Reasons For Not Buying: Fear
But Lisa might not want to buy it immediately. Maybe this is because it is from a new Italian brand with which she is not familiar. Also, the handbag could be a little bit small, in her opinion. Or the price: since she has never purchased this new brand before, she is not very sure about such an expense. The sales advisor is very good, for sure, but since this is the first time she has met her, she is not able to gain the full trust of the customer. Last but not least, Lisa might tell herself to not rush: buying a handbag is not urgent and she might think she should take more time to look over other things on offer. She will then give the classic and terrifying (for a sales advisor) comment “let me think about it.”
When customers do not buy, of course you are disappointed. But few sales advisors actually ask themselves why the customer did not go ahead with a purchase. What were the reasons that the customer did not buy? There is only one important factor that blocks the purchase decision: fear.
The customer is taking an important decision—not just in terms of the purchase value but due to the fact that someone like Lisa simply does not buy a branded handbag every day, every week or every month—and customers feel that there is a risk of getting it wrong. Therefore, the safest thing for a customer is to postpone the decision. This is again not a decision about the money involved but rather to avoid making a mistake. When the fear is stronger than the desire, a customer always follows their basic instinct: to escape from the danger.
In the case of B-to-B, professional buyers would establish a list of criteria for the decision. And since a decision needs to be taken, the buyer can compare the different options, rate them and choose the best one. The final decision might be rated as only fulfilling 80% of the criteria, but since it was deemed to be the best option, it still makes it the optimal choice.
For the end customer, a “yes” has to be a fully convincing one. The decision not only has to be the best decision, but also a happy decision. A customer never buys with only 80% satisfaction, and never buys with potential regrets. Purchasing Luxury is all about purchasing pleasure.
We will see in the following chapters how you can increase the customer’s desire to purchase, but more importantly, the different ways to reduce the fear of purchasing—notably by dealing with objections elegantly (Chart 4.1).
Chart 4.1 Between desire and fear
Golden Rule Corner
Focus on desire but do not forget the fear.
Fear is powerful and the main reason for not buying.