Buying behavior is commonly divided into rational, emotional and
hybrid motives. Salespeople are encouraged to try to decipher the
dominant buying motive (DBM) so they can tailor their sales approach
to the customer.
I have compiled some information pertaining to buying motives, and
emotional buying in particular, so that you might gain a better
understanding of this term.
"A buying motive is an aroused need, drive, or desire that stimulates
behavior to satisfy the aroused need. It?s helpful to discover the
"dominant buying motive" or DBM.
Emotional and Rational Motives
* Acts due to passion or sentiment
* Emotional appeals common
* If two products are identical, the salesperson who "connects" has the
* Acts on reason or judgment
* Relatively free of emotion
* Salespeople gather, interpret, and disseminate customer-specific information
From "The Buying Process and Buyer Behavior." Selling Today. Manning and Reece
"People have both logical and emotional buying motives. Recent
consumer surveys show that, in most cases, 20% of the decision to make
a purchase is logical and 80% is emotional. Logic is reason supported
by facts. Emotions are feelings that cause us to act and react and can
be a large influence in our buying habits. We discover a particular
customer's buying motives through 'investigative questioning.' There
are several areas toward which investigative questioning is directed:
1. What does the customer say they need and why?
2. What do they see the new product doing that their old product (or system or
method) did not do for them?
3. What specific function must this system perform?
4. How soon is it needed?
5. What budget has been set up for this purchase?
"Asking the customer a question in a manner which allows them to
choose one of two responses and then asking, 'Why?,' should extract a
buying motive. Remember this buying motive and proceed to gather more,
because the more reasons or problems you can establish, the better
your solution will be when you give it. This type of selling does not
put pressure on the customer or the sales person."
From "Sales On and Offline: Determining Buying Motives," by Robert E.
Petet. President of Sales Creators Inc.
"Buying decisions (behavior) are often influenced by more than one
buying motive. Within several buying motives, there is usually one
dominant buying motive (DBM). The DBM will have the greatest influence
on the buying decision. Successful salespeople attempt to discover the
buying motives which influence the customer's buying decision. There
are three major types of buying motives: (a) Emotional Buying Motives,
(b) Rational Buying Motives, and (c) Hybrid Buying Motives. Buyers
simultaneously base their buying decisions on both types. One or the
other may be dominant or they may be operating in balance.
Emotional Buying Motive:
"This is a motive that prompts the prospect to act because of an
appeal to some sentiment or passion. However, the most powerful of
emotional motives can be associated to humans' most basic drivers:
Fear or Gain. Emotional motives can generally be seen as those of the
heart as opposed to the head and made to satisfy a wish for pleasure,
comfort, or social approval. However, when associated with fear or
greed, some elements of rationality come into play. For example: (a)
Fear-decision to buy a life insurance policy out of fear that spouse
and children will be without support or (b) Gain - decision to buy a
stock or bond because it has potential (real or imagined) that it will
increase in value."
"Emotional motives are very powerful and often are the underlying
basis of the DMB, dominant buying motive. Successful salespeople ask
"feel-finding" questions during the "Recognition of Needs" phase of
the buying process to uncover these powerful motives."
(Read more about Rational and Hybrid motives...)
From "Competitive Advantage by Creating "Value" within the Customer's
Buying Process," by Richard G. McNeill. October 14, 1999
EXAMPLES OF EMOTIONAL BUYING MOTIVES
Entrepreneur Magazine outlines several examples of emotional motives:
"Research studies indicate that prospects frequently buy based on the
following emotional buying motives.
Sex appeal: "Form-fitting fleece tights feel and look pretty sexy. My
husband seemed to think so: "It's nice seeing that figure of yours
again," he commented, "now that you've shed three pairs of sweats."
