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How to get your customers to stop ”thinking about it”

Are you tired of excuses? Are you interested in learning some special techniques to get people to decide right now? Do your customers say: ”I'll think about it and get back to you” or ”Call me next week and we'll set up a meeting”? If your customers are saying things like this, then it means you are not able to create a sense of urgency for them to decide now.

The first step to get people to act directly is to make them feel that what you have is limited in some way. Your time may be limited, or perhaps the number of assignments you can take is limited. People want what's hot now. Psychologists have proven to those of us who sell our knowledge that people value things they can't get much higher. If you are told that you can't get a certain thing, it's pretty likely that you'll want it even more. Yes, it's hard to be human sometimes!

If you turn on a commercial channel in the middle of the day or sometimes at night, you always get ads disguised as information. They sell knives, training gear and more - so called infomercials. Marketers behind the programs are experts at creating the feeling of a rush for customers. They give away a thing or cut down on the price if you call before the program ends. It doesn't matter that we always say that we won't fall for that – these companies sell lots of stuff during the shows. (I too have bought various pieces of training equipment that is now collecting dust in the closet).

The key here is confidence - or rather, imagined confidence. I'm sure that you know exactly what kind of attitude you have when times are bad at the company and you are willing to do anything to land a customer. You make promises you normally wouldn't. You are practically on your knees, begging to get his/her business. You know it - and so do your customers. They see the expression in your eyes and hear it in your voice and they can hardly wait before saying goodbye to you forever. People think that if you are so desperate, then you are probably not very good at what you do. They want to do business with successful companies.

But how do you learn to play this instrument? It's easy!

1. Make yourself unavailable at times. Make it a little difficult for people to make appointments with you. It doesn't mean that you should turn off all communication tools and hide in the basement, it means that you should not stand at attention for every contact you receive. Instead, you make yourself more attractive by, for example, saying: ”I'm fully booked this week, but maybe I can squeeze you in on Wednesday at 2 pm. Does that work for you?” Then give them a deadline to decide on. If people think they have all the time in the world to decide, you can bet they will also postpone their decision forever!

2. Be careful with who you work with. Set a standard for what kind of customers you have the desire to work with. It will give people the impression that you are busy and won't work with just anyone. Some people will even fight to reach up to the standard you set to be able to work with you.

3. Experiment with the ”I'm not sure”-technique. The more you tell your customers that you are not quite sure that if what you sell is right for them, the more they will want it and they will begin to work hard to convince you to work with them. By taking something away from them, you can create reasons for them to want it even more.

Creating a sense of urgency usually makes both the seller and the customer a winner. Customers get help to make a decision they would make anyway - only faster. And for you, it means more sales. But, and here’s the key, it doesn't matter what techniques you use if the client is worried. Imagine that you're sitting with a client in a meeting where the client can't seem to decide. You will soon go crazy. You've told him/her everything! You've done everything you can to prove that you are the right person – or so you think. Yet he/she sits there with a nervous smile and squirms.

Let's get inside the brain of your customer and see what happens there:

10 things that your customer is concerned about:

1. I wonder if they can really explain things to make me understand them as well in the future.
2. Have they really listened to me or do they just use a standard solution they’ll make me buy?
3. I wonder who they have worked for in the past and what they think of them.
4. I wonder if they have an education that is relevant specifically to help us.
5. I wonder if they are objective so they don't charge extra to push us in any particular direction.
6. I wonder who will do the actual work. Is it the nice woman we just met, or is it someone we haven't met yet and what will happen once they get involved?
7. I wonder how closely we will be able to follow the process along the way.
8. I wonder what this will cost me in the end.
9. I wonder what happens if I'm not satisfied.
10. I wonder if the time they promise that the job will take is correctly measured.

Now the question is - how good are you at taking care of those concerns right away during the meeting? The answer could be the difference between “Ka-ching” and bye-bye!

Homework: Revise paragraphs 1-10 and think about what you can do to limit your customers' concerns before they have time to even think about concerns.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.