Request a demo

Setting the Pace: How and why buyers make decisions

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Written By
Alaine Dole

By Brandie Hinen

An hour ago, I just finished a remote sales meeting for one of my favorite clients. Our program allows us to work with people offsite through webinars, teleconference and one-on-one coaching calls, so the producers there know me well.

I was talking about the dynamics of what happens on your appointments with your buyers and what motivates those buyers to buy from ME. I went through a few slides on the way a person’s mind works.* Forget thinking of this other person as a prospect, suspect, object – I don’t care what training you’ve had. Get away from some of the canned sales rhetoric and see this person, as well, a person. Your “buyers” are just regular people who buy, or make decisions every day, just like you.

In fact, I bet you’ve made several hundred buying decisions just in the past week. Don’t think so? Well, imagine you in this scenario: It’s Friday morning, you’re already tired and beat. It’s been a long week; you get in your car to leave for the office, and what? Of course! Your wife has driven your car and left the gas tank on “E.” AGAIN! Urrggh. So, do you take her car? No, just stay where you are; you’ll get gas on the way home from work. Flying to make it in time for a 9:00 a.m. meeting, there’s an accident up ahead. Sheesh, here we go…off at the next intersection you take the side streets, weaving in and out of traffic, and slide into home at the closest parking space to the front door. You walk in and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s 8:45 a.m., time to get a cup o’ Joe, sit down, shake the mouse and check any voicemails. Ah, it’s Susan, your newest client, so you guess you’ll get a quick call in before the Sales Beating …

How many decisions had to be made already? Several dozen and all before 9:00 a.m.! Oh, and when you DO drive home, you are quickly reminded of your empty fuel tank – “DING” the little gas pump shows up on your dashboard display. Where will you buy gas? Shell is at $2.72 and on the right side of the road, Chevron is $2.69…

As illustrated above, all of us buy things or buy decisions, all day long. This is also what it’s like for your buyers.

It’s all about connecting
Those people you are calling on, they are looking for something they think or feel could be better than what they have now. If you can’t connect with them and their interests, you’re likely not going to get very far.

We like to bad mouth the gecko, but “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on your car insurance” and a cute little mascot that even four-year-olds can recognize has won over millions of people. Why? Because for a small amount of effort, a person can get a big potential return.

How are you approaching the thought of talking to people about the “whys” of working with you? WHY is an emotional proposition, and people buy based on the emotions they feel. Whether it “just feels right” or the converse: “I don’t know, Joe, something about him just doesn’t sit well with me.”

What if you were to just sit down with people and say something like, “Brian, you know, the way I see insurance is no different than the way I see everything else – whether it’s buying a new set of tires for my truck, a new pair of shoes, or where I’m taking my client to lunch this afternoon. Really, it’s as simple as the thing I buy, the person I’m going to buy it from, for the price I’m gonna pay.”

With those tires, I’m thinking of the balance between what I’m paying for the tread life, warranty, chain of stores who’ll give me the free flat repair, all of that. Oh, and are they shooting straight, friendly and interested in my business? (Interesting how even in tough times that people still choose to be indifferent, isn’t it?)

If I’m speaking with insurance buyers, here’s a glimpse of how I teach producers to talk: “So, for starters, since I know the numbers are very important to all of us right now, I’m going to leave that one for last. We’ll get there, but just not yet. First, I’d like to just listen to you and what’s important to you. What kind of expectations do you have from your insurance people for the amount of money you pay? How long have you been with those guys? And what kind of result for your money do you want from the company people?”

You see, just like you driving home from work looking for the best gas station, your buyer is going to weigh options based on how THEY make decisions everywhere else in their lives, NOT on how YOU make decisions. In fact, your buyer may tell you it’s all about the price, but in truth, none of us really buy anything from anyone we don’t like.

There is a lot more here to discuss, so we’ll delve into that in my July column.

Revenue work*
Use the slides I mentioned above. Draw the three circles on a sheet of paper for the client, each representing: 1) the thing they bought, 2) the person they bought it from, and 3) the price they paid. Remember over 65 percent of the population – yes, that’s most of you and your buyers – are VISUAL learners. They want to see something. Map it out this way, and talk about THE PERSON – them and the incumbent agent/broker relationship first. You’ll be glad you did.

And e-mail me with questions, thoughts, or a request to talk about this at your next sales meeting at

About the Author
Brandie Hinen is president of P.A.C.E., Inc. & Maestro!, a company that specializes in professional coaching and business training to help firms move from DISCUSSION to ACTION!

© Copyright 2010 Zywave, Inc.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *