I see it all the time. Unprepared and untrained salespeople trying to sell without even knowing why people buy. Their success may be hit or miss. Most of the time salespeople struggle due to training. They get eager to get out there and sell that sometimes we neglect to think about some important factors. You can study the most complex and effective selling strategies in the world but if you don’t understand the root cause as to why people even make decisions you will struggle. Either that or you could be selling a lot more. I have reverse engineered the entire buying process to understand why people even make decisions. There are many factors that could help push people into making a decision but people ultimately make decisions for two reasons.

  1. To solve a problem.

  2. Because of love.

And that’s it. Simple I know but it’s best to get down to the bones. To get down to the brass tax. To get to the grassroots. To get to the milk and cookies. Too much? Eh, you get the picture. Making things as simple as possible will help you or your team understand it more. Keep in mind that most of the time these reasons go hand in hand and I explain why a little later.

How to Get to That Point

All of this will be happening in the fact finding stage. This is the needs and wants analysis (check out my post on it here). In the sales process, you have to determine what product or service your client is interested in. If you need a killer sales process check out mine here. Next, you have to find out if this is to solve a problem or because of love. Once you do this, you are then able to start uncovering what problems they are having or what happiness they are trying to achieve with the love. Towards the close is when you start to poke the pain for the problem or the heart for the love.

Don’t get me wrong there are many other factors that aid in the decision making process. They may be internal factors or external. An internal factor would be the thought behind a decision being made. An example would be social proof or urgency. An external factor would be the salesperson or loved one aiding in the thought process. It’s important to know that uncovering the problem or love is not enough to get the customer to buy. Primarily, it is the reason why they buy.

The Problem

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The problem is where most buying decisions are made. Solution based selling is the most effective way to sell. Essentially, that is where you uncover the problem or even create a problem you client didn’t even know they had (super effective) and offer solutions (more on why here). The decision will be made if the client is confident enough in your product or service, your company, and you as the salesperson. But no matter what you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, need to ask for the sale!

Now, most decisions are made to solve a problem or multiple problems. The key is to find and understand the problem. Finding the problem is difficult but most the time it relates back to if the salesperson is trained on how to uncover it and if they even care to do so. I want you to think back to the last 5 purchases you made and figure out if they solved a problem. If so, what problem(s) did they solve? If not, did you buy the product or service for love? I am going to give you some examples of my recent purchases and the problems they solved:

  1. New Laptop. The problem was my computer work would take forever and I had to be near an outlet because it always had to be plugged in. The new laptop solved those problems.
  2. Groceries. The primary problem was I had no more fresh food. The secondary problem was hunger. The third problem was I did not want to feel like a bum when my girlfriend came over with an un-stocked fridge.
  3. New couch. The issue was I needed a place to sit. I was moving from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished one and I am too old for bean bag chairs.
  4. Flower (Reactive). I got in an argument with my girlfriend and I was in the doghouse. I know flowers help me get out of the doghouse.

I know I mentioned earlier how you can create a problem that someone didn’t even know they had. This is such a massive topic and relates to many impulse buys and add-ons but I will go more in depth on this down the road. I’ll give you an example of when I purchased my laptop. If someone cared enough to find my problem they could have uncovered that it was speed and mobility. If they were a sales assassin they could have realized that and recommended a new Bluetooth mouse to go with my new laptop. They would have known that a laptop touch pad is very slow with responsiveness and click speeds (creating the problem I didn’t know I had). Next, they could have showed me the solution (Bluetooth mouse = speed and mobility). Boom instant impulse buy. This requires hard work and persistence. But this can make a total difference in your success with sales and dollar amount in your bank account.

The Love

The love is where most impulse buys and up-sells are made. Not only that but love plays into most buying decisions. The best time to use love to your advantage is with an up-sell. Show someone the upgraded version of a product or service they like and they are bound to fall in love. Emotions factor into buying decisions and is the driving force to pull the trigger. Most of the time upgrades and add-ons increase people’s confidence and love in their decision. Great time to strike while the iron is hot with add-ons too!

