Why Do People Buy – Part One.

As marketers, we are constantly trying to anticipate every objection a potential customer might have about buying our products and services. It seems that if we could identify and address each of these objections and formulate a solution to each, we should be able to get them to buy almost anything. However the reality is very different and unpredictable.

Advertising and marketing strategies based on logic rarely do as well as strategies based on an understanding of people’s emotions, desires and needs. In fact, in my experience, you will only get the results you desire by appealing to both the logic AND emotional needs of customers.

Buying behavior can be motivated by several factors including intellectual, physical, emotional or even spiritual. They can be based on beliefs, need or wants. These motives are the unseen forces that drive someone to buy or pass on your offer. Understanding these motives is critical to marketing and sales success.

However, there is more to the human decision making process than the above motives. Other factors include knowledge, environment, peer pressure, past experiences and the positive and negative thoughts of others. These beliefs fuel the decision to buy and are often impossible to predict. People buy for basically two reasons: to solve problems and to make themselves feel good.

Hello again, Mr. Maslow.
If you are involved in marketing or sales, no doubt you’ve heard of Abraham Maslow. His theory is basically that people are animals that continually want. No matter how many needs they have satisfied at any given moment, they constantly struggle to reach higher levels. he classified these needs in a sequence of five levels that he referred to as “the hierarchy of human needs”.

The First Level is the lowest and most powerful and include hunger, thirst, sex, air and rest. Once these needs are satisfied, people will then seek to provide for his or her own Second Level: safety and security needs. These needs center around gaining shelter, providing clothing, protecting oneself from predators and enemies and establishing law and order. In today’s world, this means getting a good job, some insurance and a German Shepherd.

The Third Level of human needs include satisfying the need for love and belonging. This manifests itself with seeking acceptance, affection, friendship and mates.

The Fourth Level includes esteem needs – the need for recognition, respect, achievement, prestige, independence, importance, attention and appreciation. One would think that once people have all this, they would be satisfied. Not according to Mr. Maslow.

The Fifth and highest Level of need is the need for self-actualization. It is the ultimate human goal and is defined as the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their unique abilities – to achieve professional and personal greatness.


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