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  • Sam Decker

The Excuse to Buy

People buy on emotion and justify with fact. We know it to be true. However, I believe facts grease the wheels of an emotional purchase. For many, emotions may not be enough to part with their cash.


My wife and I helped her parents with a garage sale this weekend, and then we went around looking at garage sales. We didn’t need anything, yet she saw some white picture frames that she liked. After a brief interchange I asked, “Why do we need those? Our walls are full.” She didn’t have a reason, and we both knew they would sit in a closet. She paused, conceded, gave them back, then turned to me, “See, I can say no to things!”.

So, let’s assume you’ve already triggered customers’ emotions and they’re excited to buy. No small task, for sure. But now, what fact will they use to justify the purchase?

Customers need (what I call) the “Excuse to Buy”. They need some logical rationalization to give into their emotions. You can give substantiated logic and reassurance used as ammunition against self- or spouse-inhibition!

Here are some examples:

Furniture stores

Why are furniture businesses always going out of butiness? They are creating the excuse to buy: “Deals will never be this good again…honey!”


They did it backwards. Years ago they established the rational excuse (safety), and recently appealed to the emotions (better styling).


Emotion – I want the taste of chocolate. Excuse: They don’t melt in the hands (their excuse). They’re small, so I don’t have to eat the whole bag at once and I won’t get as fat. (my lame excuse).
Oreck is a fantastic marketer. Their web site is great too. They started selling a new air purifier…which I’m thinking my wife might like. I found about this product from a direct mail piece they sent me. I bought the Oreck vacuum last year…on emotion, but with excuses to buy: it has an 8 year warranty and I’ve gone through 3 vacuums in that time, and since it’s lighter maybe the house will get cleaned more often 😉

So what about the Air Purifier… Emotion: Why pay $400 for an air purifier? I guess the same reason you might buy a Bose radio. Brand goodwill or affinity. Plus, pick a pollutant and attribute emotionally-charged consequences to breathing them (allergies, colds, etc.) Excuses, as I might hear them: 1) “This gets ALL the pollutants in the air!” The copy on their site reads: “Millions of Americans are needlessly breathing unhealthy amounts of air pollution every day…which [air purifier] will help destroy bacteria, viruses and mold, and capture cooking odors, chemical fumes, pet odors, cigarette smoke and other indoor air pollutants? An Oreck Professional Air Purifier.” 2) “There’s no air filter replacement like other air filters! You can clean it.” 3) “You get a free floor vacuum!” 4) “It has a 5 Stage cleaning process!” 5) 90 day risk-free trial (that’s better than 30) and 3-year warranty (better than 1 year) Fortunately for my wallet, I’m not super emotional about this product or cleaning the air, although I do like Oreck. I’m in trouble if my wife has emotions to buy this. Oreck provides several good excuses to buy. I’ve got rebuttals ready for some of them, but then she’d just go on to the next excuse. Hopefully she doesn’t read this!


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