What Motivates Your Prospect to Buy?

A good prospect will have some unresolved business or personal issues.  Sales trainers commonly call this the prospect’s “pain.”  It’s the difference between the prospect’s current reality (situation) and tomorrow’s expectations – the difference between what they have and what they want.  If the gap is wide enough, they will take action.  If it’s not, they will decide to live with the problem.

Motivation typically falls into one of three categories.  The prospect wants to…

  • Resolve a pressing business or personal problem (pain).
  • Achieve something that would improve their situation (gain).
  • Avoid something that has the potential to damage them (fear).

Curiosity is not a motivator!

If none of these are present, you do not have a prospect.  They will not invest in your product or service because there would not be a benefit to them.  Politely disengage from these folks quickly as they will do nothing but waste your time.

Two other important characteristics of motivation are that it’s always personal, and it must be important enough to take action.  If there is no personal motivation…if your prospect is not impacted personally by the problem…there is no reason to do anything.  That will seldom be the case, but if it is, you will need to find the person(s) who is impacted by the problem.

Motivation always relates to one (or more) of the following issues:

  • Time – (will resolving the problem give me or my staff enough extra time to do other things; to be more productive?)
  • Money – (will it save me significant money or create significant additional revenue?)
  • Security – (will it provide me with more financial, personal, or job security?)
  • Status – (will it improve my status with my peers and my superiors?)

Problems always fall into one of two general categories:

  • Business (or personal) problems – (our sales are off; we need to improve our company’s image; we need to fund our retirement better; etc.)
  • Product or process problems – (we need to decrease the backorder rate on our widgets; our current accounting system is not geared up to meet our growing revenue; etc.)

Self-Study Assignment:  Review the top five prospects you are currently working with.  Determine for each what their motivation is (resolve, achieve, or avoid), which issue(s) it relates to (time, money, security, or status), and which category the problem falls into.  This will give you much greater insight into why they might buy from you.