We’ve all fallen under the spell of something we wanted so bad in the store that we’ve whipped out our card and purchased on the spot. The high of possessing the coveted item feels so damn good – until buyer’s remorse hits you with a left hook. “Shh… I can’t afford this!”
Next thing you know, you’ve busted a U-turn, praying that you can get the sales associate to understand whatever flagrantly creative excuse you give for the product return.
(You’re also speaking in tongues and hoping for spiritual intercession because your receipt’s stuck in that No Man’s Land between your chair and that thing in the middle that stores your emergency booty call kit and car charger.)
As a customer, do you know how to prevent buyer’s remorse? By only buying things you really want, even if it means thinking heavily over your purchase for 24 hours before you seal the deal.
However, this isn’t for you. This is for my product-based business owners and my sexy salespeople who are picking up holiday jobs that require top notch game in order to crush it this holiday season.
MORE SALES GAME = MORE MONEY
Summer is the best time to prepare for the holidays. While businesses are preparing their Black Friday sales, it’s going to mean everything for you if you can learn to sell as much as possible months before the windfall hits.
Whether you’re only doing sales full or part time, you’ve got to be aware of how to sell in a way that minimizes and prevents buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse sucks; if you have a commission-based retail gig, buyer’s remorse is the difference between a nice check and wanting to choke anyone who walks in the door for the rest of the day.
As a sales person, or business owner, preventing buyer’s remorse – and the cancellations, returns and loss of money that comes with it – takes a strategic approach. You’ve got to work your magic on every client who comes in, and make sure they know what they want before they make a purchase.
HOW TO PREVENT BUYER’S REMORSE
You’re the salesperson, thus, the client is always going to resist some of your best information because your bias – the need to close – will always influence the quality of the knowledge you provide. Even when the client goes along with everything you say, they’ll always be aware of what’s in it for you.
Disarm their lack of trust by weaving these actions into your sales conversation.
- GET SOCIAL PROOF AND TESTIMONIALS.
You’re biased to your product, because it’s yours. Even if you’re a sales associate for a company, you’re biased because your check is reflective of your ability to sell. With that said, it’s in your best interest to engage social proof in your sales presentations.
People are prideful. We care what others think of us, even when we say we don’t. Telling people what other people think of you gives them further reassurance to trust their decision to buy from you. This is especially helpful when your product is expensive, and alternatives (competition) is fierce.
Experts, celebrities and and existing customers reinforce the validity of your offer, because there’s this belief in the wisdom of the crowd. People will really engage with your brand based on testimonials because they’ll reason, “If all these other folks are interested and using this, then it must be good.”
- KNOW + EDUCATE YOUR AUDIENCE.
Have you heard of customer personas? Customer personas are shopping archetypes that give you a general understanding of buying styles. You have 4 basic customer personas: competitive, humanistic, spontaneous, and methodical. By understanding the motives and personalities of each persona, you’ll know how to best position yourself for success by educating your clients in accordance to their inclinations.
Competitive personas want are relatively quick decision makers. They want to be the best, and they want to know that whatever you’re offering them will help them be the best at accomplishing whatever it is they want to accomplish. Your competitive person may or may not be brand-savvy, but he is a label whore. He’s that guy who takes Instagram pictures in all-Gucci everything. If he has humanistic tendencies, he may refuse to pop tags and remove stickers so you can see the prices and know everything is real. He is interested in hearing what others have to say, but he’s more inclined to want something that’s exclusive or used by celebrities he admires.
Humanistic personas are cautious. They’re very interested in knowing what everyone else wants, so they’re slow to purchase. When a humanistic client enters your space, you can be sure she’s going to have lots of questions. She’s emotional by nature, so she’s looking for that emotional connection. Since she’s slow to trust, she’ll be doing lots of research. She wants a relationship, and she loves community and collaboration. As this is the case, she has to know you have her best interests at heart. Unlike a competitive or spontaneous persona, she’ll never bust it open if she senses you’re just going to hit and run. She will also ask all of her friends, and even strangers on the street what they think. She loves testimonials; they’re proof your products are good.
Spontaneous personas are emotionally-driven and fast purchasers. They’re fast-moving and the life of the party. They’re so much fun to work with when you have all the time in the world. Your spontaneous client will love to tell stories, he will love whipping out his stacks, and he gets off on the thrill of buying new things. He’s cool because he gets so damn excited about all the possibilities of big fun he can have with his new purchases. He absolutely loves to floss and spend money. Brace yourself though. Buyer’s remorse is REALLY high with this type because of their impulsivity. Counteract that with trial offers, savvy substitutions and by really getting to the underlying needs of this person. If he or she is shopping for something specific, really focus on giving them what they need before they start going crazy over things they’ll only regret and return later.