Don’t get me wrong love or pleasure is solely the main reason for many purchases. I think the majority of purchases due to love are experiences. Various experiences could be dates, vacations, concerts, etc. You don’t buy these because you have a problem of not going to them. You love your favorite band and want to see them for the fifth time. You love the feeling you get from traveling with your loved one and you want to experience it again. Love drives many buying decisions. What are some purchases you made out of love? Here are a few of mine:

  1. Vacation to Florida. I love going to Florida and it makes me feel happy when I go there.
  2. Went to the zoo. I love animals and seeing the different kinds of animals at the zoo.
  3. Upgraded to a higher quality laptop. The model below the one I purchased was faster than my old laptop and didn’t need to be plugged in but I didn’t love it (it solved my problem but I didn’t love it). I saw the upgraded version and fell in love. Decision made.
  4. Flowers (Proactive). I love my girlfriend and know that flowers make her happy.

A lot of people think that things like paintings and decor are out of love. I think they are primarily to solve problems but love has a major role. For instance, you would buy wall art because you had a blank wall or because your old art makes you remember your ex or something. The problem exists it’s just about how deep you go to find it and how persistent you are in solving it.

Poke the Pain or the Heart

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No matter what, it’s never enough to just uncover the problem or the love. You have to keep bringing it up. I call it poking it. Typically, you start doing this during the proposal phase, the closer, or with your follow up. These are little reminders to get people to remember why they are there. It helps take time out of the equation and to get people to make decisions now.

I had an elderly couple looking at a mattress one day. Their problem was back pain and not enough sleep. They got sticker shock because they hadn’t purchased a new mattress for over 15 years. They wanted to go and think about it aka leave and never come back. I agreed with where they were coming from (more on how agree-ability can help you close more sales here), and focused on poking the pain. I said “guys, you have had this mattress 15 years, hated it for the past 2 and are constantly in pain. Let’s just do this now so you don’t have to not sleep (ha get it?) on that painful mattress one more night!” Closed the sale and it was all because I persisted and continued to remind them of that horrible pain. They ended up loving the mattress and when I called them to see how they were loving it they said that it was worth every penny. Poke the pain or heart and you’ll get more sales. It’s as simple as that.

Why the Problem and Love go Hand in Hand

No matter what, the reasons why people buy go hand in hand. Purchases are very emotional decisions. Typically, you have to love or like the product or service, the company, or the salesperson. All three of these will be factored into every buying decision. For example, I may love an Under Armor shoe and the salesperson selling it to me. Most likely, I am not going to buy an Under Armor shoe because the last time I did I spent $100 and they fell apart in 2 months. The shoe even solves my problem of my feet not hurting. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything from that salesperson it just means that it’s the wrong brand or company.

Next, the salesperson may show me a pair of Nikes (my favorite brand) but if I don’t love them I won’t buy them. That is why love and emotion play into pretty much every buying decision.

Let’s break this down. My problem is not that I need shoes, I have shoes they are just run down. It’s not that I want a new pair of shoes, I would really prefer to not spend $100 if I don’t have to. My problem is my feet hurt when I wear my shoes. This shoe solves my problem because my feet don’t hurt and I like how they look. If I didn’t buy it means I didn’t love the shoe.

Sidebar: Most salespeople don’t even know what the problem is. They think “oh, this person is here because they need a new pair of shoes.” Far from it. The problem could be their feet kill them. The problem could be that they have no confidence because their shoes are run down and make them feel like a bum. The problem could be that the shoes reek like a dead raccoon that was set on fire and they don’t want to scare away their new crush. See what I mean? Find the actual problem because I can confidently tell you that most people would rather not blow their money on whatever it is you are selling. But they will spend any amount if you solve their problem the right way.

Finally, when people buy or get up-sold due to love, a lot of the time, they are also solving a problem. For instance, if you buy a $30,000 Mustang could solve the same problem that a $100,000 Tesla could solve. But, you love the feeling you get from that Tesla, the status, and the attention.

I know I was ranting there but I get passionate about this stuff! If you are still reading this I thank you for the patience. 🙂 This is where I understand that more times than not it’s not about a salesperson being bad… it’s about them not being properly trained! I love helping train people in sales because it is a I’m very good at it, it’s a wonderful profession, and you can make a ton of money. I love the satisfaction I get from either someone falling in love with sales, becoming a sales assassin, or to be able to help them improve their financial situation.

Everyone loves to give their two cents. Please comment with your two cents, I would love to hear it! Also, if you like this post please share and subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on anymore awesome content!

Be Great,

Cody Cameron