You have made the presentation, you want to make the sale, but the customer is not quite ready to sign on the dotted line. In “Jump Start Your Marketing Brain,” (Brain Brew Books, 2004) Doug Hall says that a series of research studies identified eighty-one reasons why customers delay making a purchase decision. However, those eighty-one excuses can be summed up in five fundamental reasons.
You can not force anyone to make a decision or to buy from you. However, once you understand the five factors that cause customers to delay, you can take action to avoid those delays and encourage customers to buy now. Hall’s factors, and my suggestions regarding what you can do about them, are:
Too busy to devote time to evaluating options. People make time for what is important, and excuses for the rest. Make the purchase meaningful and important to them by stressing the benefits they receive. Show them how your product can fill their need (or, better yet, a want) and make an emotional connection.
The buying process is unpleasant. How can you make it easier and more pleasurable? Go to customers instead of making them come to you, or allow them to purchase over the telephone or online. Allow them to sample the product or service. Stream- line the process to eliminate waits. Offer payment options such as invoicing, credit cards and financing. Give them a dedicated account manager or customer service representative to help them through the entire process.
Fear of making a bad decision. Demonstrate your credibility. Show them what you have done for other customers. Provide testimonials from happy buyers. Take customers on a tour of your facility and let them meet the people who make the product or provide the service. Set performance standards and provides guarantees. Sampling can also help a hesitant customer feel more secure with his decision. Give them a free trial, or a period during which they may cancel without penalty.
Need more information. Provide comparisons of the products in your line, and how your products compare to the competition. Encourage the customer to describe their wants and needs early in the process, so that you can explain how you solve their problems.
Pricing concerns and changes. Customers want to know that they are getting the best price, that they can afford the purchase, and that the price will not drop right after they buy. One reason some people do not like shopping for a new car is that they fear that they are not getting the best deal in negotiations. Have established pricing so customers do not have to worry that someone else is getting a better deal. If your prices must change (perhaps due to competition) offer a guarantee that you will match a lower price within a set time, such as 30 days.
Choose the ideas that are best for your customers, plan your sales process to reduce or eliminate the effect of these five factors, and you will close more sales faster.