Buyer Psychology – Why We Buy

Buyer Psychology and why we buy

I assume you have something great to sell and want to sell more of it to the right people – to do this, you need a powerful strategy for generating warm leads that convert into paying clients.

The logical place to start is in the mind of someone who might buy from you. We need to explore why they buy, how they build enough trust to signal their interest and the conditions that need to be right for a sale to be made.

Price of Quiz Software

Psychological Tension

The underlying reason people buy anything is due to psychological tension. People feel a tension between what they have and what they want. They are living in their current reality but they have a desired reality in mind that they believe would be better.

A person who pays for a business coach does so because they feel a psychological tension between the business they have and the business they imagine having in the future. They might have a business that is good by many people’s standards, but they feel chained to it. Perhaps they feel that it’s too much hard work and they have to make every sale.

Product communication and Miss-match

One day they meet up with some parents at the school gate who have just been on a long international holiday with their family. The dissatisfaction builds into a psychological tension, which drives them to be on the lookout for something that might resolve it.

Every customer who has ever bought from your business did so to relieve a psychological tension they were experiencing. They imagined that life would be better after buying what you were offering.
I’m sure you recognised this in some of your customers, but there will have been many cases when you didn’t – customers who didn’t tell you much about themselves and played down their reasons for buying from you.

They probably talked about the features of your product or focused on things like the price or the payment terms. They may have concealed their underlying psychological tension, but you can be certain it was there. Understanding this tension in your potential customers is important if you want to be successful in your business and make more sales.

Businesses that are clear about the tensions they resolve create better marketing materials, charge better prices, have more powerful sales meetings and deliver better products and services.
Many strong emotions are driven by an underlying tension. Pain, disappointment or dissatisfaction are all forms of tension based on something you have that you wish would stop or change. Desire, lust or longing are different types of tension based on something you don’t have but want. Feelings of frustration, annoyance, or anger arise from tension based on something not working the way you imagine it should.

Imagine being able to look at a potential customer and see a dashboard glowing above their head telling you exactly what their tension is. Imagine an accountant talking to a business owner, and above their head, it says, ‘I rate myself three out of ten for business finances – this is caused by my cashflow worries.’ It would be easy for this accountant to talk to the client about ways to continue working in the business while outsourcing their finances to the accounting firm.

84% of consumers say being treated like a person (not a number) is important to winning their business.

Imagine what it would be like for you and your sales team to have access to this dashboard for every potential client you talk to. This data would speed up every sale and would lead to more effective marketing campaigns and happier customers.

It would also allow you to raise your prices and measure the impact of your product.

Scorecard marketing enables you to generate warm leads that come in with this data attached. Rather than just seeing people at a surface level, you will know what’s driving them and have access to data that reveals exactly why they want to buy something. You will clearly see the tension they are experiencing and be able to quantify it with numbers and zoom in on specific issues that they want to address.

What should you do next?

Complete the Sales and Marketing Excellence Scorecard to have experience of what it’s like to complete a scorecard yourself:

LAPS Scorecard

Sometimes people experience psychological tension that sits deep beneath the surface. They bury it and don’t do anything about it, distracting themselves with other things. We call this a dormant tension – a desire or frustration that is not being acted on.

This could be for several reasons. They might have tried to do something about it in the past and it didn’t work. It might not be as painful or urgent as other things in their life. They might imagine that there’s too much work or expense required to fix a problem they have or that the reward isn’t worth it. Maybe they don’t believe they’re capable of doing something they wish they could do.

Imagine Kelly, a busy mother who used to love going to yoga classes before having kids. Yoga used to be Kelly’s reset, and it was great for fitness and meeting like-minded friends. Since having young kids, yoga has taken a backseat, and now those needs are no longer being fulfilled.

This manifests itself in many ways: a lack of energy, feeling unfit and disconnected from a vibrant social circleKelly is probably not looking into yoga classes, though. She knows there is a yoga studio seven minutes down the road, but she’s buried her desire. The yoga studio doesn’t even know Kelly exists or that she might want to get back into her practice.

Imagine if somehow the yoga studio could interview Kelly and ask her what’s stopping her from returning. Her response might be that her evenings are taken up with family activities and that she doesn’t feel like being around a social circle of people who are single and childless anymore. She might also say that she misses the feeling yoga brings and the added energy it gives her.

What Kelly doesn’t know is that the yoga studio has classes for parents with children. These classes are at a time that works, the social circle is perfect, and the energy uplift is just as good. If the yoga studio knew why Kelly wasn’t coming to classes, they could give her the relevant information; if Kelly had that relevant information, she would absolutely love to come back to yoga classes.

A dormant tension sits beneath the surface, waiting to bubble up. The exciting thing is that most people have dormant psychological tensions sitting beneath the surface. For every person who is actively looking for a product or service, there are hundreds of others who might be interested but aren’t looking.

If you went to a football match and asked the whole stadium, ‘Who here is currently searching for a new car?’ few people would respond. If, however, you asked, ‘Who here is not 100% happy with the car they currently have?’ almost everyone would respond.

There is great power in being able to identify a dormant tension people have hidden away in the back of their mind. It seems counterintuitive, but when a customer is already actively looking for a product, they are harder to sell to, not easier. People who are actively looking for something have already made up their minds, and they have often set their budget. They are normally unwilling to explore a broad range of alternatives or to consider offers outside their predetermined price band.

People who are actively searching for a product or a service are also likely to buy from the most established providers. They typically go with well-known brands or people who have won awards and have dozens of testimonials. As they fine-tune their decision, they look for signs that a business is the best of the bunch.

Ask Revealing Questions

When exploring a dormant desire, people tend to buy from the business that helped them uncover it. Someone who wasn’t looking for a life coach will buy from the life coach who helped them to highlight an area of their life they could improve.

Online Quiz Question

Those with a dormant frustration are also open to exploring a full range of options. A person who knows they want to join a golf club will look for the best golf club in their local area. A person who feels bored because they don’t have any hobbies might be open to tennis, bowling, dancing, karate, rock climbing or golf.

The smartest entrepreneurs and marketing professionals sell to those with dormant needs and wants. They go looking for underlying psychological tension that hasn’t yet fully formed, and then they warm people up.

The key to finding a psychological tension is in asking the right questions. If you ask people about small things they are experiencing, they begin to tune into issues that need resolving. Small things can add up to big things.

A big tension someone might have could relate to their fitness, but asking directly about it might cause them to recoil. Imagine asking someone you barely know, ‘Are you happy with your fitness/weight?’ You won’t win any new friends that way. Asking fewer encompassing questions would be a better way to start the ball rolling. Questions like ‘do you work out?’ or ‘do you have any sporty hobbies?’ would start a conversation that may reveal their deeper thoughts.

Having a series of simple, indirect questions to ask can be a powerful way to wake up the dormant frustrations or desires in those your business could help.

Action Steps

Get into the mind of your potential customers:

  • What dormant frustrations do your typical customers experience?
  • What desired outcomes do your typical customers secretly want?
  • What typically stops people from acting on this tension?
About the author
Daniel Priestley
Tagged Topics

Smarter Leads.
Smarter Conversations

Get more leads, more data and more sales with ScoreApp
  • Try For Free
  • AI Quiz Builder included
  • Cancel anytime