Compelling Reasons We Buy Stuff

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Let’s define “compelling.” One take, from Merriam-Webster is “causing you to feel that you must do something.”

How juicy is that? If you’re in marketing or sales I hope to have pulled you away from Candy Crush for a few minutes. We’re going to look at a 12-pack of the real reasons people and their money get separated — emotions.

So before we get on with today’s list, please dispel with the myth that you practice the sport of changing minds. You don’t. If you’re an effective seller of stuff (technically speaking), you really don’t do much or any brainwashing. Your success comes from tapping into feelings. Human emotions. You don’t create them because they’re already there.

Many call them hot buttons. Your job is to press them. Don’t make the mistake of believing it’s rationale we rely on to make decisions. Louis Vuitton doesn’t create data sheets for their $1,000 handbags. They create completely irrational pulses of leathery lust for a logo that says “luxury.”

Here are 12 desires you need to use to trip buyers’ triggers.

1. Control

We want to be in control of our relationships, health, finances, jobs, pets, toys, environments — and everything else that matters to us. What don’t you want more control of?

We’ll fight like hell to avoid surrendering control. This is why we fear change. However, as marketers, we aim to affect change. Consider the all-powerful control button when you write content of any kind. Promise to put the reader in control of his or her destiny. Provide choices and options for getting in and getting out.

2. Belonging

Want to fit in? Welcome to the club. Marketers must heed the human need to belong. We are social animals looking to connect. We long to put our trust in others. We want to share our experiences. We need validation.

The words you choose should assure readers they’re in the right place. Make it clear they’re amongst others with similar challenges. Make your readers comfortable. Give ’em some group therapy.

3. Time

Our most precious asset is limited. You might be capable of saving your customers a variety of things, but you’ll never top time.

Respect your reader’s time by getting to the point. Respect how your customers value their time by offering ways to use it wisely. Assure them what you have to say or offer is worth their time. Preview time commitments by revealing how much time something will take. In every possible way, put time on your side.

4. Love

As you know, sex sells. Love trumps it though. It lasts longer and means more. It’s fragile. Powerful. Priceless. A long list of adjectives could go here.

“… And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” ~ Lennon and McCartney

Ain’t it the truth? Spread some love with the words you write. Help people find it and keep it. I wish I could tell you exactly how it’s done. I can’t. Your best bet is to do it any way you know how.

5. Achievement

We’re competitive beasts forever fixated on scaling higher heights.

Philosophical types often say it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most. Psychological types will call bullshit on that one. Sorry philosophers — in marketing, psychology wins.

Tap into the individual’s quest for achievement. Define it how you like… victory, money, power, sway. The achievements will vary. The human desire to achieve will not.

6. Discovery

“Dead” is the best way to describe someone who no longer has an appetite for discovery? The joy of finding new things is absolutely universal.

Think about how much pleasure you get from discovering the latest, greatest product, or story, or movie, or album — or anything that floats your boat. Why? You want to be the wise one to spread the gospel.

Tap into this desire. Present a new idea, a new twist, even a new application for an old product. Deliver your message with a touch of the unexpected and you’ll produce a message destined to be shared.

7. Fun

How dull would life be without fun? In a world of predictability and repetitiveness, our lust for fun is undeniably powerful.

Can you offer your prospects a break from the same-old-same-old? You should and you must.

Inject your marketing with a sense of escape. Be funny. Promise stress-relief. Add a gaming element (often called “gamification”) to whatever you can. Give your prospects something to play with and they will play along.

8. Influence

Influence is positively intoxicating.

Draw people in with possibilities to be more influential. Promise to give them the tools: expertise, reach, charisma, attention and recognition.

9. Knowledge

We all want to become smarter and have the knowledge others seek. You got into this article to tap into my knowledge and you made is this far because you’re learning (I hope).

Craft your sales and marketing messages with this angle in mind. Be a teacher. Be a student. Be generous with your experience. When it comes to writing headlines, you simply can’t outperform the powerful pull of knowledge.

10. Peace

How are you feeling? Are you at one with the world and experiencing the bliss that comes with complete peace of mind? I didn’t think so. Maybe we can’t have perfect peace, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting it.

I don’t want to encourage you to promise what you can’t deliver, but almost any solution can provide baby steps toward some sort of solace. Try to help your prospects smooth their seas.

11. Creativity

Maybe it’s the opinion of a “creative,” but I say creativity doesn’t make the hot button hall of fame the way it should. I believe even the world’s most hopelessly left-brained soul is attracted to the notion of expanding their creativity.

And what is creativity? You can be endlessly creative with your definition. Creativity need not be inventing a global game-changer or paving an amazing new path. Creativity can simply be creating something. Think about the perceived limitations of your audience and suggest ideas for busting a barrier, whatever that barrier may be.

12. Satisfaction

sat·is·fac·tion — noun — The fulfillment or gratification of a desire, need, or appetite.

Is this one too easy or obvious? Who cares? Until your target market is done imagining a better life, you’re in the dream fulfillment business.

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