Understanding why people buy…anything.
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Understanding why people buy...anything.

June 13, 2022

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

When it comes to advising clients to change course or do something new we should remember the reasons why people buy anything, including “advice”.  If we want our advice to be effective (and lead the client to do something better than they are currently doing) then it is best to make sure it is clearly linked to their most likely motivation.


There are four basic motivators for the overwhelming majority of people which will lead them to make a decision to change direction, and they are:

1.  a Desire

2. a Problem

3.  a Need

4.  a Frustration


Amongst those will be the essence of why people say they are buying a solution or a product.  Our advice ideally will be addressing at least one of these four primary motivators if we want them to act upon the advice.


While it is true that these are the key motivators that we can see, humans remain fundamentally emotional creatures in the main.  The motivators have a foundation in logic or rationale, but it is base emotions which drive people to change direction.


We become most successful at helping clients make better decisions when we understand which dominant emotion will carry the most appeal for them.  To be most effective in the sales process – or coaching process – you have to position the benefits of change (broadly speaking) as something which appeal to one of these three emotions, as they tend to drive most financial decisions:







It is rarely about the logic when it gets down to final decision time….the primary motivators are the rationale used to justify a decision, but the decision itself is determined by an emotional trigger.


Pretty much every decision that a potential client will make about their money, or financial planning needs, will be driven by their desire to avoid loss or pain; their desire to obtain something they don’t currently have which they desire; or; their desire to do their best for someone they love.


To be incredibly effective at helping clients make better financial decisions and change directions we need to position advice to tap into at least one of the main motivators, as that provides the rationale they want.  To get them to act upon that advice appeal to one of the primary emotions. 


These are the logical and emotional reasons why people buy anything.


You might also be interested in this related article:
The Words We Use Can Make Or Break The Sale
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