Would you prefer to avoid pain or gain rewards?
Imagine you are on the second floor of a building and I asked you to jump. Would you? Probably not.
Why? Because most likely you would break a leg but hey what’s a broken leg, it would heal in six weeks. Even more reason you wouldn’t want to jump.
What if I offered you $100,000 or a million dollars to jump, would you? You might say to yourself, “Heck yeah, I’d jump for a million dollars, after all, the broken leg will heal in six weeks.”
What if there was a raging fire on the second story of the building and the only way to save yourself would be to jump. Yes you might end up with a broken leg but surely jumping out the window is better than being burnt to death.
What can we learn from this example?
We are motivated by two things. To avoid pain or gain rewards.
The million dollars presented an opportunity to gain a reward so we would be motivated to jump. On the other hand, the fire represented massive pain so we would be motivated to jump to avoid the pain.
Without pain or pleasure motivating us to jump, we would quite happily sit in our comfort zone and stay on the second floor of the building knowing we could leave anytime we wanted.
Have you heard of something called homeostasis? Chances are you haven’t – yet this is what motivates buyers to buy from you.
Homeostasis is the body’s desire for equilibrium. It’s a natural instinctive function that the human body uses to maintain balance. The liver, kidneys and brain all help maintain homeostasis and is essential to our survival. It maintains a constant internal environment, which can be thought of as being our comfort zone. This is what drives human behavior and is the basis of buyer motivation. It’s that desire to return to equilibrium by avoiding pain or gaining rewards that returns us to our comfort zone. That’s what motivates us to buy.
We instinctively don’t like being out of balance. Let me explain.
- When we are cold we shiver. Shivering is a symptom that we are cold. We don’t like it so we put on warmer clothes or turn on a heater so that we return to our comfort zone.
- When we are hot we sweat. Sweating is a symptom that we are hot and again we don’t like it so we want to cool down so we can return to our comfort zone.
- When we are hungry we get hunger pains and so we eat and then we feel satisfied again. The hunger pains are a symptom that we need to eat.
We don’t like pain so we will do anything to avoid it. This is far more motivating than gaining rewards. A smaller percentage of people would be more motivated by rewards. Take the lottery for example. Why do millions of people buy lottery tickets? They are motivated by the rewards a lottery win would bring. Although a lottery win is a reward, the motivation can also be to take away pain. The pain of not being able to afford to put food on the table, or pay your bills. So even the motivation of seeking out an opportunity can be underpinned by avoiding pain.
This is exactly what buyers go through when making buying decisions. They want the pain of problems they are facing to go away or they want to realize the pleasure they gain when an opportunity presents itself.
Simplistically – buyers are motivated by two things, avoid pain or gain rewards.
Pain or Pleasure motivates people to buy?
In the diagram above, you can see that the comfort zone will vary from person to person. Some people have a bigger comfort zone than others. It’s not until the pendulum is pushed way outside a person’s comfort zone towards the pain or pleasure zones, that they want to take action and buy the solution that takes away their pain or gives them the pleasure of a reward.
When a buyer experiences pain in their business, it manifests itself by way of a problem. That problem presents itself as symptoms that something is wrong. Perhaps it’s a budget deficit, a decrease in sales, customers leaving or increased customer complaints.
Pain in someone’s personal life might be weight gain, health problems, lack of a social life or marriage problems.When the pain gets strong enough, a buyer will want to do something about it. The further the pendulum moves into the pain zone, the more motivated a buyer is to want to take action to make the pain go away.
Let’s say you are single and you spot someone across the other side of the room and they catch your eye. Here is an opportunity to perhaps meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Except you are slightly out of shape. So now you are really motivated to look the very best that you can be, yet before this opportunity came along, you didn’t care about being out of shape.
This new person in your life really motivates you to want to go to the gym and eat healthy foods because you want to look your best. In business, an opportunity might be to acquire a new business that’s on the market at a cheap price or launch a new product, open another branch or even bid for a lucrative tender. If the opportunity is great enough, it will entice you take some kind of action to realize the benefits from stepping outside your comfort zone.
How to find a buyers pain or pleasure
The more the pendulum swings away from the buyers comfort zone towards problems or opportunities, the more they are motivated to buy. Your role is to move the buyer from their comfort zone into the pain and pleasure zones through the art of asking effective questions. Unless you find out what a buyer’s pain or pleasure is (needs), you have nothing to sell them. They will not be motivated to buy.
A simple technique to find buyer needs is to ask ASBP Questions. This stands for:
Asking As Is Questions is like talking to someone who is lost. You want to know where they are at this given point of time. You want to find out what’s going on with them in their personal or professional life or what’s going on in their business. You are looking for symptoms that points to a problem or opportunity.
Should Be Questions delve deeper into what problems or opportunities they might be experiencing. For example, not all buyers are actually aware of problems or opportunities until someone (like a salesperson) points it out to them. Asking a question about what the future looks like to them if they didn’t have problems or opportunities gives you a clue as to what their dominant buying motive is.
Barrier Questions really gets into the nitty gritty of what’s going on in their personal and professional lives or in their business. When you ask the buyer what’s stopping them from getting to the next level, often you will find out the real problems or opportunities they are facing. At this stage they are more likely to open up because now they have to think about what is causing their problems or the opportunities. Barrier questions helps to identify where the blockages are and how big their comfort zone is. This is why they need your products or services to unblock what is holding them back.
Pay Out Questions will identify what their target goal is. What’s their ideal? What’s their vision for the future?
By asking ASBP questions, you should be able to identify what a buyers pain or pleasure is so that you can now tailor your products and services to take away their problems or help them realize an opportunity which ultimately helps achieve their target goals.
On a final note
Asking As Is Should Be Barrier and Pay Out questions will significantly increase your ability to uncover buyer needs so that you can tailor solutions that will take away their problems or help them realize opportunities.
In A Nutshell
- Homeostasis is the desire to return to equilibrium (comfort zone)
- Buyers are motivated by two things, to avoid pain (problems) or gain rewards (opportunities)
- Without uncovering what a buyers problems or opportunities are, you have nothing to sell them
- The further the pendulum swings towards the pain or pleasure zones, the more a buyer is motivated to buy
- our products and services that will take away the pain or help them gain a reward
- Asking effective questions will uncover buyer needs and highlight what their dominant buying motive is so you can move them outside their comfort zone
- Once you know what the buyers problems or opportunities are, you can then tailor your solutions accordingly