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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 at 7:46 am

7 Ways to Win Over Reluctant Buyers

By Jeff Sexton
November 26th, 2008

“Do I really need that?”

Those are probably the 5 scariest words in website optimization today.  More and more visitors are asking themselves that question and then not buying.

They’re applying a considered purchase mindset to much lower price-points than ever before.  And most websites’ copywriting is coming up short in the face of this new challenge, since most of it was written to describe rather than to intensify desire or persuade.

So with that in mind, here’s a quick and dirty list of 7 ways to intensify your visitors desire for your products:

1.  Show your product/service in action
This one is especially good for your spontaneous and competitive customers.  Don’t just describe the thing, write copy that’ll cause the reader to imagine using it.  Take something like:

“The Nikon SB600 Speedlight Flash provides Accurate, seamless fill-flash capability under the most difficult, tricky lighting situations”

and amplify it with:

“Mount your SB-600 to your Nikon DSLR and move from indoor to outdoor and from overcast to sunny without ever having to worry about lighting. The TTL metering takes care of everything – and you can even manually dial the flash power down to 1/64 full output, and everything in between; perfect for fill flash.  And for taking perfect pictures in any lighting”

2.  Show prospects how to test your performance claims
This one is good for all buyers, but especially powerful for your more skeptical temperaments (read Methodical and Competitives).   Here’s an example, using the same Nikon flash as before:

“If you’ve never used anything but your Nikon’s built in flash, we recommend you immediately do this upon taking the SB600 out of the box:

  • Just take indoor photos of your kids, your pets, or whatever you have pre-Sb600 comparison photos of.
  • Then put the new, unedited shot side by side on your monitor with your old post-processed photo.

If you’re not blown away at how much better the raw photo is, send it back for a full refund.”

3. Stretch out your benefits in time
While everyone wants to know that they’ll look back on a purchase as money well spent, this can be especially important for Humanistics, as their slow decision-making style and longer time frame make them especially concerned with how they will feel about a purchase after it has been made. So copy like this can really help to make the sale:

Imagine getting 5 fabulous shots you wouldn’t have on every photo shoot you do over the next year – including night shots of your family and friends.  How many magic moments will you have captured?  How many albums will you fill with what would have been lost photos?  How many times will you have saved the day by being the only one in the group to have taken a decent photo?

4. Show experts (or loved ones) approving
Logical temperaments look for the approval of experts, emotional temperaments hope for the approval of loved ones.  So give it to them in your copy.   When possible pull quotes from expert reviews, awards, magazine articles, etc.  Make the reader visualize the approval of family members, colleagues.  For instance if the Nikon SB600 flash provides perfect white balance for night shots, you might take a feature like:

“White balance is optimized through the use of flash color information obtained by the Speedlight.”

And create something along the lines of:

“Your family and friends will finally rave over your control over night time shots – especially when everyone else’s is washed or blown out by too white/bright flash settings.  And it’s all automatic!”

5. Prove superiority or value over other alternatives
Showing how great the Nikon SB600 is helps, but showing how it’s way better than competitor’s products or 95% as good as the SB800 at half the cost is even better.  Do this on a general use and feature-by-feature basis and you’ll win over your logical decision makers.  Assume that your visitors ARE comparison shopping and set out to win the race.

6.  Show how easy it is to get the benefit
In a time-starved world, the perceived difficulty of actually learning to use the product well enough to get the benefit is often the biggest deal killer.

The camera flash might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if I still have my DSLR stuck on “P” mode, all those features might convince me that I’ll never be able to figure out how to work the darn thing – and then I’ll opt not to buy.  And simply claiming that the flash is “easy to use” isn’t going to help.

But if you show me how the flash is automated and will start making my pictures better just by sticking it in the hot shoe, and that the rest of the features are easy to learn one at a time, then I’m much more likely to buy.

7. Put your guarantee to work
It’s one thing to state a guarantee, it’s another to make your reader imagine the security that comes with it.  So take a summary statement like:

“Your new flash is guaranteed to be the best camera accessory you’ve ever purchased, or your money back”

and amplify on it with something like:

“Use the flash for a full month and if you’re not taking the best pictures of your life with this new Nikon speedflash, you’ll STILL have another 30 days in which to return it for a full refund.”

If you’re an e-tailer with lots of SKUs implementing this list might not be feasible for all of your items, but do yourself the favor of testing a few of these techniques on your previous top sellers and see what kind of results you get.  I’ll bet they’ll be big enough to make copy improvement a priority for all your popular items.

And if you’re only selling a limited range of items or services, then what are you waiting for – get started improving that copy before the holiday rush!  Remember, you want to leave your readers feeling like the little boy in this picture:

Have a wonderful Thankgiving. Best of luck on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Add Your Comments

Comments (24)

  1. Very good article Jeff, frankly I need to work on everyone of your points on my website.

    Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

  2. I love the notion about accountability. Saying “this is our product and these are our claims”. I like that these should be honest.

