What is the most important factor in the decision to buy something?

Profile picture of the author Shadowflux by
There are plenty of theories about why certain sales copy turns readers into customers. Each piece of copy has the same objective but will go about it in a different way. I feel that every piece of copy also has one main selling point. Whether it's a low price, the novelty or exclusivity of a product or the ability to receive said product immediately, there is always one thing which tips the scales and makes the reader buy what you are selling.

I would love to hear what you guys think is the most important factor in the buying decision. What do you think is the last piece of the puzzle, the last bit of weight that tips those scales? If your reader is on the fence, what pushes them over to the other side?

I look forward to the responses, discussions on this sub-forum are always quite lively.
#copy writing #advice #buy #copy #copywriting #decision #factor #important #sales

  • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
    The sale hinges on confidence.

    If the prospect doesn't have confidence that the product will meet her need, deliver on its promise, there will be no sale.

    It's the meat in the selling sandwich, placed between the bread of attention and urgency.
  • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
    Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

    What is the most important factor in the decision to buy something?

    Shadowflux,

    Strangely enough, what I'm about to share has little to do with copywriting; yet, I find these factors to be present in almost every single case in niched services/products:
    • Very high demand, low supply
    • Deadline, with negative consequences for not making deadline (IRS, health)
    • Predetermination to buy
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    I agree with Pusateri... believability is the most important factor.

    I'd put the selling sandwich together differently, though. Attention and irresistible offer between the bread.

    Alex
  • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
    Originally Posted by Pusateri View Post

    The sale hinges on confidence.

    If the prospect doesn't have confidence that the product will meet her need, deliver on its promise, there will be no sale.

    It's the meat in the selling sandwich, placed between the bread of attention and urgency.

    I like your sandwich analogy, it prompted me to have lunch.

    I'd have to agree that confidence in the product or service is incredibly important. I would even add to that and say that one of the most important elements in good copy is creating a feeling of legitimacy around the product or service being offered. I think this is done in a number of ways and one of the most important is using the right terminology.

    If your targeted market is very specific, let's say it's doctors or investors, then you need to use the right words and phrases to make it seem like the product or service is a part of that market.
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Buyer's criteria.
    Match your message to their buying criteria.

    Buyers have a criteria ranging from loose
    to fixed.

    The loose criteria buyers can be impulsive
    through to having a more conservative research mode of operandi.

    The fixed buyer can have his/her shopping list
    sorted before going on the hunt.

    The first group are easier for a marketer to manipulate
    the decision.

    The fixed group can have their criteria changed
    by presenting new information they hadn't considered.

    Best,
    Ewen
  • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
    Emotion.

    Did you strike an emotional chord.

    Did you connect with an emotional need.
  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    All other things being equal, the thing that makes people buy is desire.

    If they don't want the product, they won't buy, no matter what.

    Keep in mind, desire could be inate. Something they're not yet aware of.
  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    Solves a problem.
  • Profile picture of the author ERPLeadsWriter
    Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

    Whether it's a low price, the novelty or exclusivity of a product or the ability to receive said product immediately, there is always one thing which tips the scales and makes the reader buy what you are selling.
    The answer to your question is actually any of these things. It can just be one, a pair, or an entire combination. The important thing to remember is to know your target audience. What matters most to them and in what order?
  • Profile picture of the author verial
    One of the things a good copywriter recognizes before even beginning to write is whether the decision-making process is a:

    1) Should I buy this?


    or a:

    2) Which one should I buy?

    Knowing the answer will guide your copy down one of two routes:

    1) Convincing the prospect to buy (as opposed to go without)

    or

    2) Convincing the prospect to buy this one (as opposed to buying a competitor's)

    If your writing objective doesn't match the reader's mindset, you're setting yourself up for low conversions.
  • Profile picture of the author zthfitness
    Believability is HUGE... it was Mr. Halbert that said the #1 reason people DON'T buy is that they simply DO NOT BELIEVE YOU!
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    Yes, all the above...

    Before anyone buys - the product, service, offer - must give a resounding ping to the right emotion (the research shows the key emotion) - and you need to justify the decision with a helpful dash of logic.

    You're creating an "itch" that the prospect simply has to scratch.


    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author cjp214
    Shadowflux,

    The way I see it, there are not one but several "fences" you have to knock your prospects off before you can get them to open up their wallets.

