONAL needs will probably be met by this product, we subconsciously decide it’s worth continuing to dedicate energy to this decision – and begin filtering our decision through our EGO.
We ask questions about what will happen to our social STANDING if we were to make a decision to buy.
A need that evolved later in human beings as organisms was the need for social cohesion – and our EGO, and our need for being held in good STANDING – are central to this need.
Being liked, and holding positions of prestige among our peers, meant we would be a part of a greater tribe: a collective where we had protection, strength, and greater potential to fulfil our emotional needs.
If we damage out STANDING, we risk being cast out of the tribe: shunned by our peers, usurped by our lessers, and sent out into the wilderness alone. Or, perhaps in a more modern sense, ridiculed by our peers, passed over for promotion, fired from our jobs, criticised by our loved ones.
(This is the reason why the “I’ll talk to my wife” objection is so hard to counter. It’s hard-wired – and no amount of logic actually deals with it, as logic comes later.)
The LOGIC Filter
If our decision has the potential to advance our STANDING without a strong risk of damage, we’ve passed the EGO filter.
The next step is testing the LOGIC and REASONS behind our purchase.
During this filtering stage, we ensure the decision we’re making are the right fit, and that we haven’t made mistakes in our thinking to this point.
Providing logical reasons to buy is something that we’re naturally good at. However, just because we might have passed the logic filter, and be ready to make a commitment, it doesn’t stand to reason that the sale will necessarily go through.
Perhaps you’ve had the experience of going to a boss (or your partner) to share the logical reasons why a particular solution is a good fit – only to have them veto your recommendations.
Although your logical reasons might have been great – they likely rejected your recommendations because they hadn’t been through the same EMOTION/EGO journey as you. Or perhaps their EMOTION/EGO needs are different.
Understanding these motivations – and how we’ve already mentally bought a product before we’re provided with the reasons for buying – helps to improve your website and marketing collateral, sales conversations, and effectiveness in the impact you’re making to other businesses.