I recently read a fantastic article in the Guardian where a 36 year old journalist, Stuart Heritage, (right) explains that he has just bought his first house. (I have 3 sons who are all generation-rent, so the article had real resonance!)
Is he excited? No. He is drowning with buyers remorse! Given his decision-making process, this remorse might well be for good reason (have a read and make up your own mind) but, for you, as a business who is selling a product or service, how can you avoid your customers experiencing buyers remorse?
First, it’s important to understand what buyers remorse is:
Post-decision Cognitive Dissonance is the formal name for the feeling of disappointment a person has after they have bought something significant, when they think they might have made a mistake.
There is a great deal of psychological theory behind ‘why’ this happens, most notably by Art Markman who is a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. You can find more of Art’s work HERE.
But second, let’s explore what you, as the seller, can do about it.
We are in a very different world to the one of 20 or 30 years ago, and fundamentally, people hate being sold to. So, your starting point now must be based on the fact that interactions with you need to be:
The importance of belief in your product or service and building trust with your customer can not be underestimated, and these traits are only possible if you’ve provided a quality product or service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.
But even if you are inviting, informative and enjoyable to deal with, and the product or service you’ve sold is exactly as you promised, you may need to do other things to avoid buyers remorse getting into bed with your customer. Tried and tested mechanisms are;
- Offer to refund money – no questions asked
- Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product
Remember, one purchase is an order – two purchases is a customer!
These two offers alone will also mitigate buyer’s remorse because the customer will trust you more, just for offering these things, and we touched on above, trust is an essential part of the sales process. The good news is that there are loads of other ways to turn a first order into a regularly buying customer, which also help to minimise buyers remorse:
- Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
- Offer package or bundle deals. This makes direct comparisons much more difficult.
- Offer a referral incentive.
- Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
- Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
- Offer extra incentives – longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
- Offer financing options, if that’s applicable.
- Offer a bonus if they pay in full and / or upfront.
- Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
- Offer a trade-up or upgrade from something they already have.
- You might even offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory to pay a tax bill, for your kid’s’ braces, or another tangible reason. Depending on your market, customers may well love that this makes you feel so much more human.
- Always try to offer additional, educational information to help them make their decision.
There are, of course, numerous other options and the choice may depend on what’s relevant for your market. Feel free to use this list of ideas to find what works best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…
“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll lift your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham
And above all, build trust!
I love making bread – it’s a real Sunday treat for our family – I’ll get up early and as the rest of the house is waking, the intoxicating smell of freshly baking bread, often parmesan and sun-dried tomato flavoured, is meandering it’s way up the stairs!!
It’s not always been good bread though.
A few weeks ago, I had an aberration and completely forgot to put the yeast in – I then tried to add it after the bread had proved – horrible mistake that I won’t ever make again (hopefully)!
The incident reminded me of the Morecambe & Wise sketch from the early 70’s when they had, as their guest, André Previn. Eric Morecambe was trying to demonstrate his musical prowess and when Previn complained that Morecambe was playing the wrong notes, he famously retorted that he was playing all the right notes, just in the wrong order!
The same is true in the business world. There are 5 key ‘ingredients’ required for any advertising message to be impactful – and there is a correct order for those ingredients to go into the marketing mix.
- Commanding Attention
- Showcasing the Benefits of Products/Services
- Proving those Benefits
- Persuading People to Embrace the Benefits
- And, of course, a clear and compelling Call to Action
It’s worth remembering that advertising is simply sales in print.
So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. That’s not always easy, especially as many markets are becoming increasingly commoditised, so you might ask your existing customers what your products or services really do for them. The point is that, it is critical that you emphasise results, not features.
So, let’s just take a minute to talk about each of these 5 ingredients:
- Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with a stand-out headline. You need an attention-grabber that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement. It tells the reader why they should pay attention.
- Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. Remember, this is not about how long you’ve been in business or that you might or might not be family owned! They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.
- Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.
- Persuade: You need to add compelling and reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create a feeling of scarcity (limited availability). This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into the last component.
- Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. Raising awareness is good, but if you need sales, encourage an action. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie – perhaps a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering from you, many of which you may not have thought of, and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.
Good adverts include all of these components, positioned and delivered in the right order and an advert is not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness.
And, in case you haven’t got the message, if you want to make better bread, don’t be like me! Make sure that you use the right ingredients in the right order … then you’ll make plenty of great bread!
One of the very great pleasures of the Xmas and New Year holiday is being able to do things that you don’t normally have time to do – such as watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy … and we did!
Not only are they great stories, with fabulous cinematography filmed in stunning locations, but there are also some great lessons within the movies.
Gollum (or Smeagol) is absolutely focused on his Precious – no effort is wasted and nothing can deter him from his single minded-determination to get back his ring.
In a business context, this got me thinking about how we are often wasting our precious resources on ‘shotgun’ marketing to try and attract new customers.
Here’s two questions you have to ask yourself:
- What do people really want to buy from me?
- What related products are they already buying from someone else?
Once you figure out the answer to these two questions, you can look for other businesses with an appropriate customer base who might make a good incentive partner. You can then come up with an incentive arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop with both you and your incentive partner.
The incentive that you might want to offer to attract a new customer will vary for each business, so, how do you figure this out?
There is a great formula that you can follow with real success;
LV = (P x F) x N – MC
Here’s what it all means:
- LV is the life time value of a customer
- P is the average profit margin from each sale
- F is the number of times a customer buys each year
- N is the number of years’ customers stay with you
- MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you understand the lifetime value of a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to an incentive partner business to help attract new customers.
So, here’s your simple step-by-step process:
- Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
- Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
- Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
This simple process will help you to guard and preserve your precious financial resources and really focus your efforts in places where the rewards are likely to be greatest!
In the early 1900’s, US Banker John Wanamaker first voiced those immortal lines widely quoted in business now, “I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”
It really doesn’t have to be that way.
We can help you to be as focused on your business as Gollum was on his Precious (without all the Orcs and Uruk-hai, of course!).
And if you need help working through this process, take a FREE test drive for the most powerful D.I.Y. client attraction programme ever created.
You may be thinking, educate my customers about what?
Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!
Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.
Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:
- Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person or by pigeon if you have too!
- Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
- Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers or a referral scheme. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
- Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go a long way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
- Quality product/service
- Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
- Offer information on subjects that your customers find interesting
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.
Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
So, there it is! Remember, our FREE test drive can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay off many-fold.
Yes, and today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, let’s have a look at Paris Hilton.
She is all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.
We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.
Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.
- The first is Position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.
Who can help me meet my goals?
Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
- Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt). What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you more memorable with customers?
If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.
There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:
- Business cards
- Company message
- Your picture
- Your wording
Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)
You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.
- The third trait of natural promoters is Repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.
You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.