8 Reasons Why Customers Don’t Buy From You

By Bob Phibbs

customer not buying from youNo matter what you sell, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out why a shopper didn’t buy from you. Or another way to put it is why you can't close the sale.

Sure, you can pat yourself on the back and say it was all them, but many times it was the salesperson. When I’m coaching salespeople, I often find they have no sales process, so they waste the shopper’s time asking questions in the wrong place or by presenting the product too soon.

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Some salespeople have limited listening skills and just want to repeat like a parrot the same discount, the same loyalty card, or the same features to every customer. Those salespeople have poor conversions of lookers into buyers as a result.

Here are 8 reasons people don’t buy from you:

No need. This happens frequently when a shopper encounters a product they hadn’t intended to buy – yet they stare at it, ask questions about upkeep, and touch it or try it on. To get this shopper to buy, you need to build enough rapport so that you can find out why they are fascinated by it and how it could fit into their life. Begin a conversation that includes a question, “Wow I see your fascinated with this. What do you love about it? or “Do you have something like this already? What’s it missing that this one has?” You get the idea. It’s your job to show them they really do need it and how it will improve their life.

No money. A new study by Deloitte’s Center for Consumer Insight reported since 1996, the average net worth of consumers under 35 has dropped by one-third. There is an old saying that people behave more like their income than their age. The key to younger consumers is to show them how much they will use a product to make their lives easier. There’s a reason they buy the latest smartphone or Fitbit because they use it excessively. They may have to take money from somewhere else but when they want it bad enough, it is your job to show them it is worth it.

No imagination. There are three parts to the brain. There is the dinosaur brain where the fight or flight feeling comes from. There is the critical parent mid-part of the brain that makes value judgements like is this a good value, will I use it enough, etc. and finally there is the neo-cortex. That is where we experience wonder. It is also where salespeople need to get their shoppers. Unless you can get them to imagine what that gift will look like on her finger, how fun it will be to wake up each morning to open the drapes with one touch while still in bed, or how confident they will feel when they go out on a date, they’ll be stuck. Stuck in the mid-brain that looks for a cheaper price online, or an older model that doesn’t have all the features. They will also try to beat you up on price. Until the shopper imagines their life as this product’s owner, it will stay on your shelf as just another product.

No urgency. Shoppers who feel they can wait have no sense of urgency. Yet nothing haunts shoppers like the item they regret not buying. That’s probably not a box of #2 nails but it could be the perfect jacket, the sewing machine of their dreams, or the sound system that made them feel alive for the first time. I once had a guy who was looking for high-end boots for his new wife. It was Christmas Eve and after fifteen minutes, he put down the boots and said, ‘I’ll look around.” I replied, “Dude, we’re closing in 20 minutes. You should be buying something or you’ll end up giving a Whitman Sampler to your wife and spending the day in the dog house.” He bought the boots and she loved them... and him.

Too many choices. Inexperienced salespeople think showing more product is best but it is really just the opposite. That’s because the shopper won’t know what to buy and they will shut down. If the shopper can't quickly get why one product is better than the other, they become overwhelmed and put blinders on.

Fear of making the wrong choice. Sometimes shoppers go from one site to another and one store to another taking a bit of information from each. Because they have heard conflicting information, they procrastinate. It’s like they have come to believe that there is one perfect product somewhere down the road. This shopper needs to unpack all they have heard and be set straight that your product will require add-ons or extra learning to get the most out of it.

You think merchandise can sell itself. Merchandise that can sell itself will usually do so online. Shoppers who come into the store are looking for more than what they can find on a website. The ability for the salesperson to compare and contrast, to explain, and most of all to listen for how the product they came in for just might not be the best one for their use also can come from an aversion to selling.

You don’t believe in your product. Maybe you know how much an item costs, so you feel like a fraud trying to get full price for it. Maybe you know the item a shopper is looking at was on sale last week. Maybe you don’t believe the marketing materials. One way is to collect stories from happy people who have purchased it from you or even from your online product reviews. Another way to fix that is to buy one yourself. Until you have this customer insight or first-hand experience, you’re like a priest telling a newlywed couple what the wedding night will be like.

See also, Selling Skills: How To Close A Retail Sale

In Sum
Often all of these customer reasons come from you not feeling the need to sell your products. And I news for you…even Apple needs to sell their products.

Your job as a retailer is to give a shopper enough attention so they feel you are a trusted advisor.

Your job needs to be to craft enough rapport they can tell you honestly what they are feeling and you need to be able to get the shopper to imagine owning the item so clearly that they have to take it home.

That takes a sales process. If you’d like help with how to train retail staff your or to have me personally train your teams, let’s chat.

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