Social approval: "I was new in town and felt suddenly isolated because
I was too cold to participate in outdoor activities. The desire to be
socially accepted in my new town motivated me to buy the proper
Status: "There is a certain status in being fit. We boomers take pride
in running marathons, skiing or hiking with our twentysomething
children. Advertisers use this appeal to motivate us to stay in
Comfort: "My number-one priority was warmth, and the saleswoman cut
right to the chase, using her experience for impact: "I hate being
Credibility: "Greg the Ironman knows what to wear. A recommendation
from him made my buying decision easy. One word from the expert
eliminated any need to compare prices or quality."
From "Basic Instincts - Appeal to your customers' primary needs, and
you're one step closer to closing the sale," By Danielle Kennedy.
Entrepreneur magazine - February 1997
"Emotional buying motives prompt the prospect to act because of an
appeal to some sentiment or passion.
** "An example of an emotional buying motive is the romantic desire to
attract the opposite sex."
From "Chapter 7."
"Traditional theory divides buyer motivation into two major
categories, rational and emotional. Experience has demonstrated that
while people say they purchase books for rational reasons (convenient
size or right price) they tend to use these reasons to justify
emotional buying decisions.
** "They buy art books not to own four-color photographs of famous
works of art, but to demonstrate their artistic acumen to visitors who
happen to see it prominently displayed on a coffee table."
** "A different example demonstrates the nuances of using emotional
appeals. If you are marketing a book about how people can get more
money, you must first understand that people can gain money in two
different ways. Conservative readers may want to increase their wealth
by saving more money, responding to a message about how "a penny saved
is a penny earned." This would not appeal the more venturesome readers
who think that "noting ventured, nothing gained." The important point
is that the information in the book remains the same
"Similarly, your book on exercise might portray the increased life
expectancy of people in good health. You could show actuarial tables
(Features) proving that exercise extends one's life.
** "But your direct mail piece directed toward senior citizens you
will sell more books if you show elderly people playing tennis
(Benefits). A direct mail piece for the same book directed at a
younger audience might appeal to their social needs by showing
healthy, happy people enjoying themselves while playing volleyball on
From "Stop Selling Your Books," by Brian Jud
Some other examples can be found in the following marketing article
"People buy products and services because the purchase initiates some
feeling, some emotion. If you can tap these emotions, you can make a
* Excitement. They sense a degree of variety or exhilaration in your
product or service. It could be something new to replace an existing
product. It could be the latest technology, a design that taps into
their sense of style and fashion or the excitement of sprucing up an
* Opportunity. Perhaps there is a sense of possibility with your
product. It may be a return on investment, more free time to pursue
other interests or even the opportunity to showcase their new purchase
to the neighbors...
* Fear. "Buyers may make their decisions based on fear, and as
sinister as it may seem, you can emphasize the benefits of your
product in terms of avoiding fear...
Read "Become the Contractor of Choice: Tapping into emotional buying
reasons," BY PAUL MONTELONGO
Another interesting example:
So let's look at buying groceries, a very common practice that we all
do at one point or another, and I'm sure you wouldn't believe your
emotions are being used to do this. Well you just might want to think
"You're in the supermarket buying groceries. When you select a certain
food to purchase, what exactly are you thinking about? I'll bet you're
saying that you selected the particular food because you like it,
right? Well why do you like it? You like it because it produces
emotions. When you select the food, you're probably thinking about how
good that food tastes and maybe you're even remembering the last time
you ate this particular food, along with the emotions that were
attached to eating it. Now you might not be thinking about this
consciously, but you can be sure your subconscious mind is! Haven't
you ever said, "I love this food!"? That's a pretty strong statement
based on pure emotion. You see, even subconsciously, we're always
making buying decisions based on emotions."
Read "Emotional Response Marketing - The Key To Producing Results!" By
Terry Williams. http://www.bankersonline.com/marketing/produce.html
If you would like to read about this topic in further detail, you
might consider buying the following book:
"Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting
Consumer Behavior," by Pamela N. Danziger
Finally, as Zig Zigler said in one of his famous quotes:
"People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons."
I hope the information I have provided allows you to formulate a
greater understanding of the motives behind emotional buying.
"emotional buying behavior"
motives for "emotional buying"
reasons for emotional buying