VUSSC/Content/Entrepreneurship/Selling and the Customer/What Motivates Cusomers to buy?

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What motivates customers to buy?

When did you last buy something? What was the item? Why did you buy it? These are some of the questions we need to answer when dealing with motives that actuate buyers. Every decision we make, and every course of action we adopt, is determined by conscious or unconscious motivation. We may have one or more of several possible motives, but a little thought usually enables us to explain our actions, particularly if they were based upon mental decisions. All buying entails giving up money, which nobody likes to do unless assured of a corresponding worth. This worth is not always represented by the intrinsic value of the goods, because particular circumstances, or a powerful incentive to buy may easily give something a specially high value or importance to a particular purchaser. Every sale depends upon some objective to which you must appeal in order to convince the buyer. So, what are some of the motives for buying something?

  • The acquisitive instinct

Acquisitiveness, the desire to possess, is common to us all. Fully developed, it may be exhibited as a collector's enhusiasm or even as a miser's hoarding propensity.

  • Desire to gain

One of the strongest of all motives in business is that of gain, whether of money if the article is to be resold; of utility if we ourselves are to use it; or of convenience if it will enable us to make better use of something else.

  • Susceptibility to compliments

Discriminating compliments, used sparingly and subtly, often help salespersons. However, compliments and flattery are only lubricants of negotiation. They cannot replace sound reasons why somebody should buy what you offer for sale.

  • Inclination to imitate

The inclination to imitate others is a natural one and often influences us unconsciously. Customers are imitative by inclination, so that the desire to imitate is a strong motivation to buy.

  • Parental instinct and pride

Parents can be successfully appealed to through their regard for their children. For example, mothers like their children to be as well cared for, and as well dressed, as other children in the same station of life.

  • Curiosity of the customer

Curiosity or the natural tendencey to investigate new and unfamiliar things is always a useful basis for appeal. This is probably more so early in an interview than when closing the sale. We are all to some extent curious about the unknown.

  • Personal pride

It is always safe to base an appeal upon anyone's self-esteem. When people are clearly interested in their personal appearance, their vanity can always be successfully appealed to. Pride is a very strong motive in buying things for home or personal use, although it can also be shown in other ways.

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In the foregoing, seven motivations to buy were discussed.

  • Add any two more that you are familiar with
  • Explain to a colleague (in your own words) what each one means
  • Cite typical examples from the business world of how each of the motivations is manifested.