January 21, 2015

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People will tell you that buyer’s remorse is a perfectly normal reaction on the part of your customers. That it always happens. However, that’s not true. Buyer’s remorse is neither normal, or even necessary, if you take the right steps to prevent it.

Anna Hobo Fld Paradise Leather Anuschka Flap Paradise Handpainted floral Floral According to a definition of buyer’s remorse I found online ‘Buyer’s remorse is an emotional response on the part of a buyer in a sales transaction, which may involve feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety.’

Regret. Fear. Depression. Anxiety. Are these the typical emotions or feelings that we normally would associate with a long, healthy and mutually profitable relationship with a customer?

Imagine the upbeat testimonial you would get from a customer who experienced these emotions about buying from you: “I was filled with self-loathing about my decision to buy from XYZ, Inc. But despite my doubts and anxieties about their product’s abilities to meet our requirements it hasn’t been as bad as I feared.”

The fact is that buyer’s remorse often points to a missed opportunity on the part of a seller to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Buyer’s remorse is a signal from your customer that their decision to purchase from you was not an affirmative choice to buy the absolute best option. Instead, it points to your customer’s decision being one of choosing what they perceived to be the least bad, or least risky, of their alternatives. In short, buyer’s remorse is a sign that you didn’t establish a sufficient level of trust with the prospect and make yourself their clear choice.

Risk is a trigger for fear, regret and anxiety. When a customer chooses to buy from you, the person making the decision may have a lot at stake personally. A buyer could fear that if your product or service doesn’t perform as promised it could negatively affect their career. A buyer’s anxiety could be based on the fear that a manager or peer inside the company will challenge his or her decision based on the perception of a better solution being available..

To mitigate this perception of risk, and to give your customer the cure for buyer’s remorse before it happens, you have to make it easy for the customer to choose you by providing value throughout the sales process. Here are 4 fear-reducing, and trust-building, steps to take:

Put The Customer First
Your prospects want to make fully informed purchase decisions with the least investment of their time possible. To make good decisions, they need timely information and insights from you about the products or services they are evaluating. The key is to make it a priority to always be responsive and only use your prospect’s time only when you have value to deliver. Remember, being responsive is not the same as being the first to respond. Incomplete answers to questions, even if they are delivered quickly, is the same as not responding at all. Waste the prospect’s time and they’ll stop giving it to you. Make the prospect a priority and they’ll notice.

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Deliver Value With Your Insightful Questions
Even better than providing insights to your prospects is to ask them insightful questions that will help them better understand their requirements and the ultimate solution they need. Delivering insights in the form of questions involves the prospect in developing the answer to the questions. Which means your customer begins to collaborate with you and develop ownership in the solution that you are selling. What are the three big insightful questions that you can ask that will help shape what the buyer envisions to be the optimal solution to their needs? Remember, you have to earn some trust from the prospect before they will feel comfortable sharing answers these questions. Make sure you’ve invested your time to understand the prospect’s business and their concerns and be able to talk in their language. Then, they’ll be more open and will begin to collaborate with you.

Provide Compelling Validation
To make informed decisions buyers need context for the information you have provided them. One of the best forms of context is 3rd party validation. Buyers will take comfort from knowing that others before them have made this journey with you. This validation can come from white papers, case studies, video testimonials or customer reference calls. Another way to provide context and validation to a prospect is through simple, well-crafted sales stories that quickly illustrate how other customers have used your product or service to solve problems similar to theirs. (Read Chapters 34-37 in my book Amp Up Your Sales to learn how to develop and master telling these stories.)

Right-size Your Offer
Right-sizing means to align the size of your offer with the customer’s tolerance for risk. Don’t confuse their budget with the decision maker’s tolerance for risk. Your prospect may have the requirement for 10 widgets but they could be anxious about your ability to perform. Or they may be concerned about their own ability to perform. So, reduce their perceived decision-risk and implementation-risk by proposing to sell and install 1 widget. Establish a track record with the first widget delivery and then sell them 9 more. This will let your customer sleep and night and will eliminate many anxious phone calls. Putting the interests of the customer first in this way is sound strategy to increase trust.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind is that persistent buyer’s remorse can foreshadow a problematic post-sale customer relationship. In the absence of trust, any discrepancy in how your product or service performs compared to your pre-sale commitments can set off a firestorm of recriminations. The remorseful buyer will hold you to a higher standard and expect nothing less than perfection.




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