Learn the 4 Decision Drivers™ to motivate people to action with your words.

One of the main objectives of your Elevator Pitch is to activate the decision-making process. In this post, I am going to take you through the four natural considerations we use to make decisions. I call them Decision Drivers™.  These are our primary motivations that drive our decisions.

Time for a reality check…

Did you know that ninety-nine out of every 100 words that you say are never heard? Ninety nine! People are preoccupied. They are present physically, but not mentally. When you speak, do people really listen to you?

Whether you speak, sell, perform or write, you must communicate using words and actions. In your relationships, your words and actions motivate friendships or enemies and love or heartbreak. In your career, your words and actions motivate customers or competition and wins or losses.

The way to break preoccupation and enter the minds of others needs to be strategic. To successfully communicate, you need to meet the person where she is in her mind before you deliver your message to motivate her to action.

Decision Drivers™ Origin

The root of buying motivation was discovered by the pioneer of direct mail marketing, Roy Garn in the 60s. Garn created the Emotional Appeal Technique. He studied thousands of people’s behaviours and determined we are able to motivate others to listen or act when we connect to their specific emotional appeal. A person’s attitudes must be treated as emotionally more important than our own, if we wish to communicate successfully.

For eight years I have worked with Garn’s theory in my marketing and communication strategies and consulted with expert psychologists on motivational messaging appeals and behaviours.   Basically, when our words connect with a person’s Decision Driver™ , they are motivated to listen and act. And this does not just show up in business or your career, it is evident in all your conversations and relationships.

So what does that mean? Well, it means that as preoccupied people, we don’t really pay attention to messages unless they connect to our Decision Drivers™ . We need to understand what motivates us and others and adjust our words and actions to connect to their emotions. 

People rarely want to think, they want to feel.  Feelings are emotional activators as well as communication barriers. When you connect with people’s feelings with the right Decision Driver™ in your words and actions, you have the ability to agitate and motivate others to want to listen.

Your Decision Drivers™ originate from your life experiences and personal motivations.

It is necessary for you to develop your ability to better control and understand your own motivations and emotional reactions. It is important for your success and happiness, that you understand and control the reactions of others to YOUR words and actions.

People ONLY listen if their emotional reaction is activated. Visualize your Decision Driver™ as a magnet. If a person’s message connects to our Decision Driver™ , it will pull our attention immediately, activate our interest and break us from a preoccupied state. We will listen attentively and be eager to learn how the message will benefit us. Amazing stuff, right?

4 Types of Decision Drivers™ – Ways to Motivate People To Action

There are four types of Decision Drivers™ – Safety, Achievement, Value and Experience. If we want someone to buy a specific good or service, our sales communication and messaging needs to connect to a person’s Decision Driver™ type.

One or two of these types are the overall reasons why we tend to act, react and feel the way we do. We are predisposed to one of the Decision Driver™ types from our life experiences and personal motivations. Your Decision Driver™ is activated when you have a desire to respond, listen, keeps us preoccupied, gets us angry, happy, upset or opinionated. Think about it, why do somethings consume your thoughts while others don’t?

Understanding and detecting Decision Drivers™ is the key to successfully getting people to break their preoccupations in their lives and motivate people to act, feel or listen. Essentially, if you identify a person’s main decision driver type and communicate to meet it, you will more likely motivate the person to your desired action.

  1. Safety – As a Decision Driver™ , Safety satisfies a personal need (hunger, love, health, safety) and is an easy, safe choice or task. Using words in your messaging that swiftly and emotionally communicate the feeling of satisfying a personal need, saving time and effort will motivate a person with the Safety Decision Driver™ .
  2. Achievement – As a Decision Driver™ , acknowledgment connects to the importance of recognition, loneliness, popularity and the way we appear to others. Using words in your messaging that connect with a person’s desire for success, pride, opinion, appreciation, identification with clothing, appearance, behavior, events, people, products or organizations motivate a person with the Acknowledgement Decision Driver™ .
  3. Value– As a Decision Driver™ , Value provides us with a sense of worth and security for our personal future. Using words in your messaging that communicate saving or earning money and saving time motivate a person with the Value Decision Driver™ .
  4. Experience – As a Decision Driver™ , Experience is something we want, and fear we may miss. Using words that communicate a future promise, new experience, sexual attraction or desire for marriage motivate a person with the Experience Decision Driver™ .

By recognizing your Decision Driver, you begin to understand why you make the choices that you do at work, home and play. To continue to learn about Decision Drivers™ and how to become an Influential Communicator, please visit my online Influential Communications courses or contact me directly for workshop training for your team.


About the author

For over 20 years, Sandy Gerber has revitalized marketing and messaging for companies of all sizes, including some of North America’s most beloved brands. The author of two books, founder of three successful businesses, and visionary of the Emotional Magnetism™ communication technique and education products, Sandy is passionate about empowering individuals to become masters of effective communication. She offers Marketing Consulting, Communications Training and Coaching in “Emotional Magnetism” and is a professional, Vancouver-based guest speaker for businesses, events and organizations.