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What Stops Customers from Buying?

What Stops Customers from Buying

No sale is really complete until the product is worn out, and the customer is satisfied.

~L.L. Bean

The key to running any business is having customers who want to buy your goods. Convincing a customer they not only want your goods but need them is critical to the sales process.

In order to create this desire, you must first figure out what barriers are keeping your customers from buying. Then, you must devise ways to overcome those issues.

One of the most common barriers is price. Car manufacturers, however, have figured out a pretty effective way of overcoming this. They understand that customers are more concerned with monthly payments than they are the actual sticker price of the car, so they offer interest rate subsidies that lower monthly payments. Some even go as far as to offer zero percent financing to drive down monthly payments. They just know that is a bigger motivator for their customers than reduced prices.

I was working with Allen DeWolf, an entrepreneur who owns a company called Electric Hoof Knife. The company sells a power tool Allen developed for trimming goat, cow and horse hooves, among others.

Related Article: Sales Objections

Allan’s tool is a significant improvement over the old way of trimming hooves by hand. Not only is it faster, but it is also easier on the trimmer’s hands and arms. Not to mention, the animals prefer it as well.

Despite the fact that the product is a vast improvement, Allen is facing a couple of barriers. Firstly, the tool is expensive. It goes for around $270. And secondly, most of the people in his target market are reluctant to try a new product, even if it will make or save them a great deal of money. They are just hesitant to invest in a relatively new process.

Though Allen’s sales are good, he knows they could be even better if he could just convince new customers to try his product. We talked about this problem and eventually came up with a way to remove the barriers.

To reduce the perceived risk, Allen decided to allow customers to try his product on their animals for 15 days. If they are unhappy for any reason, they can return the product for a full refund, no questions asked.

When we first looked at this tactic, Allen had big concerns that some customers might wreck the product in 15 days. I agreed that was probably going to happen in a few cases but explained that those costs would be far outweighed by the benefits of having more customers willing to try the product. Rather than focusing on the small number of people who might abuse the policy, he needed to focus on how many more customers would come in the door now that he changed his return policy.

Now go out and make sure you have considered every reason a potential customer might decide not to try your product or service. Once you know what these reasons are, develop ways to overcome them.

You can do this.

Published: October 19, 2015

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Jerry Osteryoung

Jerry Osteryoung is a consultant to businesses—he has directly assisted over 3,000 firms. He is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship (Emeritus) and Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at Florida State University. He was the founding Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008. His latest book, coauthored with Tim O’Brien, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book,” is a bestseller on Amazon. Email Jerry @ jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com

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