Methodical personas can annoy you at first. I say this because I have a friend who is methodical, and it drivs me crazy. Methodical folks research everything. They will read every testimonial, research the company history, check prices for products against similar competitors using apps you’ve never heard of and they will ask millions and millions and millions of questions because they have to have every single fact sorted out before they purchase. The methodical person is the woman who comes to the shoe department everyday, inspects the product of interest from the sole to the speckling, asks for the product number, and disappears before you can sell her anything. She’ll then go online, google how everyone’s wearing the shoes, if the designer’s been arrested for partying with hookers in illicit hotel rooms and read every single review in the history of the internet about that particular shoe. After 30 days of research, she will return, try on the shoes, and refuse to buy. Why? Because she’s going to take photos of herself in this shoe from every angle and wait 72 hours before purchasing. Crazy right? The great news is, she’s demanding for a reason: she almost never returns anything because she’s 10,000% sure of the decision to purchase once she pulls the trigger.
Educate your audience by educating yourself first. You have to know as much about your products, services and solutions as possible in order to bring your clients the information they need to make a decision.
If you’re a product-based business owner, you have to use your own products. Your associates and employees have to use these products also. If you’re a salesperson, you’re responsible for knowing your merchandise enough to sell it with grace and ease. The more you know and love what you’re selling, the more you’ll sell – and you’ll find sales becoming easier and easier with every conversation.
When I worked at Victoria’s Secret, 99% of the bras and panties I sold actually sold based off the product knowledge and information I collected. Not only did I wear the bras (Thank you for making 38 DDDs in a few styles, Vicky!), but I also wore the panties. I knew, based on my shape, style and preferences, how to sell the bras, panties and lingerie that worked best for me, based on my personal experiences.
That’s why companies give employees discounts in the first place. As internal customers, you sell with enhanced customization based upon what you know as end users of your own merchandise.
(Further, because I was mainly in the role of sales support, my ability to know what was in stock allowed me to push sales that would have otherwise gone missing because what the client needed wasn’t in stock on the floor.)
- CREATE IRONCLAD GUARANTEES.
Everyone loves a guarantee. Provide a guarantee for your product or service that adds an extra layer of comfort and security to the sales package. Some stores have clearly displayed return and exchange policies that clients are made aware of; other businesses are more obscure.
Guarantees are known to improve sales conversions in online transactions. If your prices are so good that you don’t offer refunds, or rarely need to mention your policies, then pat yourself on the back. That’s pretty damn awesome.
Now – of course I don’t need to tell you this, but – you should always sandwich your guarantees with positive reinforcement and product knowledge. Repeating positive messages regarding your product helps the customer associate positive outcomes with the decision to purchase your product. Build on your guarantee with social proof – showing what others have eagerly purchased or looked at – in addition to your product knowledge and their needs.
Note: If you provide coaching and consulting services, not providing a refund can reinforce the seriousness of your material and the mental, emotional and financial investment required of your clients.
- DESIGN AND/OR PROMOTE THE BEST PRODUCT POSSIBLE FOR THE SITUATION.
Remember how I spoke about being the best lover anyone’s ever had? It’s not just about presentation and appearance. Form and function have to align with your client’s needs in order for them to see your solution as THE solution. Design the product or service that most thoroughly meets their needs with the best quality possible, and promote that to your client with explicit detail as to why this is for them.
What if you’re not the designer or creator? What if you’re the salesperson who’s simply trying to close to meet your goals?
Well, it’s a given that you can’t control design. That’s cool. You have to focus on controling your ability to match products to your clients’ specific personality, challenges and situations. It’s never about budget at the end of the day. Budget is important, yes, but finding the best possible fit takes precedence over everything.
Recently, I was apartment hunting. I had a specific budget, but I also had a small yet strong set of requirements. I wanted granite countertops, a huge soaking bathtub and a sense of flow and spaciousness in the layout. Size wasn’t important; sex appeal and luxuriousness was.
Everything within my initial budget sucked. I pressed harder and increased my financial flexibility until I found the perfect apartment, $200 above my initial budget. It had everything I wanted. I mean everything. And since I refused to let go of the idea that I couldn’t have that apartment because it was out of my budget, you can bet your sweet ass that I moved mountains to sign that lease.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST…
Anyone can learn how to prevent buyer’s remorse. It’s simple. It’s about building loyalty through service. It’s about matching the right product to the right person, and then getting your clients to imagine the experiences they’re going to have with your product in their life, or how others react when they see them using it.
If you can provide specific information cultivated from your brand knowledge, including curated reactions from current and previous clients, and devise powerful scenarios where your product is the ideal fit or solution for your client’s particular problem, you’ll be developing a relationship based upon a respectful conversation that engages the client and helps them make a solid decision before they whip out their card and make a purchase.
If all else fails, at least you’ve developed a positive rapport, which means positive sales reviews and more money in the long run.