9 Basic Motives (Takeaways from How To Sell Your Way Through Life by Napoleon Hill)

Iliyan Germanov
4 min readMar 8, 2019

Have you ever had difficulties expressing your ideas onto others even if they make perfect sense? What if I tell you that there is a scientific way that you can use today? This is what this article is about.

We’ll reveal the psychological motives that motivate people to take action. Including practical questions that you can use to spark specific emotion and real life examples. If this slight edge in communication is something that you are interested in, continue reading…

The 9 Basic Motives

So let’s get straight to the point. In this article are uncovered 3 of the 9 Basic Motives. Each motive will be presented the following way: Explanation why it is so powerful, practical questions to integrate it in your sales presentation and an example if needed.

1. Love

Love is one of the most powerful moving forces in the world. This mysterious emotion can ignite even the most rationale person to do irrational things. People usually go great lengths because of love. If you doubt that, ask yourself. How far would you go for the people you love?

Questions to spark the Love Motive:

Are you doing this for yourself only?

For whom are you doing it?

2. Financial Gain

Money is pretty obvious motivator but many sales people struggle to integrate Financial gain at its fullest potential. I am also guilty of that. From your perspective it may be obvious gain but how do you know what exactly your prospect sees? Imagine how much more effective your ideas would be if you paint a vivid picture for him.

Chain of questions to unlock the Financial Gain Motive:

1. Let’s just pretend you do X (your idea), how would that benefit your business?

2. Suppose you have _____ (mirror prospect’s reply), how would that affect your bottom line?

3. And how would you feel having X$ extra?

This chain of questions is a bit confusing so here’s a dialogue that can bring clarity here. Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this example is oversimplified for the sake of brevity. If the prospect doesn’t give you the answer directly, dig deeper by asking “Why” questions.


You: “Let’s just pretend you do work with a closer, how would that benefit your business?”

Prospect: “Hmm, I don’t know. I’ll have more time to focus on strategy. Also Closers work on a 100% performance basis so I won’t pay a fixed salary for a salesperson.”

You: “Suppose you have more time to focus on strategy and you don’t have to pay a strict salary for a salesperson, how would that affect your bottom line?”

Prospect: “With more time for strategy I’ll avoid stupid mistakes such as spending $2,000 for developing a feature that is not needed. And also saving from a salesperson salary will give me an extra $1,250. So that makes around $3,250.”

You: “And how would you feel having $3,250 extra?”

3. Fear of: poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, death

People usually don’t buy their way into something, they buy their way out of something. That’s caused by the phenomenon of Loss aversion in cognitive psychology. So when presenting your product or service strive to bring what would happen if they don’t do business with you, today.

Questions that you can ask to tap into prospect’s Fears (Pain):

1. What do you think is your biggest issue at the moment?

1.1. Why is that so important for you? (digging deeper, optional)

2. What exactly are you doing to solve X (prospect’s problem) at the moment and how does it work for you?

3. What would happen if you continue doing the same and it doesn’t solve your problem in the next 12 months?

Bonus: How long would you be comfortable continuing the same way?

These are the first 3 of The 9 Basic Motives. In the next articles I would uncover the rest 6 motives: self-preservation, power and fame, sexuality, revenge, freedom: of body and mind and desire to create and build in thought or in material.

What are your thoughts? Comment below👇 Are you interested to know the rest of The 9 Basic Motives and how to integrate them in your next sales presentation? If so, hit the Like button👍

I’d be more than happy to share them with you!

DISCLAIMER: This article is written primarily for Emeralds. If you want to know what Emerald personality is check 4 Gem Personalities.



Iliyan Germanov

Software Engineer: Android | Functional Programming - Kotlin & Haskell. Excited by innovation and science.