The Sales Simplicity Series: Why They Buy

(and a prize for 3 lucky readers)buying_motives

This is the last of three posts in the Sales Simplicity Series which teaches simple sales strategy for business.

In the previous two posts in this series, we learned about how to sell benefits instead of features – and then we discussed who you should be selling to.

Today we’re going to cover what might be the most important topic of all: Why people buy.


Simple But Powerful

This series was written to familiarize you with a few basic but powerful sales concepts. That being said, if you take nothing else away from this series, let it be this phrase:

People buy for their reasons – not ours.

It’s a widely used phrase about buying motives, and I wish I knew who I could attribute it to – because it’s brilliant.

It’s brilliant because it’s simple and true.

If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Don’t Sell The Kitchen

Years ago, my wife and I were looking for our first home. When our real estate agent showed us a home, we noticed that he spent an awful lot of time showing us the kitchens and talking about all the fantastic features of those kitchens.

We found that to be a bit on the weird side because while neither of us had anything in particular against kitchens, it was nowhere near the top of either of our priority lists. My wife was more interested in the master bedroom and bathrooms – and I wanted a big basement and a nice yard.

Had our agent known that (or bothered to pick up on it while we openly talked about it in front of him) he might have been able to cut the time of his sales cycle in half. And if he consistently cut his sales cycle in half, he’d have made more sales… and more money.

See? The basics really are vitally important.

What our agent failed to understand is that prospects don’t buy because of the features the salesperson thinks are cool.

Prospects also don’t buy because of your superior product or your low price.

Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

Most businesses feel very confident that they understand their prospects’ reasons for buying… but in many cases, they’re mistaken.

To see if you’re on the right track or not, answer these 4 questions honestly…

1. Do you lose a lot of sales based on price objections?
2. Do you have trouble getting people to respond to you? (email/phone)
3. Are you frustrated by the fact that some competitors seem to be doing better than you?
4. Do you think the “bad economy” is primarily to blame for your low sales?

If you were honest in answering – and you have at least two or three “yes” answers in there, I have some bad news. You’re not very in tune with the buying motives of your prospects buy.

The Real Reasons They Buy

Like most powerful concepts, the real reasons people buy are incredibly simple. Not easy – but simple. Here are the six reasons that, in my experience, people choose to buy.

1: They Buy Because They Understand What You’re Selling.
This means that you’ve very clearly and simply explained the features and benefits of your offering. Whether you talked with them one-on-one or explained it in writing – you have thoroughly explained and clarified what your offering is, what it does, and how it can help your prospect.

2: They Buy Because The Value is High and The Price is Fair
Value is different than price. Value is about relative worth. A service that saves you 100 hours but only costs you $200 is a great trade off. It’s high in value. Price is just price.

If value is high, people will pay more for it – as long as they price is perceived as being fair in comparison to the value received.

3: They Buy Because There’s Something Different About You
Call it what you want: Niching down, differentiation – whatever. Prospects can see when you have a different attitude or culture than everyone else, and that’s a big deal these days. What is that little extra buh-zing that you can provide that no one else can? Figure it out and make sure others can see it.

4: They Buy Because They Believe Your Offering Will Impact Profit or Productivity
It’s your job to show them how what you offer can impact productivity and profitability.

5: They Buy Because They Understand the Selling Relationship
A lot of people have misplaced guilt over selling. I suppose it has something to do with getting paid for doing it – which makes no sense at all to me.

This goes back to the popular but wrong idea that selling is something you do to someone. In reality, selling is something you do with or for someone.

Your prospects need to know that there’s a reciprocal relationship in the selling process. They buy something from you that makes their life or business better – and in return you get money to make your life or business better.

There’s no reason to pretend that’s not the case. You’ll find that as long as your customer is receiving value, they will take great pride in seeing you succeed as a result of their patronage.

6: They Buy Because of YOU
Perhaps the most powerful reason of all – people buy because they like you, trust you, and have faith in you. It takes time to develop credibility and trust, but once you do, the relationship can’t help but follow.

The simple truth is that when you reach out to get to know someone on a meaningful level and you serve them well over time, they become a fan… and if you’re lucky, a friend.

Which brings me to another of my all-time favorite sales sayings…

If you can’t make a sale, make a friend.

A non-client friend can still think highly of you and tell everyone they know about you even if they never give you a penny of business. And remember – today’s non-client friend is tomorrows client. Plus… it’s the right way to live.

Use It or Lose It

Implementing these concepts is relatively easy. Before you engaging in any sales or marketing efforts, simply create questions based on the six points above to double-check whether or not you’re properly focusing on the buyer.

1: Have I thoroughly explained my offering?
2: Am I offering substantial value?
3: Have I clearly differentiated myself from my competitors?
4: Does my offering clearly impact the buyer’s productivity or profitability?
5: Have I been honest about, and made my prospect comfortable with, the selling relationship?
6: What have I done to engage with and endear myself to my prospect?

If you come from a place of servitude and understand the reasons prospects buy, you will sell to more people and you will have happy, repeat customers. Period.

