People Buy For Reasons, Not For Logic

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

discussion in office arround tableThe challenge is often raised – “if we know why people buy we would always sell to them!” We talk about “buying triggers” and we use plenty of related jargon to talk about the moment at which people buy something, the reasons people buy something and what we can do to influence it. It is possible to apply logic but logic has a funny way of being by-passed when people are involved.


The theorists amongst will always try to apply logic and theory and they might get it right some of the time, but the likelihood is their application of theory and logic will occasionally meet with the ‘order placer’ making them the ‘order taker’ rather than the influential, consultative sales expert.

Arguably, there is always a ‘moment’ and therefore a ‘trigger’. Something ticks the box for the buyer, and when added to all the other ticks on the list of ticks and crosses, the equation adds up to a sale being made.

The opportunity for those of us in sales is to recognise and influence how, when and why the boxes will be ticked and the trigger triggered!

Key Element

A key element and critical success factor will always be the skills we apply to ‘understanding the buyer’. Too much talk in sales is about us, our approaches, our skills, the models we apply, the selling methods we prefer, the beliefs we carry about how to sell. The models drilled into us can result in a lack of real pro-active listening and real empathising with and aligning to the buyer. Must build rapport, must ask open questions, must elicit needs, must present features and benefits, must answer objections in a set way – so much focus on us and what we do, say, present, project – our image, the impression we create. What about the buyer? Oh yes, the buyer, we almost forgot they were still here!

Understanding The Buyer

A great concept! How about taking a journey from feeling comfortable in our shoes to feeling uncomfortable in their shoes? Walking a mile in the buyer’s shoes. Experiencing their world, their pain, their issues and their opportunities. How about giving them open space to express themselves and give us everything we could possibly need to propose a relevant, meaningful and valuable solution? A huge plethora of information and tools exist for us to use to ‘understand our buyer’ and how they think, feel, speak etc. An investment of time in reading some of the well-known models and systems can result in significant payoff for the seller. The ultimate payoff for us is our ability to match our language – spoken and unspoken – to theirs, and when we match, we sell. When we miss-match we don’t!

So… let’s apply our understanding of our buyers to the reasons why people buy. Every buyer goes through an emotional journey – note – emotional rather than logical. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about buying a toothbrush or our next car or home; the journey is always the same – no exceptions. The premise is, if we know the journey and we know where people are on the journey, we can assist them to complete it by making a purchase – simple!

 So…. What Is The Journey?

  • Interest aroused
  • Need established / no need
  • Knowledge added to
  • Suitability appreciated
  • Desire increased / decreased
  • Cost considered
  • Means established
  • Value accepted / rejected
  • Outside influence / family, friend, colleague
  • Gap created – life now incomplete without it
  • Buying process made easy
  • Offer / discount / added value appreciated
  • Sale triggered

Known as INK purchasing psychology an applicable regardless of what we buy. Try the toothbrush test, try something you recently purchased, try something you’re considering right now. It fits doesn’t it?!

The title was… people buy for a reason not logic. The bullet points above give you the reasons, the challenge is, which of the steps can you influence and how can you best influence them so that the buyer completes the journey with you?

Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Ambro at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 2 May, 2013

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