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Questioning Techniques to Identify Buyers' Needs & Motivations

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  • 0:04 Why Do People Buy?
  • 1:00 Five Essential Motives
  • 1:52 Ask Smart Questions
  • 3:00 Example
  • 4:14 Be Sincere
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

When you are going in for the close, it is very important that you know the exact needs and motivations of your buyer. Read this lesson to learn what kinds of questions you can use to figure this out.

Why Do People Buy?

As a sales rep, you know just how important the close is. But to get to that longed-for sale, you need to match your product to the needs of your potential buyer. You need to know why your potential customers are buying the things they do. Without this information, you'll find it that much more difficult to get to that successful sale. Buyer needs and motivations are the reasons why buyers buy the things they do.

The people that end up buying usually have a need or want to be satisfied. There's a motive or reason behind their purchase. As an example of how this works, imagine yourself as a sales rep selling big screen televisions. One customer purchases a large screen TV because he wants to impress his friends when they come over to watch the game. Another customer purchases using the special deal you have because she wants to save money on a large screen TV. Other buyers have other reasons but each has a reason that works for them.

Five Essential Motives

There are actually five essential motives that drive people's buying choices:

The first is money. Some people make purchases based on money, such as when they want to save. This can also include buying quality items that will last the customer over time. Other people make purchases to make themselves feel more secure, by protecting things like property and loved ones. Another reason people buy is to gain enjoyment from their purchase. This could be in the form of good food, entertainment, and things that make the customer feel attractive. Another motive behind purchasing is the desire to protect oneself from pain or stress. Think of all the products out there that are meant to save time. Lastly, people make purchases for a sense of approval, based on the expectations of society, friends, and family.

Once you know what motivates your buyer, you can then match them with the right benefits of your product.

Ask Smart Questions

It's not always easy and clear what motivates someone. In order to find out exactly what your potential buyer is looking for, you'll need to ask some smart questions. Using the technique of going from broader to more specific questions will allow you to build a rapport with your customer and get the big picture of their needs.

To begin, you can start to gauge their needs by asking what brought the customer to the store. You might ask:

  • Have you shopped here before?
  • Can I help you find something in particular?

If the customer tells you what they are looking for, then you can go on with questions related to the product. These questions will be specific to the product, such as:

  • What features are you looking for?
  • What will you use the product for?

Sometimes, a particular product will have different versions with different price points. Next, you can try to figure out what your customer's budget is. You can ask questions like:

  • Are you looking for a top-of-the-line model or a more basic one?
  • Do you have a price point in mind?

Here are some additional questions you might ask:

  • What is your buying criteria?
  • What do you like about the product you are currently using and what would you like improved?
  • How soon do you need the product?

Example

Now imagine that a customer comes in and starts to look at one of the smart TVs. In order for you to get a sale, you need to match a TV to your customer's needs. You listen to your customer as she begins to tell you what she's looking for. She says she's looking for a TV that will connect with her laptop and will play her various streaming services. Listening carefully, you now have some idea of what her needs are. But you can pinpoint it even more by asking her your smart questions. You might ask:

  • Do you currently subscribe to cable? If not, do you watch TV via a satellite?
  • How do you picture yourself using this television?
  • Do you have a price point in mind?

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