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Understanding the Customer Buying Motives

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Jun 24, 2022

Knowing and understanding your prospect's buying motives allows you to make better decisions on whether to engage and pursue a potential sales opportunity.


Before I decided to pursue a business degree in college (yes, I know that was a long time ago), I briefly pondered studying psychology. I find some aspects of that field to be quite interesting in terms of understanding the things that drive people to make the decisions they make. In sales, I think about how to use this to understand customer buying motives. The great Dr. Sigmund Freud is credited with uncovering the pain-pleasure principle, which says that most decisions people make in their life are driven by the desire to avoid pain or obtain pleasure.

Think about that for just a minute and how far-reaching that is in your life. If you decided to get up early this morning and exercise, that was probably driven by the desire to avoid the pain of bad health. If you had a big helping of biscuits and gravy for breakfast this morning (don’t judge me) that was driven by the desire to obtain pleasure. If you are putting off having a difficult conversation with a co-worker, that is quite likely being driven by the decision to avoid the pain of a challenging discussion.

But what about your prospects? How much do you know about the buying motives of your prospects? Dr. Freud would say his pain-pleasure principle still applies. If you have been exposed to even a small amount of Anthony Cole Training Group content, then you know that we are huge believers in asking two questions of all prospects:

  1. Do you have a problem?
  2. Do you have to fix it?

When we teach advanced selling techniques, we go one step further – we dig into what is going to motivate that prospect to make their decision. And we know that since change is hard, the easiest thing for a prospect to do is nothing. Not making a decision is making a decision, and that decision is often influenced by taking the path of least resistance, which is to maintain the status quo.

As it turns out, your most significant competitive threat may not be coming from one of your competitors. It might be PI, what I call prospect indifference, or just keeping with the status quo. And what would motivate a prospect to make that decision? Because it is an easy decision, the prospect can avoid the pain of change as well as the change of delivering unpleasant news to the existing service provider.

Think about your prospects or customers’ buying motives on your next sales call. It will allow you to make better decisions on whether to engage with a prospect. After all, shouldn’t one of your motives be to understand your prospect’s motives?

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Topics: advanced sales techniques, buying motives, customer buying habits

Mastering Advanced Sales Techniques: A Tribute to Meat Loaf

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Feb 04, 2022

When developing a salesperson’s advanced selling skills, it's important to focus on not only what the prospect says but also what the prospect doesn’t say.


As many of you know, I am a music aficionado…and as such, I would be remiss if I did not note the passing a few weeks ago of the singer Meat Loaf at 74 years of age. Born with the name Marvin Lee Aday, Meat Loaf sold more than 65 million albums worldwide.

He also has something to teach us in terms of mastering advanced sales techniques around the topic of having clarity with the prospects in our pipeline. Go ahead and sing along with me:

And all I can do is keep on telling you
I want you
I need you
There ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
Cause two out of three ain't bad

Now while the name of that song is “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”, we can also refer to this as “The Dance of the Prospect.” Maybe it brings to mind a recent deal you chased. You know, the one you were sure you were going to win right up until the moment that you lost. I doubt you will disagree with me when I say that prospects can be quite elusive and quite vague when you meet with them.

When we are working to develop a salesperson’s advanced selling skills, we focus on not only what the prospect says but also what the prospect doesn’t say. Here is what they often say and all of this is enticing bait for salespeople:

  • We have heard good things about your company
  • We are open to new ideas
  • We think you might be able to help us
  • We would love to see in writing what you could do for us

That is your prospect saying, “and all I can do is keep on telling you…I want you…I need you”. But what you might need to consider is what they are not telling you, which is “there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you.”

But hey – for all you salespeople…don’t be sad. After all, two out of three ain’t bad.

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Topics: advanced sales training, advanced selling skills, advanced sales techniques


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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