What changes in your organisation would create the greatest advantage for you?


The cost of getting the selection wrong is at least three, if not seven times salary

Coach or Train

What skills do your people need to make the greatest sustainable improvement?

The Psychology of Buying

Find a need and fill? Yeah right…

There’s a story about how a US manufacturer set up its operation somewhere in South America a long time ago. The people came to work dutifully each day: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On the following Monday, no one turned up. It prompted someone from the company to go to the villages to find out what happened.

It turned out that these people had earned more money during that week than they had ever dreamed of getting, the result of which was that they were able to buy what they wanted and didn’t need to go back to work to earn any more – until someone gave them all a Sears catalogue.(Sears, which later became Sears, Roebuck & Co)

The point of this story will surprise you. It’s not about finding a need and filling it. That method has merit and should not be discounted; however, it’s not the only way. In fact, it’s in the last 35 years or so that we’ve seen exactly the opposite.Instead, the story illustrates this: It’s only when people see what is available and how it can be used to help them that they realize that they have a need for it. But until that time, it will never have occurred to them.


Microsoft example

Microsoft was founded like this. Gates, Ballmer and others not connected with that company could see the technology developing. They knew what would soon be possible, and they were determined to get in at the beginning. But they didn’t wait for it to mature or for the market to recognize how it could help them before jumping in. 

In this day and age, that has to be your approach to selling. It has to be the way that you approach your prospects. You need to see their needs before they do, and then pitch to them accordingly.


The Enemy Below example

The movie, The Enemy Below, is largely about the psychological battle between two captains. Robert Mitchum commands a destroyer; Curt Jurgens a submarine. Each man is the best man for the job. Both are cunning and suspicious.

For reasons that are never explained, the submarine commander is bent on pursuing the same course: 1-4-0, and after each encounter with the destroyer, faithfully returns to it.

At one point, Mitchum breaks off the attack and then tries to anticipate what Jurgens will do. He asks his navigator to plot a course that will take them in one direction for a period of time, and then to intercept the enemy a bit later. This he does to the surprise of the German commander. (Don’t worry. There’s much more to the film than this.)



What can this teach you? It teaches that it’s possible to anticipate the behaviour of your prospects. That’s what the movie showed us. It’s also possible to provide your prospects with your solution before they know they need it. That’s what the catalogues did.

So the psychology is found in understanding why your prospects buy.


Why do people buy from you? Let’s turn this around? Why do you buy anything?

At this point, your brain will switch on and suddenly produce a reasoned and logical argument for why it spends your hard-earned money. But you know that that’s not how it works. Instead, your emotions tug at your heart until you give in. Only later does your head come up with the reasons.

Take something as simple as your weekly shopping. Do you make a list? Do you stick to it rigidly? Or are you drawn to some other things that look like fun, rather tasty, or worth trying?

Any, or all of those “reasons” have been thought of by the seller, and that entity is marketing directly to you – the buyer. It knows that just by being in your field of view that you will sell it to yourself; that you will somehow “feel” the need for it.


You can do the same thing with your prospects.

If you understand your prospects well enough, then you should be able to predict what their needs will be even before they know they have them or even before they actually occur, and then present them with a solution to a problem they don’t yet have.

If you can do that, then it will separate you from those who wait to find out what the needs of their prospects are before they actually do anything about it.


Want to know more about anticipating your buyers’ behaviour?  Contact us here

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