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“I consider Bob Burg to be without a doubt, one of the world's leading experts on networking.”

~ Dr. Ivan Misner, NY Times Bestselling Author and Founder of BNI

The Two Reasons We Really Buy

November 12th, 2012 by Bob Burg

Please enable your imagesMinutes before presenting last Friday morning for my client, WinWholesale, Inc. at their annual convention, I was speaking with COO, Monte Salsman. He shared with me a great piece of advice provided by one of his mentors nearly 20 years ago:

“People buy only two things: solutions to problems and good feelings.”


Yep, think about it. When it comes right down to it, the very essence of why we buy something is because it solves a problem and makes us feel better than if we did not buy it.

Understanding this is what keeps our focus on the other person. After all, people don’t buy from us because it solves our problem or makes us feel good. Nor should they. Thus, we need to constantly find ways to provide value to others in a way that will serve them and their needs, wants and desires.

So, next time you’re in a selling situation, measure what you are about to say or do by asking yourself, will this solve their problem? Will this make them feel good? If the answers to both of those are “yes” then you are on the right track.

Of course, when you solve their problems and make them feel good, you also solve your problem and make yourself feel good.

Or, as another mentor of many of us (a certain Mr. Ziglar) very famously said, “you can have everything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”


Note: Just put together a special page for The Go-Giver, in the event you’d like to give them out as Holiday gifts this season. And, you’ll have a chance to win some great prizes, as well. If you’re interested, check out www.Burg.com/Holidays.

35 Responses to “The Two Reasons We Really Buy”
  1. I think every salesperson should print this out and read it anytime they are going into a selling situation. Too often we sell from desperation, or so excited about what we sell, because of why we like it, we forget to ask why our prospect may want it. Additionally our prospect may not know they need it or want it, and they really do, but we try so hard to “sell” it, we miss the mark and lose the sale. Love it!!!!

  2. Bob Burg said at 9:17 am on

    Christie: Thank you. All your points are right on the mark. If we sell from desperation, then it’s about us – not about them. If we sell from excitement and why *we* like it, then it’s about us – not about them. And, yes, we can then easily forget to ask because we assume we know the answer. And, indeed, they (the prospect) truly might not know that (or even why) they need it, what problem(s) it will solve, and why it will make them feel better (more productive and/or better about themselves, etc.) to have it than not to have it. Great thoughts, my friend, as always! Thank you for sharing with us!

  3. Amy Wells said at 9:37 am on

    This whole post and Christies comment, will be in my next team sales meeting. Thank you Bob, and Christie. 🙂

  4. Brad Manuel said at 9:37 am on

    Practical advice. Answers the why and how. Good stuff Bob.

  5. Bob Burg said at 9:43 am on

    Brad: Thank you. Very appreciated!

  6. Bob Burg said at 9:42 am on

    Amy: What a terrific compliment. Thank you!!

  7. Thank you both Bob and Amy!!!!!

  8. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 10:42 am on

    GREAT points!!! And I agree With Christie!!!!! I’ll print it out for ME – AWESOME reminder.
    Thank’s Bob 🙂

  9. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 10:47 am on

    Christie did you know the one of the difinitions of “a sin” is “missing the mark” – meaning in this context “doing it wrong and for the wrong reasons 🙂

  10. Bob Burg said at 10:48 am on

    Lene: Thank you! 🙂

  11. Lene: I didn’t know that!

  12. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 11:01 am on

    Christie I have that definition from Randy Gage, where he says “It’s a sin to be poor” and defines sin as – missing the mark!

  13. mary silva said at 11:11 am on

    Thanks, Bob. I can never reminded enough that it is not about me, IT IS ABOUT THEM! I am printing your blog out right now!

    Amy – awesome idea to use this for your next sales meeting!

  14. Bob Burg said at 12:21 pm on

    Mary: Thank you. That means a lot to me that you’d actually print the blog out as a reminder. Thank you!

  15. Pralhad said at 12:02 pm on

    Thank you Bob Burg and to Paul Castain coz he posted on the twitter.

