What Influences A Buying Decision: Emotion or Information?

by Riaz Sidi | Follow Him on Twitter Here

What influences a customer’s buying decision: emotion or information?

This is the question of an interesting debate going on at the PSS LinkedIn group.

I thought I would extend the debate here on the blog and throw in my two cents.

Let’s break down the question and see why one may trump the other in influencing a buying decision.

Prior to doing so I want to make it very clear that I do not have any partial feelings to either side.

I am going to free write and then publish this bad boy and we can continue the debate here by commenting on this post or back at the PSS LinkedIn group.

I feel this is a debate in which my opinion will continue to evolve over time.

The Debate

It can be strongly argued that information influencing buying decisions is the status quo and that information which appeals to the client will help them to form an opinion of a product or service.

It may be information about the company, or something they heard about the product.

But do these tidbits of data pull at the heart strings of the customer?

Or is an emotion formed toward a product prior to seeking further information to solidify and justify the buying decision?

If the same product can be sold with different qualities, unique features, and varying prices then certainly any information interpreted is relative to the individual customer.

And that would be obvious because we are all unique in our experiences and what we consider value, quality – or a good deal.

Then I think back to when I made the purchase of a car.

I don’t know that I really did much research – considering how particular I feel about doing as much as I can.

And I think I was quite keen on the colour, make, and model before I had even figured I wanted a car.

I was emotionally invested in the idea of possessing it regardless of the variables.

Even though I got a great deal relative to the average price, I was not weighing down my decision relative to competitor information.

When I purchased a laptop, I was keen on flexing my technical knowledge, doing my research, and getting the best specs for my money.

But even when a clunky and what I considered ugly laptop with amazing specs sat at a cheaper price, I still chose the one I found esthetically pleasing.

I preferred the experience.

As an iPhone user, I typically try to convince Blackberry users to move over, telling them about the great features, specs, simplicity, and perks of having an iPhone.

I think this information will “help any rational person to make the right decision to change over”.

When they refuse to budge I question it.

But when an Android user does the same thing to me, I don’t even listen for a second.

I become close-minded because I am emotionally invested in what I currently possess.

Information may very well alone rationalize a purchasing decision.

But I think that it is more designed to pull upon an emotion within a buyer that will influence their decision.

Before I started writing, I assumed information and knowledge would ultimately be my path of buying power – being “so rational”.

We all like to think we are extremely rational in business but then a debate like this comes along that makes me question everything.

Based on this session, I would lean towards emotion influencing buying decisions.

And I know some group members have statistics and research to back this up.

So let’s use this weekend to continue asking ourselves this all important question: whether information or emotion influences our buying decisions.

And next week, as the debate continues, I will write about how we can take advantage of emotions controlling a buying decision and what we as sales reps. can do to help our customers make the right decision.

What factors do you believe lead to an emotional purchase?

Comment below with your opinion or an experience where emotion or information influenced your buying decision.

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