    Here are just a few I can think of:
    • "Do I pay attention to this marketing message?"
    • "Do I read the message beyond the headline (or whatever it was that caught my attention in the first place?)"
    • "Does this product/service address a problem I'm having?"
    • "Why should I buy this product/service instead of a cheaper/different alternative?"
    • "Do I even believe what this ad's saying?"
    • "Is the offer being made worth the money?"
    • "Do I really have to act now... or can I just set this aside for later?"
    Phew. That's a lot of fences!

    But if you've led your prospect all the way through your copy, kept their interest, and channeled their innate desire (I don't believe copy can create desire...only channel and amplify it) towards your product, that final fence you have to get over is getting themselves to act now.

    They already want the product. They want their problem to go away. But they need to believe you enough to give you a chance (a solid guarantee helps with this)... and they need an impetuous to act now (premiums, negative consequences, etc.)

    If they're on that last fence, I think it's a combo of credibility and a giving them a reason to act this second.

    Corey
  • Profile picture of the author stephenwaldo
    Originally Posted by Rezbi View Post

    All other things being equal, the thing that makes people buy is desire.

    If they don't want the product, they won't buy, no matter what.

    Keep in mind, desire could be inate. Something they're not yet aware of.
    My thoughts exactly. Desire is the most important factor. All people do exactly what they want.

    Just look around this forum. Plenty of folks here who think they want to make money, but they actually want to linger on forums all day socializing. So they do.

    Your job is to figure out what the prospect ACTUALLY wants, and then either give it to them or convince them they want something else.
  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    The most important decision prospects make is whether or not they think you are a good copywriter.

    The better copywriter you are, the more compelling, creative and clever your words are, the more they will believe you and the more they will buy.

    This is the true secret why great copywriters sell more.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: :rolleyes:
  • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
    I like all of the responses, they've given me a lot to think about. I'm also not really surprised that everyone pretty much had a different answer.

    I like what Rezbi said about desire and I have to agree. I think desire is one of the most important things in any effective copy. This is also something that's difficult to explain to some people. If a product is just crap, or seems like crap, then no amount of fancy copywriting is going to convince someone to buy it. I think this is also why targeting a specific niche or market is important, there is already a desire for a solution of some type. Want to lose weight? Want to get that girl? Want to make a lot of money? Those are exploitable desires.

    I know Rick's response might have been somewhat sarcastic (Note the rolling eyes) but I actually think there's some truth to it. One thing I've noticed in life is that people want to be sold on something by a good salesman. When my wife and I were shopping for a sofa we went to nearly every furniture store in the area. Most of the salesmen were not very good and did almost nothing to get us excited about the sofas.

    Then we found another furniture store. The salesman working with us was an old pro, a real old fashioned salesman from before the internet. He knew exactly what he was doing and the difference was HUGE. We bought our sofa from him.

    I think part of it is that people want to know they're buying the best. They want to know they're buying from the best. It's almost as if being sold on something by an obviously bad salesman makes them look bad but buying something from a world class salesman makes them look good. I think this is part of the reason people are so quick to buy anything being promoted by "the top marketers".

    I also think hitting a few emotional chords is important in copy and I think there are a few key emotions in any given situation. I think one of the most important is that slight tinge of panic that you feel when you ask "Am I a loser?" or "Am I really just going to fail?" or "Am I really just wasting my time without this product?"

    I believe Cialdini talks about the inherent need to feel that we are worthwhile and successful, that we're a winner. To put it far too simply the emotional roller coaster can go a bit like this:

    You're struggling with X > There's a simple solution > You'll be a winner with this product > If you don't buy it you'll be a failure > Don't be a failure! Click Here

    In the interest of keeping this post short I'm just going to stop here.

    Great responses guys! I look forward to reading more.
  • Profile picture of the author No Bullshit Articles
    The most important factor is one word: Value!

    Benefits sell products and services. Buyers are all about what's in it for them, so at the end of the day, it really boils down to the value or benefits that they'll walk away with.
  • Profile picture of the author mrdomains
    Greed.

    If you stop to think about it, greed is the driving force behind almost every lust, desire, ambition, ego, etc, all of which are triggers to sale. The only occassions when greed is not behind it all is when compassion is the driving force.
  • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
    There is one thing in my mind that is above all else (including desire, value etc). Not ready to share it though. Maybe when I retire. You know, follow in the footsteps of The Bencivenga.

    Don't PM me either because you will be disappointed when you don't get it from me.
  • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
    Originally Posted by CopyMonster View Post

    There is one thing in my mind that is above all else (including desire, value etc). Not ready to share it though. Maybe when I retire. You know, follow in the footsteps of The Bencivenga.

    Don't PM me either because you will be disappointed when you don't get it from me.
    Nah. That ain't it.

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