How Buyers Make Decisions

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Decision 4 waysImagine you are in a restaurant, cafe or canteen, looking at the menu. You’re pretty hungry, but not overly so. You need to quench your thirst and fill your stomach, as you inspect what’s available.

How do you make the decision as to what you will buy?

Do you go with a tried and trusted solution, items you’ve had many times before?

Or something that you’ve not had for some time?

How much influence does the price have on what you choose?

Do your hunger pangs outweigh your rational brain in deciding what you choose?

You probably don’t think about these decision-making processes as you go through them, but they are definitely there, laying down neural pathways that are easier and easier to repeat as time goes on. These pathways are laid down at the subconscious level; we are not consciously aware of how these decisions are made. They become part of us, driving our choices and confirming our character.

So, how does this apply to your buyers, the people who you rely on for your career success and your livelihood?

They may reflect the same processes as you went through when you were contemplating your choice of meal.

* Some may decide pretty quickly, being the driver or dominant force.

* Some may like to try new things, and maybe influence others to go to the same restaurants to choose.

* Some may hesitate and like things to be steady, so they will plump for items they have had before.

* Some may be a cautious decider, working through the options before determining what they would choose.

How would you deal with these different types of buyers’ decision-making processes?

Well, with the ‘Driver‘, you get to the point pretty quickly. You discuss outcomes, their competition and the obstacles they need to overcome. You cover accomplishments. You highlight how the solution will help the prospect achieve their goals.

With the ‘Influencer‘, you ask how you can make the decision-maker look better in the company’s eyes. You discuss the overall impact the right decision will make within and outside the company. What would be the impact of they didn’t go with your solution?

With the ‘Steady Relator’, you discuss what the relationship between supplier and customer should look like. You ask them about the quality of service they expect from you. You find out about their concerns and strive to overcome them.

With the ‘Cautious Decider‘, you determine what decision-making criteria they are using, and how they know it will be right. Ask how they define quality. What guarantees and warranties are they requiring?

The best salespeople recognise that their buyers have different personalities and so adapt to their thinking processes. If you are able to identify how they make their final decisions, it will be easier for you to fit your product to their specific needs.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of D Dpavumba at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 18 April, 2013

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