The Guide Selling System™

What Motivates a Buyer?

Apr 25, 2023

Why does a client choose to work with us? There is no shortage of methodologies and selling systems, but what motivates a buyer?

There must be a compelling reason for them to move against homeostasis and expend mental energy toward solving the problem or improving their situation.

What motivates a buyer to act?

Is pain still the driver? 

The well-worn phrase, "no pain, no sale," comes to mind. But is it still valid? Everyone's pain tolerance increased due to the pandemic. Does pain still drive motivation like it used to? Psychologically speaking, fear and pain are leading motivators for change. Or, more specifically, ending suffering is the driver. What ultimately moves people away from suffering?

One person's pain is not the same as another's. The Jolt Effect taught us that driving pain sometimes hurts our selling efforts. Their groundbreaking research introduced us to Indecision bias instead of Status Quo. Using the traditional approach of focusing on pain has a negative effect on a buyer dealing with Indecision. Using pain reduces your wins by 87%.

Is it relationships? 

The Challenger sales model made us rethink this one. Many jumped off the bandwagon and started "disrupting" the process without knowing what they were doing. Sometimes, "insights" became synonymous with information and were as fresh as last week's all-you-can-eat buffet.

Would you take a long, arduous journey with someone you don't like? The Navy Seals have a rule prioritizing team, mutual respect, and trust over skills. What does that say about how we must show up?

Perhaps you've heard it said, "They don't have to like you to buy from you." But is that true? Dig a little deeper; if the journey is longer than a month or two, you must have some rapport and respect. No one is going to work with a jerk voluntarily.

It's not so much that they don't need to like you; your need to be liked hurts your performance. I'd like to see a case where a client didn't like the person they hired and had a successful outcome. I'm ready to have my thinking challenged by an actual situation where the buyer didn't like the person they hired.


What motivates the buyer to act? It depends. Ha! Nice cop-out answer, right?

If you think about it, there is so much volatility and variance in everyone's life. The only answer can be it depends. Or, use a long list of potential reasons. And, all those are not enough.


The real question is, "What is the best way to help our clients?"

We need a new mindset to show up differently. As obvious as it sounds, our focus must be on the buyer, their interests, their goals, and how we can help them win their buyer. Our job is to guide them to the right decision for them.

We are now responsible for opting out early if we are not the right fit. We raise our hands first to opt-out. If the client wants to catch bass and I'm a trout expert (I wish!), I need to be the first to object.

Enter, The Guide Seller, a new buyer-centric system for helping clients reach their best decision. Notice that the word is "helping clients reach their best decision," not "selling your solution." Obviously, we need to sell products to keep our business venture operational. However, all buyer surveys point toward the reduction of interactions with salespeople. They want omnichannel, multi-channel, and digital-enhanced options other than dealing with a salesperson. Our commission breath and selfish behavior are repelling the buyers. 

However, we also know that people frequently make the wrong decisions or need help understanding their best route to a goal. Thus, the need for the Guide Seller. A modern professional salesperson without all the baggage. One that steps in and adds value.