Why do people buy?

I’m renovating my bathrooms, so I’ve been dealing with plenty of ‘sales’ people. It puts things into perspective for me because usually I’m the one doing the ‘selling.’ I visited 6 places yesterday where I was face-to-face with a sales representative. After the long, exhausting day, I started pondering, “Why should I buy and from who?”

The first place I visited was referred to me. The show room was amazing and it was relatively busy (people like working with busy aka seemingly successful people). The sales rep was okay, he knew his product and he was very friendly (people like buying from friendly people). He showed my wife and I a few options and he let us leave with some samples.

Then, we ventured to another place. The show room was stacked with boxes of inventory and it wasn’t very inviting. Granted it was a small space and I understood what they were trying to do. However, the average consumer would probably be turned off by a convoluted mess of  inventory and pushy sales people. The sales rep my wife and I received was decent enough. The best part for me – before I left he grabbed MY number. Most places will give you a card. BE PROACTIVE! GET THE PROSPECTS NUMBER SO YOU CAN FOLLOW UP (build that database, baby).

My wife and I bounced around to a couple other stores before we stopped at this AMAZING show room. The building was huge (although it was in a shitty location) and it was stocked with everything. It was neat and tidy, but no one was there. My wife and I were the only ones shopping (again, people like to buy from busy aka seemingly successful people).

The rep wandered over and asked, “Anything I can help you with?” How many times have you heard that? Whether you’re buying shoes, clothes, a computer or whatever. The question leaves the response open to a Yes or No answer. As a sales rep, you’re dead in the water. Usually the response is, “No thanks, just browsing.”

Supercharge your sales force by getting each and every one of your floor representatives to ask, “What brought you in?” This question encourages the prospect to go into detail about why he / she is in the store. If the prospect gives a lazy, “No real reason, just browsing,” response. Hit ’em with, “Anything in particular you were browsing for” or “How did you hear about us?” These questions encourage the prospect to elaborate. It also gives your sales rep the chance to qualify the prospect. If the prospect is merely browsing, your rep can back off and key in on someone who is there to buy. DON’T WASTE TIME WITH UNQUALIFIED PROSPECTS.

Back to the final store my wife and I visited… Not only did the rep ask, “Anything I can help you with?” After my wife gave her a generic response, the rep wandered off and starting sorting tiles. She didn’t qualify the buyer (my wife and I) and then she disappeared. Granted my wife and I probably weren’t the typical customer they see in their store (this was a REALLY high end kitchen and bath place), you never know until you qualify. Even though my wife and I may not be able to drop 25k on a bathroom right now, we may be able to down the road. If the day comes, guess which store we won’t be visiting…

Sales lesson

Never judge a book by its cover. You hear it time and time again. This lesson was hammered home to me by the sales rep who handled my latest car purchase. We had a great chat and he expects every single person who walks on the lot to leave with a car. No matter what they’re wearing, what they look like, etc… He learned this lesson after he was approached by a gruff, older gentlemen who had his socks tucked into his sweatpants. At first the rep didn’t approach him because he thought, “There’s no way this guy is ever going to buy THAT car.” Turns out Mr. Sweatpants dropped $90,000 cash on a car that day. And Mr. Sweatpants returns to the dealership every 2 years to get a new car.

Why do we buy?

1) Familiarity (we want to buy from someone we know and trust)
2) We want to know other people have purchased from you and are satisfied with the product / service

As a business owner – how do we get #1 and #2?


Marketing your business breeds familiarity and familiarity leads to sales. The best way to market your business is through referrals. Google your business and check out what people are saying. There could be some extremely powerful messages for you to use (or it will key in on your weaknesses). Whenever you can, ask for referrals from your customers. People are more willing to buy when they’ve heard or read a success story from a third-party who’s used your product / service.

So, what did I buy?

My wife and I are going with the first store, which was referred to us and the only place who gave us samples to take home. The referral and the show room put my wife and I over the top. We’re also going with a familiar store for the hardware (faucet, shower head, etc…). This hardware business advertises A LOT and you could see it as their large show room was packed. For the third time, people like to buy from busy people. The brain is lazy, so when it sees lots of people buying from a particular store, it automatically thinks, “Everyone else is buying, so I should too.” Think Black Friday or Boxing Day shopping. Why do we do it? Because everyone else is…

– Jordan


2 thoughts on “Why do people buy?

  1. Pingback: Social Media & Traditional Media | effUmarketing

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