Uncovering Your Own Secret of Selling

by Jeffrey Gitomer

Why YOU buy?
Think about the last few things you purchased. They hold the secrets to increasing your sales.

Giving a seminar, I was in a stream-of-consciousness talk about buying motives and why people buy. As usual I was focused on the customer side, the probable purchaser side, the buyer side of the equation. Then out of the blue I said, “Think of something that you just purchased. Why did you buy it?” All of a sudden a million-watt light bulb went off inside my head – one of those instantaneous AHA messages. I discovered an answer, and it’s an answer that everyone can understand.

If you list the last 10 things that you purchased you will discover the motives behind your own buying decisions – and at the same time, you will discover the formula for why others buy. Those “others” are your prospects, your potential customers, the ones that you are erroneously trying to “sell.”

When you list the 10 items, do it on a spreadsheet. In the second column write down whether you needed what you bought, or just wanted it. In the third column, write down whether you could afford it on the spot, or you went over budget and had to charge it. In the next column, write down how you purchased. Did you go to them, did they come to you, or did you buy it online? If you bought it online, you might want to enter what time of day you bought it. It’s interesting to note that a high percentage of online purchases are made after 8 p.m.

In another column, write down whether or not you liked the salesperson (assuming there was one). In the next column, write down the percentage of influence that the salesperson had in completing the sale – 1 being the low, 100 being the high. In yet another column, enter your risk factor in making the purchase – 1 being the low, one 100 being the high. In other words, how much did you fear the purchase, and how much did you fear you were making the right purchase before you bought (usually the higher the purchase – home, car – the more hesitancy).

In the next column, write the word “price” or “value.” If you went for price only, write price. If you went for value the most, then write value. There’s a caution here – only put the word “price” if you went for the lowest price in the category, not the lowest price for the item. In other words, if you bought a BMW you didn’t buy price, you bought value regardless of where you bought it.

In the next column, rate your experience by percentage, 1 being the low and 100 being the high, 1 meaning “I’ll never come back,” and 100 meaning, “I’ll be back, buy again and tell my friends.”

Then, in the final column, write a sentence or two about how it happened – the story. If it takes three sentences, make it three. But write enough so that you understand what caused you to make the purchase of the item, and then what caused you to make the purchase from that specific company for that specific product or service. Now you have enough criteria to identify your own answers.

Once you read over the spreadsheet you may find that you want to modify a few points to get closer to your own reality. Pretty simple so far, huh?
Let’s take it a little deeper. When you finished buying were you happy? Did you find yourself saying it was OK, but…? It’s important that you note all the “buts.” The buts are the obstacle to your purchases and your sales. Did you learn lessons each time you bought about what you promised yourself you wouldn’t do again? Those are the same obstacles to your sales. And were there cases where you selected one vendor over another? Note those reasons because those are the same obstacles to your sales.

Now let’s go all the way to the bottom of the ocean. Compare the way you buy to the way you sell. How congruent are they? How compatible are they? Are you throwing up the same barriers that the people you bought from gave you? Are you missing the same nuances in your selling process that caused you to buy or walk away?

And so now it’s time for the ultimate question: Would you buy from yourself?

Unfortunately the ultimate answer is probably not – and the reason is, you haven’t modified your selling process to harmonize with the way your prospects buy.

There’s a hidden treasure. Of course there is – whenever you go down to the bottom of the ocean, the object is to find the hidden treasure. The hidden treasure will be revealed to you when you go read (or re-read) “Acres of Diamonds” by Russell H. Conwell. All the sales answers you need are buried in your own back yard. You already possess the treasure. You just haven’t discovered it yet.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books including “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.” His books are available as online courses at For information about training and seminars visit or, or email Jeffrey personally at © 2015 All Rights Reserved. Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704.333-1112

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