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Understanding Buyer Habits and How They Impact Your Business

Sales are like a game of poker — you must always be attuned to the verbal and non-verbal cues of the people on the other side of the table. Otherwise, you may end up losing the game because you didn’t catch a hint in time. But, of course, losing in sales isn’t about giving away your chips. Rather, it means your prospective clients walk out the door and book your competitor.

To stay ahead of the game, you need to understand that all buyers have certain habits. They may present themselves differently based on an individual’s personality, but there are three key behaviors that you will see time and time again when sitting at the sales table. Being aware of these habits and knowing how to approach them as a confident business owner is vital to your ability to sell (and even upsell) your products and services.

So, what are these three buyer habits? Let’s dive right in.

The Squeeze
This is a common tactic that buyers use to see if you’re willing to budge on price. When they say something like “I can get it for less” or “so-and-so quoted me a lower price,” they are pushing you to make the sale — but only at a deeply discounted rate. Don’t give in to this ploy! If you do, it will become your habit to lower your prices and, ultimately, cheapen the integrity of your offerings.

Recognize your worth and approach squeeze clients with confidence in your pricing and product. Explain the value behind your offerings and ask them where their comparisons are coming from. However, do not ask how much they want to pay (unless they offer it up) because you will get trapped into that specific number. Instead, leave it open-ended and continue revisiting your value propositions to demonstrate the unique benefits your brand provides.

The Flinch
Now, the flinch is most commonly seen as a physical reaction (as in, an actual flinch), a facial expression, or a phrase like “It’s HOW much!?” Sometimes, a buyer will tie in all of those behaviors at once. You’ve surely heard this one by now, but did you know how to handle it?

More often than not, the buyer is being dramatic to see if you’ll doubt your pricing and lower it “just for them.” Let them go through the motions and, once they’re done performing, ask them about their biggest objections to the price. Why do they believe it should be lower? You can learn a lot about a buyer’s motivations here, so listen up and be prepared to sell the benefits as they reveal their pain points. Be persistent — they will eventually soften up and listen to the reasoning behind your prices!

The Sob Story
The sob story is arguably the hardest buyer behavior to overcome because it pulls at our heartstrings and hits us where we’re most vulnerable. After all, we are humans that empathize with other people’s concerns. But, with that said, that does not mean you must discount your value and accept less than you deserve as a service provider.

If your buyer starts to go down the road of “All I can afford is…” or “All I have in my budget is…,” tread very carefully. In very few situations, you might consider extending a small good faith discount for genuine circumstances, like if a recent diagnosis pushed up a wedding date or a prospect lost their home from a natural disaster. If you do choose to provide goodwill discounts, make sure the claims are verifiable.

Unfortunately, there are too many people who use sob stories to manipulate the game, which ends up damaging the authentic cases. If somebody brings a sob story to you and you’re not having it, try to help them realign their budget or offer different packages or services that may be better suited for their situation.

Normally, a prospect will back down when they see their attempt wasn’t successful. If they end up booking elsewhere, know that it’s not your pricing — it just means they weren’t your ideal client because they failed to see the value in what you bring to the table. Worry not, as there will always be those who are champing at the bit to work with you!

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