Buying Patterns: What Buyers Are Really Thinking About

By Brad Shorr

markusspiske / Pixabay

Salespeople sometimes find the buying patterns of buyers to be quite baffling. Why all these questions? Why not make a decision? Everything sounded so positive … what went wrong?

Having spent a good part of my career in purchasing and in sales, I’ve learned that buyers do not think the same way salespeople think; they have different agendas, different concerns, and different motivators. And, just as good salespeople have a system for selling, good buyers have a system for buying.

Let’s take a look at the buyer mentality — a better understanding of it will help you conduct your sales calls more comfortably and effectively.

The View from Behind the Buyer’s Desk

Buyers tend to be overworked. A lot of their day-to-day activity is spent on detail work, putting out fires, and cleaning up other people’s messes. A typical day involves activities such as:

  • For accounts payable, reconciling a price difference between a quote and an invoice on a particular line item
  • And the operations manager, expediting a delivery of a manufacturing item with the vendor and the vendor’s freight company, to prevent a production line from shutting down
  • For the director of purchasing, updating a report on inventory turns for 500 post-production inventory items
  • Finally, the warehouse manager, working with a vendor to change the number of boxes on a pallet to improve storage efficiency

Multiply this type of work by about 10, and you have a typical day in the life of a buyer. What sorts of things can we conclude from this?

Buyer Priorities and How to Respond

There are three important conclusions we can draw about buying patterns that I’d like to bring to your attention.

Please keep in mind that throughout this article, we’re dealing in general terms; not all buyers are alike, just as not all salespeople are alike.

1. Buyers do not have a lot of time to waste

When they have other people breathing down their neck (often higher-ups) for answers, they have little patience for unreturned phone calls, confusing emails, and dealing with peripheral issues.


The takeaways for salespeople here: Be efficient, be prompt and be relevant.


If you can’t offer a good reason why a buyer should talk to you now, don’t be surprised if your attempts to pursue a sale stall out.

Furthermore, don’t take it personally if a buyer puts you off. It isn’t personal. The buyer is probably too busy to focus on what you’re trying to propose.

A good solution to the problem is suggesting a time to meet or talk during off hours — before work, at lunch, after work. The buyer will then be able to focus, and may appreciate a chance to relax and deal with a big-picture issue.

2. Buyers are risk-averse

I think this is partly or largely due to on-the-job conditioning — anything that happens out of the ordinary usually causes disruption and problems they have to fix. Because of this attitude, any new salesperson who enters the scene will be viewed not only as a distraction, but also as a potential headache.

From the buyer’s point of Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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