Adapted from Science of Influence: Volume 21
Copyright 2003 Kevin Hogan
Buying Profiles for You and Your Clients
You learned how to create a hierarchy for your values and how to elicit the most important values from your clients in Psychology of Persuasion. Knowing your client’s values and what their beliefs are is absolutely crucial to understanding how they think and why they will buy. Now it is time to focus your laser beam and learn the factors that most influence your buying profile. …and those of your clients and customers. I think the best way to start learning about other people is to put yourself up to the microscope. Then you can begin to see the differences and similarities between yourself and others…which is of course one of the fundamental ways we process information. Similarities and differences between people.
You can learn the factors that create your buying profile by answering just a couple of quick questions in this article. In the CD for which some of this article is drawn from, I detail the eight fundamental buying profiles that consumers match. These profiles are based on current psychographic research that you can use instantly. Understanding buying profiles is crucial to the salesperson because they help us understand why people buy, what they buy, and yes, you ultimately learn how to predict what behavior any given individual will engage in. Learning your buying profile assists you in gaining personal insights into your own personality and buying “programs.”
Learning how to decode other people’s profiles is one of the keys to getting more “yes’s” per contact. Better: you become more proficient at building long term relationships with ease. Why? Once you know how people make their decisions it becomes much easier to communicate with them.
In the last 15 years, the field of psychographics has literally exploded. When you hear the term “demographic,” you might think, 45, white male, American, Christian, from Kansas. That “demographic” can then be researched to discover numerous things about people with those specific characteristics. You can learn whether they are likely to be married, productive citizens, drive too fast, eat McDonald’s hamburgers, or have kids. Psychographics includes demographics…but it goes further. Psychographics includes personality and behavioral traits as well. I will simplify the process of creating a psychographic profile from asking someone 40 questions to asking only 2 questions. A 40 question survey is not a practical tool when asking someone for a date, closing the sale or doing therapy! Two questions don’t offer you the precision you would need for a complete market analysis, but it does offer you a predictable and useful model for understanding what causes people to buy from you.
The two key elements creating this profile are why people buy things and what means they have to buy them with. First consider the “why.” There are three general motivating factors that people will buy something.
Principle-oriented people typically do things because taking action meets with their code of ethics, their values and beliefs. A fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslim are both likely to be principle-oriented. Both have very different evidence for what is right or wrong but both are principle-oriented. Principle-oriented people are guided by ideas that in their mind appear to be etched in stone. They see little gray and view the world in terms of “right” and “wrong.” They choose their behaviors and buying decisions based in large part upon the ethical or principle of the decision.
Principle-oriented people may invest in socially responsible mutual funds because they don’t buy tobacco stocks. They tend to buy things because it is the right thing to do. They tend to buy products and services that make a statement about their beliefs. They will buy or boycott to rebel against what is wrong. The principle-oriented person will buy to destroy evil. They may be interested in ecology and the environment. They are likely to find education as very important.
Status-oriented people do things to impress others. They buy things that make it obvious to others that they have a certain status with their peers. Adults that are status-oriented will buy to impress their peers. Teenagers will do the same thing but it may not appear that way to adults. Young people may dress in a particular style of dress or have a specific kind of appearance which may not be typical of what might be considered “high status,” but they are status-oriented regardless.
Status oriented people want to look better or worse in society. They want to fit into a group by appearance if not reality. (Clubs, gangs, churches)
Experience-oriented people do things because they are fun, adventurous, exciting, enticing, challenging, etc. They want to take part in something. They are interested in physical or social activity. They will do something for the pleasure of doing or the avoidance of pain.
When you buy most of the things you buy, is it for the status it brings you, the experience you get from buying/using it or the principle behind buying it? Before you answer the question below, a few more examples will help you know which of the three categories most applies to you.
Example: If you buy an automobile to impress others because, “it looks good,” write down status. If you bought it because it is American made, write down “principle.” If you bought it because it is fun to drive regardless of what it looks like write down, “experience.”
Example: If you bought your house or a certain type of house to impress others, write down status. If you bought a home because it is the right thing to do for your family, write down “principle.” If you bought your home because you wanted a space for you to really dwell in and love as part of yourself, write down, “experience.”
Example: Is most of your expendable money (not bills and payments, but “fun money” spent on things that will be visually impressive to others (status), functional for you or your family (experience), or things that are in the best interests or beliefs of yourself and/or your family (principle).
Write down what you sincerely believe your major buying value to be in the space below. (status, experience or principle)
Next: What are Your “Means?”
The second key element in determining your customers’ (or your own) buying profile is to identify what your “means” are. Your means include your income, your education, your potential, your credit line, your willingness to spend money now regardless of when you have to pay for what you buy.
Most people will buy if they perceive some benefit of pleasure or some reduction in pain as long as they value the benefit more than money.
