Concept of businessman choosing the right door

Distributors know that many of their clients have a set of algorithms they use before making a purchasing decision. For instance, end users may evaluate a product based on price, warranty, total cost of ownership, regulatory compliance, specifications, and more.

However, according to Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing for AFFLINK, many B2B (business-to-business) purchases are made based on what are mostly emotional and personal decisions.

“Of course the customer will likely still do their due diligence,” says Wilson. “But when comparable products or product lines from different distributors are being considered, purchasers often see more value in one product over another based on very personal reasons.”

According to Wilson, these are referred to as “personal values” and typically fall into one of the following five categories:

Inspirational value. While comparable products may meet current needs, many times a specific product is selected because it addresses the long-term vision a purchaser, often a CEO, has for their company.

Appearance value. “Very often, this comes down to design and aesthetics," says Wilson. "The buyer simply likes the way one product looks compared to others.”

Career value. Some purchasing decisions are made because the buyer believes it will help them advance in their company or help them with their career.

Less-stress value. Some products are selected over others because the purchaser believes it can make their life easier, save time, reduce anxiety, etc.

Ethical value. In some cases, a product, often a more expensive product, is selected because it has less impact on the environment, is viewed as more socially responsible, or is manufactured locally, helping the local community.

“Sometimes, distributors are mystified why a purchaser decides to go with a competing product line,” adds Wilson. “But they must realize, it may have nothing to do with their product line at all. Personal, intangible reasons, can play a major role when purchasing decisions are being made.”