Sales: What motivates a customer to purchase?

Contrary to what most of us believe, our purchases are largely motivated by our emotions and justified by our logic after. It is not vice versa, and the order rarely changes. Companies know this very well and have been using various strategies to make us buy goods and services. And sales is not just a mundane process. If you read my blogs, you know my position regarding this topic – sales is an art form. It is a process that mixes psychology, neuroscience, and negotiation, among others. Hence, multiple psychological triggers have a direct effect on whether your customer buys or not.

A purchase is driven by customer emotions and justified by logic later.
An emotional moment, actually… (Photo by Anna Shvets on

Today, I wanted to start by reviewing the four most common psychological triggers. They have been the basis of sales for decades. Most likely, you have come across them frequently when buying. Some of you may have not even noticed them. Knowing these, however, can help you in two ways. Firstly, you will become a more conscious buyer, understanding the sales process when you are a part of it much better than before. And secondly, you can apply them in your own sales process with your customers. The key is to use them wisely, especially when dealing with customers of high conscientiousness.  

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Fear

Fear is one of the emotions that drives a customer to make a purchase.
“Oh no! I can’t miss Black Friday!” (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Ooo – the big one! Fear triggers the fight-or-flight response. It also triggers purchases. Ever heard of something called FOMO? The abbreviation stands for the Fear Of Missing Out. You know that feeling you get when you never want to be absent from any event you consider important? Have you never wished to be in two different places simultaneously? That is the fear of missing out – being scared that you have not participated in that next big thing. A customer is more likely to purchase an item due to the fear of missing out on something important to him if the purchase did not happen.

“This house is in one of the fastest-developing neighborhoods in our town. A lot of new infrastructure is planned to be built here. Also, some companies from upstate are considering moving their offices here.”

This is a great example of a marketing message that plays on people’s fear of missing out. It paints the picture of future regret if you miss this great opportunity right now. In frank translation: “You could be living in an incredible house in a highly-demanded neighborhood if you decide to buy it. If you choose not to, you will waste the opportunity of a lifetime. It will never present itself again, at least for the same price.” Is there a promise to it all? No, but this is about taking your money primarily. 

2. Urgency

“Quick! That offer is about to run out!” (Photo by Achraf Alan on

Time is money! You better be used to me being a proponent of this commandment by now. Time is also pressuring leverage. In combination with FOMO, you could be pushed into a quick purchase simply because there is a need to act now. If you do not act now, you will lose value. And it is a fact that we pay much more attention to what we stand to lose rather than what we are bound to gain. Rushed decisions are often regretted. Urgency is part of why. Therefore, a customer is more likely to purchase an item if the better terms offered with that purchase have a time limit. 

Here is a good example.

“Bitcoin is at an all-time low right now. This is the best time to act and invest. Don’t miss out!”

In frank transaction: “Quick! Buy some Bitcoin. This is a perfect price and from here on forth it will only be growing! Do not miss another day.” Again, is there a guarantee? Absolutely not. Bitcoin may as well never recover, or even fall further below the price you purchased it. But the more time a customer has to think, the higher the chance they will never return to give you their money. 

3. Scarcity

Scarcity is another psychological trigger that drives a customer to make a purchase.
As rare as diamonds… (Photo by Pixabay on

If the supply of a product is limited when the demand rises, it makes logical sense that the price will increase too. But the fact that the supply is limited also triggers you to purchase that product due to the fear of it running out. Think about how apathetically we normally view a bottle of water. “Meh, whatever. Water is infinite and can be purchased from any kiosk or supermarket.” Now compare this thought to what you imagine happens in the brain of someone who is lost in a dry, sunny desert. Suddenly, that person is willing to give all he has for that bottle of water. 

Therefore, a customer is more likely to purchase an item if it is extremely rare to find, and it runs out very fast with long periods of out-of-stock. New models of iPhones, diamonds, gold, unique artwork, rare collectibles, and goods sanctioned in your country are all perfect examples of things you could be triggered to purchase due to their scarcity (depending on the depth of your pockets, of course). To use this psychological trigger, companies sometimes purposefully limit the amount of a product available to stir the hype, justify the price, and push sales. 

4. Commitment

Without commitment, a customer will be less likely to make a purchase. This holds especially true for products and services that get the customer some desired results over time and effort.
Can’t do without commitment when you are selling a continuous product or service with a distant goal (Photo by Victor Freitas on

Finally, unless you tie your product into your customer’s emotional journey, you are not as sales oriented as you think. Before a customer can call the product “mine,” hundreds of doubtful thoughts may run through his head. Some of those are related to the product and others to the self. You can actually address both! In other words, the customer is more likely to purchase an item if he commits to the effects he desires to get from that purchase. Let’s put all this into a wonderful example.

Imagine your product is a weight loss program. Getting someone to buy something like that comes with several obstacles. Nothing is as much friction, however, as the person’s own commitment to achieving the goal of weight loss. You have to face it – it is no easy feat at all. If you can drive the motivation towards that commitment, you can not only sell your product but also empower your customer. He needs to visualize himself with the result that he desires (slim and fit) after using the product that you sell. So that elephant needs to be brought out into the room, and you need to help the customer commit if you want to close that deal. 

These are the four basic psychological triggers in sales. There are others, and I will discuss them in the future. But to end this blog post on an entertaining note, I will demonstrate how we can use all four. For this, let’s imagine I am selling you my sales workshop:

Looking to be a sales master? Join my sales mastery workshop! This workshop is not a passive offline course. It is a never-before, unique online session with practical examples involving all the participants. Also, it will not be recorded due to its exclusivity. If you are looking for a life-changing knowledge upgrade, this is it – there is no way you could invest your time better. To really come out on top with your sales game, you will need to bring 3 things: focus, dedication, and grit. After that, you can wave goodbye to your financial stress. Oh, and if you complete your purchase within 24 hours, you will get 50% off as a special offer for early enrolment. 

Sales and money
Enroll today! (Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on


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