The Main Reasons Why People Buy

buying-a-carThe reasons people buy are numerous, even legion. But most can be boiled down to 8 basic reasons. You may be asking, "why is this important?". Well, knowing who your perfect customer is and why they buy is critical information when writing an ad, script, or brochure. By tapping into your customer's reason for buying, you increase your chances of making the sale. Let's take a look. Keep in mind that your perfect customer probably buys for one of these reasons. How can you use that information.


Fear is a big motivator for many issues. Buying is no different. Fear of losing what you have, or not getting what you need, can cause people to make purchases. The security side of this is the part of us that considers monetary gain and freedom from financial worry. Fear is very strong, and can be used to your advantage.


Safety and health for yourself and family is related to fear but tends to be more primal. Self-preservation is more about bodily harm toward those you love and less about money. Every animal has a self-preservation instinct and will fall back on it when it feels threatened.


As Americans we like our conveniences. We like getting what we want right now. We are an impatient lot. When we need something we prefer to take the easiest or fastest path to get it. Promising and delivering the easy and convenient service your customers have come to expect may be the way to their pockets.

Pain Avoidance

This is related to both self-preservation and convenience. None of us like pain, worry, doubt, or the unknown. Target your marketing to address the pain avoidance of your customers. Then you can deliver confidence and surety to ease the pain and worry of the purchase decision.

Recognition/ Peer Pressure/Fad

Tech lovers are all about having the latest and the greatest. Their peers pressure them to keep up in the search for the best. It is a form of social status. Admit it we all would like to be admired. Showing your customer that they can be respected because of their purchase is a tried and true method for sales. Cartier, Lexus, Cadillac, Rolex, all of the use this reason to buy.


This is almost the opposite of the peer pressure. Most of us want to be the best at something, or maybe we are trying to recapture our youth. Find out what your perfect customer is striving to become, then help them get there. It could be spiritual development, hunger for knowledge, or intellectual stimulation. By helping them reach their goals, you will get closer to yours.

Basic Needs /Replacement

Sometimes we buy out of necessity. We buy to replace old things you have (e.g., clothes, appliances). This also includes an upgrade from one technology to another. Remember when CDs were in and cassettes were gone? Or upgrading from VHS to DVD. It seemed like a basic need at the time. You can still use this to your advantage.


You deserve a break today. Who doesn't "deserve" some of life's comforts? Right? Everything from McDonald's to Miller High Life to American Express has conveyed the fact that you are worth it. But it is all an ego stroke, so make your product the reward for your customer's effort. It will pay off.

This list is by no means extensive, but it is a good start. By using these reasons to buy, your marketing can tap into the psycho-graphics of why your customers buy. It can give you an edge on your competition and show up in your return on investment. If you need help on your headlines or writing your body copy I am glad to help. Email me at [email protected].

Mark Combs is a 20+ year veteran of branding and logo design, Illustration, Advertising, Brochure design, and Direct Mail design. With experience at ad agencies, corporate marketing departments and even teaching graphic design at the collegiate level, Mark plies his craft to your design needs with great design sense and professionalism. Customer service is the focus of and your satisfaction is paramount.

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