    If you can’t be honest about the products that you’re selling then sell some other products.

  3. GREAT article! I love that you’re actually using the personas together with the article!

    I have a question though: Would you think the Competitive persona would wanna watch a “demo” of the product. In my case it’s a demo of how our Hosting Package works.

  4. [...] By now you’ve probably heard the news, the economy’s not doing so hot, and people are holding tight to their purse-strings. GrokDotCom offers 7 ways to win over reluctant buyers this season. [...]

  5. [...] till att genomföra ett köp är en utmaning en e-handlare alltid står inför. E-handelsbloggen GrokDotCom ger 7 tips på hur man kan förbättra övertalningsförmågan nu i dessa svåra tider. Så nu är [...]

  6. Julian,

    A good demo goes beyond type and appeals to everyone. Properly implemented, video demos improve conversion rates. That said, there are aspects of a demo that can be manipulated to appeal to different personality types. Showing the thing in action appeals to spontaneous temperaments. Showing the thing producing results, showing the amount of control a user has over the software/website, showing why it’s a superior choice will appeal to competitives. Methodicals will want to see a breakdown of how the thing/software works and indications that you’ve covered most contingencies and “what if” scenarios. Finally, humanistic temperaments will want a some videos of people and customers discussing their experiences with your software/service.

    Hope that helps.

    - Jeff

  7. Great points, Jeff.

    Two other things to think about: Anticipate as many questions, doubts as possible and find a way to answer them either on FAQ’s or in main copy. And highlight customer support. I’ve dropped quite a few shopping carts because I couldn’t find answers to my questions.

    Secondly, think about after the purchase. Plenty of consumers are ready to return at the slightest reason. Keep your sales sold by providing excellent followup. Highlight customer service again, but also reiterate benefits and provide guidance on how to get the most out of the purchase in insert with purchase or in autoresponders.

    Not only will this help keep your products sold, but it also will help instill loyalty in your customers – and what could be better than a returning customer.

    (Some of this I cover in my free report, “Health Copywriting Tactics for a Tough Economy”)

  8. Sarah,

    Nice points. We always pound on the “answer the customer’s questions” issue, so sometimes I take it as a “for granted” thing, but a quick look at most websites proves that it’s not. I really like the “after the sale” follow up though. This is a no brainer for most truly complex sales, but it is incredibly profitable for all website interactions.

    - Jeff

  9. Great set of points! Ill’ be keeping your advice in mind. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. Jeff, you did an excellent job of demonstrating each point ~ for a product. I, and I’m sure many others, would love to see the same 7 ways applied to reluctant buyers of services, like for a coach, consultant, health care professional, etc.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. I thinking offering great online/phone support is another thing that can make buyers buy.

  12. [...] 7 Ways to Win Over Reluctant Buyers, el autor nos dá varios consejos para conseguir escribrir el texto en nuestro sitio de forma que [...]

  13. [...] wie formuliere ich meine Produktbeschreibungen, damit die Leute “geil” drauf werden? Ein wie ich finde sehr wichtiger Punkt, passend [...]

  14. [...] 7 Ways to Win Over Reluctant BuyersNovember 26, 2008 [...]

  15. Great points and I appreciated the good examples.
    Lately I’ve noticed the use of the last one, “Put Your Guarantee to Work” on more TV commercials as well as retail sites. So it must be working!

  16. [...] post was in response to a reader request/comment to my previous article on “7 Ways to Win Over Reluctant Buyers.”  Thanks for the question, Bonnie, and I hope this helps.] In Improving [...]

  17. [...] a must-read article in FutureNow , a very interesting marketing blog, titled 7 ways to win a reluctant buyer giving some very good tips for turning clicks into [...]

  18. [...] a must-read article in FutureNow , a very interesting marketing blog, titled 7 ways to win a reluctant buyer giving some very good tips for turning clicks into [...]

  19. I learned a valuable tip here.. “Show it in action”. Off to make some website modifications to test this out today!

  20. It’s DEFINITELY hard to sell SEO to someone who has never heard of it before!

  21. We get all sorts of questions about SEO from lawyer all the time – it’s essential for their business.

  22. I will take your advice and amend the description of one our popular products and see if the conversion improves. I think it will after reading your examples. Thanks!

  23. Thanks for the tips. I have to admit my Internet business is struggling a bit because of all the competitors. The web is such a big place that has room for so many competitors.

  24. I really like the “after the sale” follow up though. This is a no brainer for most truly complex sales, but it is incredibly profitable for all website interactions.

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Jeff is a Persuasion Architect, Web copywriter, blogger, and instructor of FutureNow's Persuasive Online Copywriting workshop. Follow Jeff Sexton on twitter

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