Salespeople know that presenting a list of features for a product or service isn’t enough to make a sale. Instead, they understand that it’s essential to focus on the benefits of the product or service and how it solves
a problem. In other words, it’s the difference between selling the sizzle or the steak.
Similarly, it’s important for marketers to understand why people buy. This is so the content they create supports the sales effort and appeals to the prospect or customer’s proverbial “hot buttons” or desire to know “What will it do for me?”
To accomplish this goal, Roy Chitwood, the president of the sales training and consulting firm Max Sacks International from 1976-2015, identified six universal buying motives. They are:
- Desire for gain: This is one of the most powerful buying motives. What business professional doesn’t want to acquire more customers and gain market share, and add more revenue and profit to the bottom line?
- Fear of loss: Some people will do anything to avoid defeat, injury or failure of any kind. In business, the fear of loss missed opportunities, customer attrition or lost market share.
- Comfort and convenience: At an organizational level, decisions based on comfort have to do with the quality and attractiveness of work spaces and facilities. Additionally, these decisions are based on the relationships that are established over time. People who make buying decisions based on convenience look at purchase terms, business processes, accessibility to staff, inventory availability, etc.
- Security and protection: Whether a product or service is intended to reduce, minimize or prevent crime, terrorism, corruption, financial loss or some other breach, the resolution provides peace of mind.
- Pride of ownership: Executives don’t buy a Rolls Royce because they need to get from point A to point B. They buy these and other types of luxury items because of ego, pleasure and status. Also, they buy for the satisfaction of owning something that is coveted by others.
- Satisfaction of emotion: Simply put, people want to feel good about the purchases they make. The expression of this buying motive comes in many forms such as doing business with a company that has an established reputation, the joy that comes from doing something altruistic like volunteer work, and the contributing to the welfare or betterment of society.
Content: The Difference Between Selling the Sizzle or the Steak
Learning, understanding and applying these buying motives help companies create compelling content to achieve their business goals. This is true for both sales and marketing.