CCA 4.2 Lesson 2: Factors that influence buyer behavior

Several factors must be considered in attempting to understand the buyer’s behavior. Let us place these factors into four major groups. The four groups are seller, product, situation, and buyer and are identified in the next visual.

Four Key Factors:

Seller: ‒Person or organization.

Product: ‒Convenience, shopping, or specialty good.

Buyer: ‒Individual characteristics.

Situation: ‒Time, need, weather, and psychological factors.

Seller: Different characteristics of the seller can play a major role in the behavior of the buyer. Some buyers are turned off because sales professionals are too talkative and apply too much pressure. Characteristics like service, friendliness, and location can help the buyer feel comfortable and develop positive feelings about the store. The seller in this case can be an individual sales professional or a store. Some buyers keep going back to the same store because they like a specific sales professional. Other people shop at a specific store because they like the variety of products, the quality, and the store’s atmosphere.

Product: Product characteristics such as features, style, and price influence the buyer. Some people will buy even though they do not like the sales professional. They see a product as “too good to pass up” because the price is low, so they go ahead and purchase the product. It is very important that the sales professional explain the product to the buyer and overcome any obstacles like price by justifying the value of the product and by creating financing alternatives.

The sales professional must also realize that products are different and that some products require more creative selling and persuasion than others. There are basically three major categories of consumer products, and each product category will require a different approach in the selling strategy.

Three Types of Consumer Goods

  • Convenience goodsLow priced items found everywhere, purchased frequently with minimum effort.
  • Shopping goods‒Items purchased after comparisons are made.
  • Specialty goodsItems high in price, found in few locations, and can require extra mile effort to obtain.
  1. Convenience goods: This first category of products consists of low priced items that are purchased frequently and with minimum effort. These goods are found at numerous outlets. Impulse goods like gum, soda pop, magazines, candy, and newspapers fall into this group. Very little personal selling is needed for convenience goods, as national advertising and other promotional tools take care of influencing the buyer.
  1. Shopping goods: The second category of products consists of those goods that the buyer will purchase after shopping around and comparing factors like style, quality, price, color, and brand. These goods require creative selling and persuasion on the seller’s part. Examples of products in this category are furniture, used cars, appliances, jewelry, and clothing.
  1. Specialty goods: The last category of consumer goods is called specialty goods.  These products are special because buyers will go out of their way to obtain the item. These products are usually high in price and found in very few locations.  Some examples of this group are original oil paintings, fancy sport cars, and well-known expensive brand goods.

Situation: Various “situational” factors can play a major role in buyer behavior. Items like pressure of time, time of day, weather, or the psychological factors of the buyer and sales professional can play a major role in the selling situation. A sales professional must be aware of the situation.  A customer may have had a hard day, so the customer is very grouchy and picky. The customer may only have 20 minutes to buy a product during lunchtime so the customer is in a hurry.  The sales professional knows that patience and understanding are very important, as the buyer may be quick-tempered for reasons unknown to the sales professional. In general, customers tend to exhibit different moods based on the type of weather. A sales professional with a skill in asking good questions to obtain helpful information can assist the buyer in any type of situation.