Ask SUCCESS: Why Do People Buy and How Can I Get Them to Buy from Me?

Ask SUCCESS is your place to get questions answered on how to market more effectively. In each issue, marketing expert Bob Serling is joined by another expert to answer your questions. Have a question you’d like answered? Just email it to [email protected]

Today’s question, submitted by Michelle Anton is: Why do people buy?


Bob Serling: To answer, I’ll introduce expert marketer Frank Kern.

Frank Kern: There are two reasons why people buy—but that assumes that they inherently want what you have to offer, and more specifically, they want the result of what your product provides. You can’t use any “magic” marketing or sales techniques to convince someone to buy something they don't inherently want.

With that in place, the two reasons people buy are trust and confidence. That is trust in the ability that you can deliver on the promises made, and confidence that the results that you help them achieve will be real and will live up to their expectations.

The best way to facilitate the sales process is to help them achieve results faster, in advance of asking them for money. For example, if someone wants to learn how to cook and you’re selling a cooking class, give customers a free introductory cooking lesson in advance of asking them to enroll in your class. You create trust that you know what you're talking about, and also confidence that if they continue to work with you, they'll get the results that they want.

Bob: So, it's more than just a sample. It's not like how Mrs. Fields used to pass out a small cookie piece so that you would taste it and think, “That's great.” That is a simple result, whereas your example of a cooking class is a better way to engage people and let them fully experience something.

Frank: When you’re personally talking with your prospect, find out what they want and the results they're looking for. Very few people ever take the time to do this; they just start talking about themselves, and how great they are. Go the extra mile to figure out exactly what your prospect wants and then demonstrate that you can help them by actually helping them. Then, the selling process becomes easy.

Bob: Let me just backtrack to what you said about people who only buy something they really want or need. From that perspective, I think the reason why people buy is to get a specific outcome – and they have to want that outcome like you said.

Where a lot of businesses go wrong is they try to sell their prospects a “company outcome” instead of a customer outcome. They try to sell them the bells and whistles or the great history of the company or some overinflated promise.

But people don't care about that really. They just care about the solution to their problem or achieving an important goal. So you have to act like you are your end customer and ask yourself, “What problem wakes my prospect up in the middle of the night?” The kind of problem that they think, “If I could solve that, my life would be a heck of a lot better.”

That's where a true customer outcome comes from, either solving a serious problem that people have or helping them achieve an important goal. If you can then craft your message around helping them achieve that outcome, and then deliver the experience of getting that outcome to them in advance, then the sale is almost done for you.

Frank: It really is. In this day and age so many people don't really think about anything like that. If you just show up and do a relatively good job, you're already positioned miles and miles ahead of your competition.

Bob: Absolutely, it's the old Woody Allen saying, “80% of success is showing up.”

Frank: And it’s truer now than ever.


Bob Serling helps business owners and entrepreneurs generate more traffic, make more sales, and do both more often. Get his free ebook of interviews with 30 leading experts, including SUCCESS publisher, Darren Hardy, at

Frank Kern is famous for helping clients create wildly profitable marketing campaigns while simultaneously cultivating massive goodwill in their marketplaces and communities. You can get free videos and articles by Frank at 


Bob Serling is the founder of Profit Alchemy. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs increase their profits with no cost and no risk. Get his free eBook to discover 42 no-cost, no-risk ways to double your profits at

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