People will tell you that buyer’s remorse is a perfectly normal reaction on the part of your customers. That it always happens. However, I don't believe that buyer's remorse is normal, or even necessary.
According to a definition 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. These are not the typical emotions or feelings that we normally associate with a long, healthy and mutually profitable relationship with a customer. (Think of the upbeat testimonial you would get from a customer who experienced these emotions about buying from you “Initially I was filled with self-loathing about my decision to buy from XYZ, Inc. But despite my 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 points to a fundamentally flawed sales effort on your part. Buyer’s remorse is a signal from your customer that the 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 fundamental level of trust with the prospect and make yourself the 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 from both a business and personal standpoint. A buyer could fear that if your product or service doesn’t perform as promised it could negatively affect their career. Anxiety could also be based on the fear that a manager or peer inside the company will challenge his or her decision based on their perception of a better solution being available..
To mitigate this perception of risk you have to make it easy for the customer to choose you by providing value throughout the sales process. Here are four fear-reducing, value-producing, and trust-building, steps to take:
Your prospects want to make fully informed purchase decisions with the least investment of their time. To make decisions, they need information. Commit to always being the first seller with the answer to their questions. (Remember, being responsive is not the same as being the first to respond. Incomplete answers are the same as not responding at all.)
Just as important as being responsive in answering questions, is asking the questions that will help your prospects better understand their requirements. What are the three big questions you can ask that will help shape what the buyer envisions to be the optimal solution to their needs?
To confidently make informed purchase decisions buyers need context and 3rd party validation for the information you have provided them. The best way to provide context to a prospect is through simple, well-crafted sales stories that quickly illustrate how other customers have used your product or service to profitably solve problems similar to theirs.
Right-sizing means aligning the size of your offer with the customer’s tolerance for risk. Your prospect may have the requirement for 10 widgets but they are anxious about your ability to perform. So, reduce their perceived decision-risk and implementation-risk by proposing to sell one widget. Establish your track record with the first widget and then sell them nine more.
Finally, it's important to keep in mind 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 expect nothing less than perfection.
Image via: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lumenia/
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company's Sales. A leading sales process expert and noted speaker, Andy works with B2B sales teams of all sizes and shapes to teach them how to Sell with Maximum Impact in the Least Time. Sign up for our weekly digest of valuable selling tips, “The Speed of Selling.” For assistance with your sales processes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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