Because we do not have the ability to judge all the means of any one individual without a survey we are obligated to predict based upon environmental clues as to what another person’s means are. For you, we will utilize your household gross income, which is a predictor, but not the only element of your means, as we have just noted.
In the space below write down your household’s gross income for the previous year. This is an approximate measure of your “means.” It doesn’t include your future potential, your education, your credit, your net worth, your ability to leverage and other estimates of your “means,” but it does give a rough estimation in helping create a psychographic profile of yourself.
If you wrote a number higher than $75,000, write the letter, “A” by your income figure. If you wrote a number between $40,000 and $75,000 write the letter, “B” by your income figure. If you wrote a number between $18,000 and $40,000, write the letter, “C” by your income figure. If you wrote a number below $18,000, write the letter, “D” by your income figure. If your figure was within $7,000 of a higher or lower income figure, write both letters.
We will now use this information to create a basic profile of your buying typology.
By combining your means measure with your buying values, you can see for yourself which profile fits most closely to you. There are eight profiles including Actualizer, Fulfilled, Achiever, Experiencer, Believer, Striver, Maker, and Struggler. Each of these profiles will now be discussed in the Science of Influence Volume 21, along with typical questions that help open the keys to the mind of the person of each profile.
Select your profile category from below and then read about yourself to determine if you have accurately predicted your buying profile. Once you know which of the eight profiles most closely resembles you, you can read and learn more about yourself and people like you. Note: It’s often a lot easier to profile someone else than it is yourself! I’m going to include a thumbnail sketch in this article of the the Actualizer. I want you to thoroughly understand the power of this kind of psychographic and demographic information before you pick up Science of Influence Volume 21 where I discuss all eight profiles in detail…and better: I tell you specifically how to communicate with each of them for maximum compliance and rapport building.
The high-means profiles are Actualizers, Achievers, Fulfilleds and Experiencers. The low-means profiles are the Strivers, Makers, Believers and lastly the Strugglers.
The experience profiles are the Experiencers and the Makers. The status profiles are the Achievers and the Strivers. The principle profiles are the Fulfilleds and the Believers.
The Eight Buyer Profiles
Actualizers make up approximately 10% of the population. This group makes up the smallest percentage of the population. Actualizers are set apart from the rest of the population by the fact that neither status, principle or experience seems to be a driving force in their buying profile. It is their means, their resources that allow Actualizers to express themselves by taking advantage of their resources. Actualizers tend to have many assets, greater education and knowledge and even greater health, all resources that they use as “means” for self-expression.
Actualizers have certain experiences and habits that are far different than the normal American.
They are five times more likely to read publications like Conde Naste Traveler and Scientific American. They are four times more likely to read Audubon, Tennis, Sky Magazine, Barron’s, New Yorker, Travel and Leisure and the NY Times Daily Edition than the average American.
The Actualizer is three times as likely to listen to Traditional Jazz, Folk and Broadway Soundtracks. They are twice as likely to listen to Beautiful Music, Contemporary Jazz, and music from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
The Actualizer is four times as likely to have membership in an Arts Association. They are three times as likely to be a cross-country skier and three times as likely to visit an art museum.
The Actualizer is twice as likely to own a cappuccino maker, give dinner parties once each month, travel abroad, vacation on a cruise ship, swim 20 days per year and own a foreign car when compared to the average American.
Actualizers tend not to own a motorcycle or watch wrestling on TV. They are less likely to use cinnamon toothpaste!
The most common zip code for Actualizers is interestingly enough, 90210!
Given this detailed information about Actualizers we now have enough raw data to know specifically how to enter into the mind of the Actualizer.
Appeal to the Actualizer’s sense of independence, taste and character. Show the Actualizer how they can express themselves by utilizing their resources.
The Actualizer is an independent and take-charge type of person. When dealing with an Actualizer, utilize that sense of independence and power to facilitate communication.
Here are some examples of questions that will help you push all of the right buttons of the Actualizer.
(Business Machine Sales) “Doesn’t it make sense for you to own the finest equipment available?”
(Travel Agent) “Isn’t a trip to Eastern Europe metaphorical of the freedom you have found in life?”
(Multi-Level Marketers) “Owning your own business is the final expression of your independence, don’t you think?”
(Life Insurance) “By allowing your family to be financially independent after you are gone is really the icing on the cake for your ability to control the destiny and security of their life.”
Key Points: Appeal to independence, character, self-reliance, taste by utilizing their resources.
As you can see from this lengthy piece, you can gather a great deal of intelligence about anyone just by knowing the answer to two simple questions. The good news is that I have quantified all of this for you in a single CD and Workbook. Yes…ONE CD. It is the most densely packed CD I have ever made and probably the most powerful from the standpoint of promotion, selling, marketing and the like. Having this information is like having a psychic bridge to anyone’s mind.
The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.
Science of Influence Master’s Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with the last five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won’t find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.