Detecting Motives

When someone does something exceptionally good (or awful), we might ask ourselves what was motivating them? Or we wonder what drove an individual to take that course of action. I am sure you would agree that we want people to take the next steps to buy our products or services. Therein lies the fact that one of the most important things for us to understand is what causes the prospect to move forward. What is the source of their motivation?

Recently I read the book, Hooked by Nir Eyal.  It is about creating products that become habit-forming and how companies market them to consumers. We can learn much from research into human behavior and the processes that the creators of products and services like Apple and Facebook use to draw consumers and keep them captivated. Interestingly many concepts cross over to the science of sales. How will understanding this research improve our sales performance?

Consider what the book refers to as the key elements or the core psychological motivators of consumers – seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, seeking hope and avoiding fear, seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection. As you look at the three categories, notice the opposing viewpoints based on the individual’s thoughts. Now, as you think about each section, ask yourself this question – Which one of the three motivators is moving my prospect towards the action of buying? Is it one element or all three? If it is all of them, can you create a sales presentation that includes messages to address all three issues to trigger the prospect to move forward? That is the goal. You want action on the part of your prospect because inaction, of course, means no sale. So, when triggered by you, motivation leads to action, which next creates a completed sale.

The issue is how to determine a prospect’s motivation during the sales presentation. It can be done when you convey “evidence messages” that feed the prospect’s core motives. And when you give the “outcomes” portion of the presentation, you are stating how your product will help stop the pain and create some pleasure. Or how they can reach their hoped-for place and avoid a fearful situation, and lastly, how the prospect can receive the social acceptance that they are seeking and prevent rejection.

Does this sound too complicated to understand? No doubt, you would agree that most worthwhile accomplishments take effort to master. (Such as getting most of your prospects to buy from you.) Understanding the science of human behavior and activating a prospect’s drivers is what becoming a top salesperson is all about. Why would you attempt to sell a product or service without full knowledge of what makes your prospects tick?

Here is an interesting comment from Warren Buffet’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway, “How can economics not be behavioral? If it is not behavioral, what is it?” That is the point.  A successful salesperson clearly understands the fundamental reasons prospects buy. So, why not take the time and become familiar with the psychology behind how people purchase products and services. You will be glad that you invested the time.

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