People Buy in Their Own Time for Their Own Reasons

by Jacques Werth

This may be the single most important buying concept that most salespeople never learn.

  • People don’t buy because you convinced them.  Persuasion creates resistance.
  • People don’t buy because you think they need what you are selling, even if you are right.
  • People don’t buy because you create an urgency.
  • People don’t buy because you need to make a sale.
  • People don’t buy because they are interested.

Prospects who are merely “interested” are not ready to buy.  Yet, salespeople try to get prospects interested in their products and services.  Those salespeople believe that educating prospects is a good sales strategy, and that a prospect will feel obligated in some way.  However, this makes the prospect feel uncomfortable.  Therefore, when prospects really are ready, willing, and able to buy, they seldom buy from the salesperson who educated them.

The good news is that, at any given time, a small percentage of the market for your type of products and services is ready, willing, and able to buy.  The best salespeople know how to find them and close sales with them quickly.  Meanwhile, the other salespeople are spending their time with prospects that are not ready to buy.

People Buy in Their Own Time for Their Own Reasons

10 thoughts on “People Buy in Their Own Time for Their Own Reasons

  1. Jacques

    That’s a great observation about buying behaviour, and a well warranted indictment on “typical” sales behaviour as well.

    Another key point is that customers are usually “in the land of the looking” as Steve Bosworth put it.. in other words, they are already informed and in many cases have already talked to your competitors as well.

    Therefore it makes sense that the market for your products is best reached not through coercion or even education but conversation and sincerity. If the deal makes sense, it will happen and it will be the best thing for both parties. If not, then it was again, the best thing for both parties.

    Don F Perkins

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  2. Mike Les says:

    In other words, actual customers sell and close themselves before a salesman even comes on the scene. If prospects are already aware of a particular product or service and how and where to obtain it, then there is really nothing for the sales person to do but take the order or else move on.
    Problem is, most sales organizations believe that customer readiness plays an insignificant role in the process — that high pressure, frequent repeated contact, lengthy demos, informational seminars, telephone scripts, mailings, “selling the appointment,” and relentless CRM, can close any deal.
    A sales job applicant who said that “customers buy in their own time for their own reasons” would not be hired, and might even get an angry lecture on the way out for “wasting our time.” An employed salesman who told his manager the same thing would be fired, or at least told he is “not motivated,” not a “self-starter,” doesn’t “love money enough,” and most of all, isn’t “ready, willing, and able to SELL.”

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  3. You have a great blog here, however most sales training material available today is missing something serious.
    Being able to understand the different skill set required to make a major sale as opposed to a simple sale is the key. There is a very big difference in skill set between the two.
    More can be found on my blog. All the findings are based on serious years of research.

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    1. Hello Steve,

      I noted in one of your blog posts that you believe you “need to learn how to overcome objections.” We don’t advocate that route at all. Rather than overcoming objections, or giving in to them, we avoid provoking them in the first place. There are various articles about the basic ideas on this blog. The most complete one is “An Introduction to High Probability Selling

      We wish you successful selling.

      Carl Ingalls

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  4. Mike Les says:

    In addition to being in the “land of the looking,” as Don Perkins point out, customers are also often in the “land of the lonely.” They will happily spend as much time as possible in “conversation and sincerity” discussing your products and services (past, present and future), your competitors, corporate financial, marketing, and brand-management strategies, his family, recent travels, sports, the weather.
    You may possibly be able to establish a relationship, trust and respect out of this, but don’t expect it to grant you a significant competitive advantage. If a prospect can obtain the product or service elsewhere for lower cost and/or better quality, they will do so, and then tell you they hope you can respect their decision. It’s just business.
    So let’s take it easy on the “conversation” and attempted relationship-building. If almost always comes off as desperate, manipulative, controlling, approval-seeking, and you as lonely and bored.

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  5. Mike – We know how to find jobs where management does not care how you sell (as long as it is ethical) but they do care how much you sell. It takes good prospecting and selling skills to find those jobs.

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  6. Steve –
    I’ve sold nuts and bolts, horses, cars, fabricated plastics, over 100 million dollars worth of machines that automatically assemble semiconductor chips and circuit boards, and sales training services. The basic sales process has been the same in all cases, because personal motivations are the same for almost all prospects.

    However, as you suggested, multiple decision-makers and technology considerations add a great deal of complexity to major sales.

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  7. Mike Les says:

    If a salesman closes 20 deals a month in a business that pays $150 commissions, well, that’s a lot of work for $3,000 before taxes.
    What industries do you suggest are the best for those who have developed good selling skills, and which are likely the most profitable?

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  8. The following opinions are generalities. However, every opportunity is different. Thus, each should be evaluated on its own merits.

    The most lucrative industry we know of is Real Estate. However, in most cases, it only pays straight commission.

    Others, that are often very lucrative, and usually pay a salary plus commission:
    Capital equipment; and
    High tech software.

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