Why People Buy What They Buy

In an excerpt from their upcoming book, "Scorecard Marketing", authors Daniel Priestley and Glen Carlson explain the point behind the purchase.

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By Daniel Priestley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The underlying reason people buy anything is psychological tension. People feel a tension between what they have and what they want. They are living in their current reality but they have a desired reality in their mind that would somehow be better. People buy something to resolve this psychological tension.

A person who pays for a business coach does so because they feel psychological tension between the business they have and the business they imagine having in the future. They might have a business that is good by many people's standards but they feel chained to it. They feel that it's a bit too much hard work and they are the one who has to make every sale. One day they meet up with some parents at the school gate who have just been on a long international holiday with the family. The dissatisfaction builds up into a psychological tension. This tension drives them to buy something that might help resolve it.

Every customer who has ever bought from your business, did so to relieve a psychological tension they were experiencing. They imagined that life would be better after buying what you were offering.

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Know thy self AND thy patrons

I'm sure you recognized this in some of your customers but in many cases, you did not. There were many customers who did not tell you very much about themselves. They played down their reasons for buying from you. They talked about the features of your product or they focused on things like the price or the payment terms. They concealed their underlying psychological tension but you can be sure it was there.

The more your business understands this tension, the easier it is to make sales. Businesses that are clear about the tension they resolve for people create better marketing materials, they charge better prices, they have more powerful sales meetings and they deliver better products and services. Understanding this tension in your potential customers is important if you want to be successful in your business.

Pain, disappointment or dissatisfaction is a form of tension. It's based on something you have that you wish would stop or change. Desire, lust or longing is a different type of tension based on something you don't have but want. Frustration, annoyance or anger is tension that is based on something that is not working the way you imagine it should. All of these emotions are driven by an underlying tension.

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Workshop a client's worries

Imagine being able to look at a potential customer and see a dashboard glowing above their head telling you exactly what this tension was. Imagine an accountant who's talking to a business owner and above their head it says "Feeling 3 out of 10 for business finances caused by cashflow worries. Feeling 9 out of 10 for passion for the business due to enjoying the work they do". It would be very easy for the accountant to talk about ways this client could continue working in the industry while outsourcing their finances to the accounting firm.

Imagine what it would be like for you and your sales team to have access to this dashboard for every potential client you talk to. This data would speed up every sale, it would lead to better marketing campaigns and happier customers. It would allow you to raise you prices and measure the impact of your product.

Scorecard Marketing is a way of generating warm leads that come in with this data attached. Rather than just seeing people at a surface level, they will tell you what's driving them and give you data about themselves that reveals exactly why they want to buy something. You will clearly see the tension they are experiencing and be able to quantify it with numbers and zoom in on specific issues that they want to address.

Related: The Basics of Experimentation and Why It's Key to Your Startup's Growth

Daniel Priestley

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

CEO, Dent Global

Daniel Priestley is the author of four best-selling entrepreneurship books. He's the co-founder of Dent Global, a leading business accelerator and marketing tech platformScoreApp.

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