Breaking the sales myths

In essence, there are four main fears a buyer has.

1) Firstly, they are worried about paying too much.
No one wants to make a purchase only to realise, later, that they could have bought the same item cheaper, somewhere else.

2) Buyers are also concerned that they will be left disappointed:
In short, that the product or service will fail to fulfill its promise. All of us have made purchases that did not work out.

3) We are also often apprehensive about what others will think.
We live in a world where we face an abundance of choice. In this scenario, whether we like it or not, people judge us on the purchasing decisions we make. When we make a purchase, we are taking a certain risk with our reputation.

This can often be even starker in business to business sales where our reputation can be the difference between receiving and not receiving promotions and salary increases, status in the company etc. Buying, in this scenario, can often be full of doubt and uncertainty, rather than the exhilarating experience many would have us believe it is.

4) Finally, as human beings, we are habitual creatures.
In other words, we do things through habit. We have to be like this, otherwise we would not able to function. The thought processes it takes just to get up in the morning, shower, dress, have breakfast and leave the house means that if we had to think about everything in finite detail, we would never have the time to get to work.

We, therefore, find change uncomfortable. However, many of the purchases and buying decisions that we make, force change upon us. This can become another barrier to the purchase being made. Unless we understand the fears our buyers have, and try and build as much reassurance into the process and offer as we can, we will miss out on opportunities to make a sale.

For example, the retailer; John Lewis, have used the strapline “never knowingly undersold” for many years. The point of this is to reassure customers that when buying from John Lewis they will not pay too much.

Retailers have also attempted to dissipate the concern that a product will leave the consumer disappointed. Most retailers will accept a returned item with a valid receipt, as long as it is not damaged. This helps relieve the buyer of any fears that the purchase will not work out.

Testimonials are an excellent way of dispelling some of the concerns about what other people will think. By demonstrating to a prospect that many others have also bought the product or service, they feel they are in good company. Social proof, in whatever form it takes, can be a very effective way of demonstrating that there is little risk to a buyer’s reputation, whether in consumer sales or in business to business purchases.

Breaking down a purchase into incremental steps, where that is possible, is very effective. It means the changes necessary to use a new product or service can then appear smaller than otherwise they might. This approach, therefore, helps in ensuring there is less of a barrier to purchase.

Failure to understand the real fears that buyers have, and to build as much reassurance into your offering as possible in order to dissipate those fears, will mean opportunities for sales are missed. Recognising the concerns of the buyer and reacting to them, in the right way, can help increase your bottom line.

Grant Leboff is Principal of The Intelligent Sales Club. For more information visit or call 0844 478 0044.