When most of us think about the buying process for products or services, we often simplify the motivations of our customers.  The “why” behind the purchase motivation simply becomes “because they needed/wanted it”.  Understanding the true motivations behind consumer spending can allow your business to alter products, services, and marketing to improve sales.
Motivation selling is the process of understanding why people make a purchase, and then altering product selection and marketing techniques to generate more sales.  For example, when it snows, the sale of snow shovels and ice melt increases because people need products to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice.  If your business sells snow shovels and ice melt, communicating to customers prior to, during, and immediately after a snow storm with products, techniques, and other useful information pertaining to snow removal will most likely result in additional sales.  Most activity based sales are not that simple, and they require communication with your customers, product adjustments, and the ability to adapt your marketing strategies.  The following are a few steps you can take to better understand the “why” behind consumer spending, and processes to improve sales volume.
1.  It starts with customer communication.- In face-to-face conversations at the register, through capture surveys, or through direct customer communication outside of the shopping environment, it is important to obtain information about why customers are spending.  This goes beyond a restaurant accepting “I was hungry” as a reason that people are buying products.  In the simplest terms, why did customers select your business and a particular product or service for purchase?  When you drill down, a bar may realize that its primary motivator for customers is the social connections made in a tavern environment (for example) instead of the simple “I wanted a beer.”
2.  Do you need to tweak products or services based off of your feedback?- You have learned what is motivating your customers to purchase your products or services.  Based on that information, how can you adjust your product mix to better suit the needs of your clients?  If people are coming to your clothing store primarily for special occasions, are there other clothing or accessory options that you can carry to make yourself a one-stop-shop?  If your gift shop is a hot spot for people that have recently purchased new homes, can you partner with local real estate firms?  If your restaurant is popular with people looking for healthier food options, can you alter additional menu offerings to capitalize on the health conscious crowd?
3. Can you alter your messaging to reinforce consumer actions?- If your business is the place customers go for a particular product or service, shouldn’t you highlight that?  Forming a coherent marketing strategy based off of consumer motivators can be tricky.  You need to make sure that you interview enough people to identify an actual trend, and you need to engage the niche marketing as a function of your larger branding activities.  But, when your business becomes “the place for” something, you could define a market advantage.  When accounting firms become “the place for businesses”, who is your business going to hire?  When attorneys dominate the specialty of family law, they can market that specialty.  Whatever motivates your consumers to spend, can help you identify how to communicate with potential customers through your marketing platforms.  Everyone encourages people to “buy their stuff”, but successful businesses understand WHY people are buying so they can communicate more effectively.
Talk with your staff about they types of information you would like to collect, what would motivate your consumers to offer good information, and how to record information.  Meet with people both inside and outside of your business to determine if/how you need to alter your products or services based off of feedback you receive.  Look over your marketing plans and think about ways you can alter your messages to better communicate with motivated consumers.  A well thought out process can remove internal bias from your marketing and branding activities, while resulting in increased traffic and sales.