Buyers remorse is something we have all probably experienced at one time or another – that feeling when our purchases don’t live up to our expectations.
Personal examples may include that really expensive sports car that you envisage driving to satisfy your desire for careless freedom. That one that turns out really expensive to run especially when most of your driving is the daily commute. Or, that “needs some work” house you imagine to be the house of your dreams. The one that translates into a “throwing good money after bad” dust bowl.
There is a standard psychological mistake (PsyBlog) people can make when making purchases. Thinking abstractly about our purchases creates the problem that we tend to forget about the little (and sometimes not so little) details. And it’s these details that bring about the remorse. Research finds that our happiness is predicted better by the details of our everyday lives than it is by our overall life circumstances (see Kahneman et al. 2004 and Kanner et al., 1981). Where happiness may come from the small pleasures in life, the little hassles cause the most disappointment.
So, how does this translate into a professional sales context? How to avoid buyers remorse in a business-to-business sales situation?
Following the results or problem impact and evidence phase in the sales cycle, describing the exact solution has to go into the detail of implementation or delivery of the solution. Although this is seemingly obviously, the solution is not one unless the implementation provides detail about integration into the client’s organisation.
A project is not complete until the problem the client was experiencing, that they wanted to resolve, is resolved and not when the solution is delivered or commissioned. It has to be made absolutely clear as to how the solution is indeed going to be just that – provide a solution to the problem that client described and you so eloquently articulated. This may to prove the result impact and evidence your solution promised to an opportunity increase market share or reduce the cost of doing business, for instance. This is about providing the detail that will reduce the potential for buyer’s remorse especially in a business=to-business context in which the buyer is not necessarily the one who experiences the solution. Attention to detail that grounds the euphoria of the solution with reality is appropriate.
By way of example, IT systems are notorious for promising euphoria and providing buyers remorse. In this context, operational readiness is an integral part of the solution – ways of assuring the availability and performance of the system, initial and on-going user training, on-going user adoption or gauging user experience, proving return on investment and total cost of ownership.
The sales professional has to describe the journey not only the destination – not only the vision but the strategy and tactics of the solution.
It is most often those seemingly little, almost trivial details that impact client experience – the how with the what they are going to achieve is key to that experience being a pleasurable one.