I Want To Give Back

This series has allowed me to get to know a lot of new people – and I’ve loved every minute of it. You’ve all given me months worth of brain food to chew on!

As a way of saying “thank you”, I’d like to give something back to you.

Watch this video to learn what I want to give you…



Since I published originally, a few people have mentioned that their reasons for wanting a session are private – and wanted to know if I would consider allowing email. Absolutely! If you prefer email, I’m good with that 🙂

So, in the comments or via email tell me…

  1. What you learned from this series that you think can make a difference for you
  2. What you would want to discuss during your free session

And while you’re at it, we’d love to have you on board as a subscriber if you’re not already one.

I look forward to your comments!


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The Sales Simplicity Series: Why They Buy


About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

18 Replies

  1. Gary,
    Really good point on “buying from you.” I have many times found something to buy from a salesperson I thought particularly engaging. By being warm and friendly people will be much more open to your services or products.

    1. Absolutely. There are so many other factors in play, but at the end of the day we “repeat buy” from people who we like. Good to see you here, Mike!

  2. Jane Robinson- Art Epicurean

    Gary, I really connect with #6 – Be YOU. The challenge for me is how to communicate my personality through the web. Video is a bit challenging and blogging doesn’t give the reader the warmth of talking with a person. I really enjoyed this video because I now feel as though I know you a bit better…esp. since you were in your comfy clothes, in a hotel room, dog tired and you still communicated sincerity. I guess I would like to work with you to develop a sincere voice in my marketing. I am so sick of the up-selling, self-serving, web gurus that I want to make sure I look and sound nothing like them. Great job.

    1. Thank you, Jane… and yeah – sorry about the grubby look. I promise to wear something nicer in my next video 🙂

      I understand your frustration with “voice.” You should read my last guest post on Write to Done.

      I appreciate the comment & maybe we’ll be talking one on one soon!

      1. Jane Robinson- Art Epicurean

        Gary – I loved the casual look. Checking out your post next.

    2. Jane,

      I’m totally on board with #6 as well. The best part was when Gary wrote: “A non-client friend can still think highly of you and tell everyone they know about you even if they never give you a penny of business. And
      remember – today’s non-client friend is tomorrows client.”

      I actually wrote something similar today that I hope will be published on Danny Iny’s Firepole Marketing blog. The inspiration was Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup, so tell me if you like this:

      “Make your launch fun for potential buyers and the passengers along for the ride. As Chris says, ‘If people don’t want to buy, will they still enjoy hearing or reading about the launch?’ The takeaway is that non-buyers on the train can be just as valuable – if not more so – than potential buyers. After all, what’s better? One silent buyer or one enthusiastic non-buyer marketing for you to his or her huge website, email list, or social media platforms?”

      Could the same apply to your art?

      1. Hey Joel! Excellent points – and good luck on your guest post. Long time no see, Joel! Happy to have your smiling avatar back on Reboot Authentic!

      2. Jane Robinson- Art Epicurean

        Joel – Yes, it transfers perfectly to selling art. You must create a personal style and voice in your art. In fact I recently created a video about finding my voice in my art when I faced a challenge. I will certainly ponder the idea of “launching” an art event and creating “friends” rather than focusing on sales. Thanks.

  3. Jim Bessey

    Your “Real Reasons…” section has given me some outstanding material for an upcoming guest post, Gary, thank you! I’m profiling an incredibly successful entrepreneur who scored home runs on #’s 1,2,3,5 and 6. That helps explain things, doesn’t it?

    For myself, your earlier “benefits vs features” post (and the delightful Benefits Bridge, graphics by Gary!) really resonates with me.

    You and I ended up having a very useful conversation in the comments section of Part 2 of this series, one that gave me some solid insights. If you choose me for one of your free consulting sessions, I’d love to continue/deepen that discussion.

    This is some serious rock-solid material. Bookmarked!

    1. Hey, I’m glad this helped with your guest post, Jim. That’s great! Great comments – and maybe we will continue that talk.

  4. Jennifer

    Hi, Gary!
    1st… Thank-You for posting this information! There were quite a few things I learned from this page…for example, “People buy because there is something different about you.” Also, was reminded that buying and selling is a two-way street…you should feel guilty about wanting to make an honest sale. Of course, the 6 Questions to ask before making a sale! Amazing! (okay…also, that one should find their own “buh-zing” ..etc.)
    2nd… If, you were to to able to talk with me( & vice-versa)…I’d be asking You, “How To Sell Your Ideas(Not a working product…like they should sell socks with kids names written in either, small flowers or, dinosaurs…but, I could not make the socks To Corporations.” Side note: that’s not the idea I want to sell..though, it may not be such a bad one.
    3rd …Know you asked for 2 things…but, this must be said, “Today, is my 1st Day here…haven’t told anyone about you, yet …& this competitions is for your loyal followers(which, I totally respect!). So, why I won’t be in this competition…your presentation definitely deserved the time it took to write this.
    Have a Glorious Day!

  5. I am a real estate agent. buy/sell property is a part of my job activities. I think this article has some important tips for me.


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