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Why People Buy: Part 1, A Better Future

Why People Buy: Part 1, A Better Future

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
1 min read

When I started my selling and marketing career way back when, I began asking a question that you’ve probably thought before:

How can I sell this?

Over the years, I’ve learned it’s the wrong question. The right question is quite different in that it’s not about me at all, it’s about my client. The right question is:

Why would my client buy this?

There are other questions that your sales process must answer, like how and when they prefer to buy. But the key to positioning your service is to think from your client’s point of view.

My wife and I buy Jet Dry, which leaves our dishes spotless after they’ve been through a dishwashing cycle. I assume the dishes are perfectly clean without using Jet Dry, but we prefer them spotless nonetheless. Spotless dishes feel cleaner than dishes with water spots (emphasis on “feel”). When the dishes feel cleaner, our kitchen feels cleaner. When our kitchen feels cleaner, our house feels cleaner, and that gives us both a sense of pride. Buying Jet Dry is about much more than spotless dishes – it’s about having pride in our home.

To summarize: the rational reason we buy Jet Dry is to have spotless dishes; the emotional reason we buy Jet Dry is to feel pride in our home. Both are desirable.

Why people buy is a complicated question, but I can summarize it in a single sentence:

People buy a better a future.

Every time someone buys your service, it’s to reach a version of the future that is obviously, and often quantifiably, better than right now.

The more attractive the future state that you can provide, the more likely your prospects are to buy from you. Unpacking this a bit, there’s a difference between why people buy at all, why people buy from you, and how much they decide to buy. But it’s all predicated first and foremost on reaching a better future.

Are you giving your clients a better future? Are you telling them specifically what it is?