Handling Buyer’s Remorse

Occasionally, a sale falls apart after it’s been made.  In other words, the parties had agreed to do business, but something happened at the last minute to derail it.  Usually buyer’s remorse occurs when the purchaser has “second thoughts” about his decision.  Something just didn’t seem right and he got cold feet.

Buyer’s remorse is more of an issue in consumer sales than business to business:  cars and insurance come to mind because the investment is significant in terms of total dollars or ongoing payments.

Typically buyer’s remorse is caused by pressure – the salesperson pressuring the prospect to make a quick decision.  Often a buyer will succumb to the pressure and agree to buy, only to have second thoughts later when he realizes the magnitude of the commitment he’s made.  Sometimes, when the buyer has recourse to nullify the sale, he takes that option.  That usually happens after the salesperson has left and cannot rescue the deal.

Selling is not about arm-twisting a prospect into submission so you can make a buck.  Selling is about helping people get what they want – about solving problems for people.  You should always make sure your customer feels he made a good decision.  Repeat business and referrals will be your reward.

Eliminating Buyer’s Remorse

Regardless of how much or little pressure is used to get the sale, there’s a very simple tactic to eliminate 90% of buyer’s remorse.

You should always check for buyer’s remorse after the buyer has agreed to do business with you. You might say, “Thanks.  I’m glad we’ll be working together. But before I leave I’d like to make sure you’re totally comfortable with what we’ve agreed to do.  If you aren’t, if you have any hesitation whatsoever, let’s talk about it.”

Another (more low key) approach might be, “Thanks. Any concerns?”  Prospect says, “No.”  You reply, “Great.  Let’s get started.”

Some of you are undoubtedly saying to yourself, “Why in the world would you give them an opportunity to back out of the deal?”  Well, because it’s the right thing to do and it works.

Whether you’re in a consumer sale or a B2B situation, testing to insure your customer is comfortable with his decision is a good thing to do.  Nine times out of ten your new customer will enthusiastically reaffirm his decision to do business with you.  But if he does have some unresolved issues, you are there to deal with them in person. Either way, you both win.

Self-Study Assignment:  How often does buyer’s remorse happen to you?  Try to analyze why it happens.  Insure you’re not putting pressure on the prospect to make a commitment.  Make sure that you test for buyer’s remorse before you leave every successful sales call.