    These are really a meaningful lines for a sales person.

  16. Bob Burg said at 12:22 pm on

    Pralhad: Thank you for your kind comments. And, thank you for letting me know about Paul’s tweet. He’s a great guy and an awesome salesperson and sales teacher!

  17. How true this is, Bob! And how brilliantly simple. Those are the best pieces of advice, aren’t they?

    This isn’t *just* something to print out, it’s something to learn and live in your everyday business. If more entrepreneurs understood this, we’d see a lot more success!

    Great article!

  18. Bob Burg said at 2:01 pm on

    Susan: WOW – what a nice compliment. Thank you!! (I’m glad I had a chance to speak with Monte before I went onstage) 🙂

  19. Tim said at 2:24 pm on

    I just wanted to say “thanks” to Bob as well. I work in an industry where it’s really easy to get wound up about something that’s really neat. And while I might find that it solves a particular need in my house, and be really fun as well. it would do me to good to remind myself that I’m selling solutions to other people’s needs. So what I get from the advice is, remember to think about a prospect’s needs before I engage in a conversation or presentation with that prospect.

  20. Bob Burg said at 2:32 pm on

    Tim: That’s great! Thank you!

  21. Bob, I love the phrase that I can remember as soon as I read it – I will be using this one tomorrow. I will add it to my oft used phrase that is on the same page “we don’t have products that we sell to customers, we have customers that we sell products to.” both are putting the focus where it belongs – the customer then the solution.

    Thanks as always for the posts that always challenge me to think.

  22. Bob Burg said at 4:12 pm on

    Denis: Thank you. I agree…when they’re easy to remember, all the “more-better-er.” 🙂

  23. Doug Wagner said at 4:48 pm on

    Great points. The wonderful thing is that in many ways (but not always) solving a problem makes people feel good. Sometimes people will buy only to feel good and what they buy may actually cause problems down the road.

    Putting the two together in a strong way is the most powerful opportunity. Solve a problem in a way that makes people feel good every time.

  24. Bob Burg said at 6:10 pm on

    Doug: Thanks. Yes, regarding the intent of the post, we’re going with a premise that what they buy both solves a problem and makes them feel good about it. Of course, as you said, if that is not the case, it’s an entirely different story.

  25. Agree my dear friend!!!
    It’s important to give solutions and make people feel good, that’s ehy a kid can get a lot from parents, Kids make them feleel Good… Now i understand ehat my my baby boy is donig with me!!!
    What a great seller i have at home.

  26. Bob Burg said at 10:01 pm on

    Julio: I’m sure that put a smile on everyone’s face who read that! 🙂

  27. Brian Lindholm said at 6:18 am on

    Another great post Bob – thanks for sharing. I think of my own buying experiences and the best ones certainly left me feeling good.

  28. Bob Burg said at 7:33 am on

    Brian: Thank YOU. Very appreciated!

  29. Brilliant as always… They are buying in essence You as You are providing for them the Experience: The solving of a problem with an Attitude- Presence-Experience – Value -Solution they are either going to be drawn to or repelled from…

  30. Bob Burg said at 6:33 pm on

    Carly: 🙂 Thank you. Very kind of you to say!!

  31. […] Last week my good friend Bob Burg wrote a post titled – The Two Reasons We Really Buy. […]

  32. Jeannie said at 9:08 am on

    Hi Bob, and thank you for reminding us! Too often we forget about this. No wonder businesses hang signs on the wall. Now I’ll write my reminder on my little whiteboard. Have a great weekend!

  33. Bob Burg said at 9:41 am on

    Jeannie: That’s so cool. Great idea! Thank you for your comment!

  34. […] and an awesome friend, Bob Burg wrote a post some time ago where he said that there are only two reasons why we really buy anything. He […]

  35. […] expert Bob Burg hit the nail on the head when he identified customer motivation in his article The Two Reasons We Really Buy. He recalled a conversation with a mentor who […]

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