Influencing the Customer Buying Process with Personal Selling


Making a sale is more effective when there is a process involved. The sales process starts with the features of the product, highlights the advantages and lastly emphasises the benefits. A feature is the facts about the product or services. Whereas a benefit gives the customer a reason to buy because they see how the product or service adds value to their lives. To translate features into benefits is easy – you just need to ask: So, what? If you aren’t asking this question, for sure your customer will be.


We then move into the psychology side of sales and try to understand what motivates a customer into saying yes. We start with one of the earliest and still applicable theories from 1943. Maslow’s hierarchy is a model developed by Dr Abraham Maslow, an American Psychologist. The overarching theory is that a human being moves to the next level of motivation as soon as one level of need is satisfied. In his theory, Maslow proposed five different kinds of human needs: 1) Survival: the first and the most basic need, 2) Physiological: such as food and shelter, 3) Safety: which includes the need for love and a sense of belonging, 4) Self-esteem: like the need to be respected, and 5) Self- actualisation: which refers to fulfilling one’s potential.

Once you have a better understanding of motivation theory, we review the factors that influence consumer buying behaviour. These factors include: Family: essential to early formation of a person’s attitudes and influencing life-long behaviour, Culture and subculture: society impacts all aspects of life and therefore influences the purchasing behaviour of an individual, Social class: Defining this is tricky but social class is a perception which consumers hope to evoke according to the products they buy, Demographics: market segments according to age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income and education and Psychographics: this is the consumers buying habits, their hobbies, their belief systems and their values.

Did you know that consumers have multiple selves that reflect the different roles they have in their lives and that these all have different influences over their purchasing behaviour? In this course we explore this in more detail and provide you with a comprehensive consumer choice process. Knowing how consumers process choice decisions will help you to close a sale. For example, the more expensive the product, the higher the price and the more risk associated with buying the product, resulting in a more complex decision-making process when purchasing such a product.