Uncovering the Real Reason people Buy from You

By Colin Scotland

Ever wondered what drives us as human beings?

What makes us tick? Why do we make the choices we make?

Our selection of partners, careers, clothes we wear, the car we drive, and the food we eat.

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I am fascinated by it all.

In making a purchase decision, what causes us to choose one product or service over another?

I have some fascinating insights into the process that I would love to share with you.

the buying process

Understanding the 'process' is vital, but even more important is knowing the 'why' behind this process.

The psychological driving forces. The need.

The motivation to make a purchase is symbolic of an underlying need. It is this need that drives our actions.

Identify and address the deeper need, and you will render your competitors irrelevant.

We discussed identifying and solving a client's pain in an earlier post. This is one of the first steps you can take to encourage potential customers to engage with your brand.

The products or services you supply satisfy needs in exchange for money, so you make a profit.

That is the fundamental definition of marketing, after all.

It can be all too easy to focus on general or surface-level needs; this is a fatal mistake.

If you base your marketing on satisfying surface-level needs, your brand will be like a grain of sand on the beach, indistinguishable from your competitors.

It is critical to your success that you understand the deeper needs you are satisfying.

This deeper, underlying need should be the focus of your marketing.

It is this deeper understanding of your customers that will resonate with them; they will think to themselves, wow, these guys get me.

Showing that you understand your customers creates emotional bonds, and as we know, emotional bonds are the things that render your competitors irrelevant.

So how do we uncover the real reason people buy from us?

Let's explore.

First, we need to establish a basic grounding in understanding what we humans need.

What is a need?

A need is a deficit in an area of our life.

It is this deficit that prompts us to take action.

I am hungry. I buy food.

Abraham Maslow identified a hierarchy of needs ranging from basic existence-related needs, food, shelter, warmth, and safety; to our relationships with others, love/belonging, and esteem, and at the pinnacle, growth-related self-actualization needs.

He argued that once we satisfy our basic needs, we can move up the hierarchy toward the pinnacle of self-actualization and achieving our fullest potential.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

It is these needs that drive your customer's motivation to take action.

As an entrepreneur, your ability to understand your customer's needs and how you can satisfy them is your key to changing the game.

Let's say we are selling houses.

We satisfy the primal need for shelter and warmth. But what if we are selling luxury executive homes?

Is shelter still our primary motivator?

We are more likely to satisfy a deeper, self-actualizing, or esteem need.

Can you see how our marketing messages might differ based on different needs?

In fact, everything we do as marketers and entrepreneurs hinges on it. But rarely do we give it sufficient thought.

As busy entrepreneurs, we focus on cash flow, sales, products, and margins.

I would challenge, nay, dare you to dedicate time to focus on the reason your company exists.


Sorry for shouting at you, but it is rather important.

I guarantee it will surprise you just how beneficial it is to your business.

Do you know what motivates them to buy your product/service? Have you asked them?

Can you be certain what you are thinking in your head right now is entirely correct?

The other important consideration here as House MD expounds is everybody lies.

Let's explore.

What do you want in your business right now?

More sales? More profits?


Let's assume you do. These are, however, only surface-level needs. We can uncover the deep-level motivating factors by asking:

What would more profits and sales mean for YOU?

More time with your family? ESTEEM.

More freedom to travel? SELF-ACTUALISATION.

So as I am writing this I am thinking, crikey Colin, your homepage headline needs to speak to growth and self-actualization-related needs and not sales and profits!

Can you see how it is vital to go deeper and deeper into human motivation to better understand our customers?

Next Steps

Poll your customers on why they purchased from you.

Talk to them in person if you can.

Ask probing questions to uncover the deeper motivating needs.

Change your messaging accordingly. Enjoy the results.

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