In this article, I’m going to introduce you to ten often mind-blowing and easy things you can do to get more people to buy more often from your computer business.
Star Wars is required viewing for tech guys and gals so I’m sure you’ve seen the Jedi mind tricks where the Jedi can make someone think or do what they want.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have that ability? Well, you actually can tap into a similar “power” through the power of psychology.
Don’t be fooled. Psychology is not hocus-pocus, it is a very well studied and documented science. Just as Jedi mind tricks, it may not always work on everyone.
Keep in mind that what we are discussing here are not sleazy tricks to force people to open their wallets or make them buy what they don’t want or need. We’re Talking about ways to influence people to do what they already want or need to do but just need some help.
1. Give Less, Not More
In technology, there are always tons of options. Whether you are an MSP or you are a break/fix company there are always numerous services, solutions and products that you have at your disposal.
However, giving customers lots of options creates “paralysis of analysis” and the customer will tend to choose not to make a decision when faced with too many options. It is best to narrow your options to what you feel they really need.
How do you do this? You ask questions.
Don’t just show a customer your four managed service plans or your five desktop computer choices. Instead, ask questions that will give you the information you need to guide the customer to what they really need.
In other words, be their IT advisor from the start. Instead of waiting on the customer to hire you, buy something from you or sign a contract, go ahead and give them a taste of what they can expect from you. This is your chance to shine and show off your skills to guide them to what they really need. Let’s face it, most people have no idea what they need.
Develop a standard questionnaire that you walk customers through based on what they want to buy and you’ll find that not only will the customer make a more informed decision but the amount of positive things you’ve deposited into that customer relationship will pay over and over again.
2. Learn To Walk Away
This can seem counter-productive or even high-minded but realizing that there are some customers that you just have to let go is a good thing. You can’t, and shouldn’t, be all things to all people. The sure way to failure is trying to make everyone happy.
Instead, you should know when you and a customer are a good fit. I’m not talking just a good fit based on your services but also based on how they respond to you, how they pay their invoice and so on. Nothing is worse than having customers that you really just don’t like. It’s bad for you and them. Let them go!
Back when I had a retail store and serviced residential customers, there were several people that would come in regularly to “pick my brain”. These people took up enormous amounts of my time and NEVER bought anything. They would buy my recommended products online or they would take my diagnostic info and try to fix it themselves. I hated to see these people come in the door.
Eventually, I learned what I’m telling you here and I tactfully and professionally ended the problem. Yes, some of them were mad at me but it was still well worth the decision.
Removing customers that needlessly suck up my time opens me up for more and better customers. Even if I have a client that is paying me for monthly support; if that client eats up way more time than they should, it is time for me to question if it’s more profitable to cut them loose.
3. People Buy Emotionally
This truth can be seen all over the place. If you take a really good look at what people buy and why they buy it you’ll find that “feeling” is the biggest reason.
People like the way something makes them feel and therefore they buy it. As irrational as that sounds, it holds true time and again. So what does this mean for you?
Get customers to be emotionally involved with their purchase or with your company. Some people are champions of this via social media by sharing “real life” with their customers and letting them inside.
People love a good story, they love to be part of the story, so give people a reason to become involved.
Appeal to customer’s feelings by making them feel great about their choice of product or service. Always give them a great customer experience so that they feel confident that you are the one they want to do business with.
4. People Do Not Buy Technology
One reason some techs are not selling as much as they could is because they haven’t yet realized that people don’t buy technology. What they are really Buying is what that technology can do for them; they’re buying results.
Talking gigabytes, terabytes, clock cycles, cores and throughput are not what the average customer is buying from you. They are buying products or services that give them a result that they want or need.
They may be buying to increase productivity or reduce costs or increase security. Your job is to figure out what end result they are trying to accomplish, what need or desire they’re wanting to fulfill.
Try talking more about what your products or services can do for a customer and see how that works so much better for you.
Reframing is a technique that I use quite often. It involves taking what a customer says they want (or don’t want) and moving their thinking toward what you know they need. You are reframing their thought process. Here’s an example of how that might look.
A customer wants to discuss a network setup with you but they are wanting to keep costs at a bare minimum (sound familiar?). As you quote them on hardware you also include your normal security items such as good antivirus software, a good router with security (or UTM) and backup service.
You know that the customer really needs all of these things but they come back rejecting those items. They explain that they can use a free antivirus app, a router from a discount store and they’ll backup their data to a thumb drive.
It’s time to reframe the customer and move them away from the price conversation and into a conversation around security, value, protection, peace of mind, etc. Once you get them to think on those terms they can begin to realize that it is smarter and likely less expensive to go with your recommendations.
Remind the customer of the results of what they’re buying, not the physical product or service.
This leads perfectly to my next tip…
6. Lead The Horse To Water
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. That is true, however; there are often times when the horse will most certainly drink when led to the water.
In talking to clients, especially if you’re using the reframing tactic, make sure you always lead the customer in a way that allows THEM to come to the conclusion that you want them to have.
People are much, much more likely to move in the direction you want them to if they feel like they came to a wise decision or chose the best option rather than feeling like they had no choice or was forced.
Take a customer down the path you want them on, lead them to the conclusion you want them to draw and then praise them like crazy for making the best choice. Pay attention and you’ll see this tactic used quite often by salespeople in other industries.
7. Drop Anchor
Everyone goes through a mental process when buying an item. Often the process includes ensuring the price they pay is within reason for the product or service. Besides, don’t you want to know you got the best deal?
Price anchoring is a tactic of creating a mental anchor in a customer’s thought process by which they then make a comparison. So how does this work?
You’ve likely been exposed to this dozens, if not hundreds of times. If you want to sell a $2,000 watch, put it right next to a $10,000 watch. The buyer will see the $2,000 watch as a better price.
If you took that same $2,000 watch and put it next to $200 watches then the chance of it ever selling is slim.
Placing premium products and services near standard options may help create a clearer sense of value for potential customers, who will view the less expensive options as a bargain in comparison.
The same holds true with our services and MSP plans. People tend to buy in the middle when given three pricing options. So using that to your advantage, place the plan you really want people to buy in the middle. Now, create a plan that is only slightly less than the middle plan but has far fewer bells and whistles. Lastly, create a higher plan that has slightly more than the middle plan but price it much higher.
The result you’ll find is that people will almost always pick the middle plan. Even better, they’ll feel great about their choice because it was the one that made the most sense, the better bargain.
8. Know Thyself
You may often hear that you should know your customers or you should know what your ideal customer looks like. That’s true, but you need to also know yourself.
Know what you or your business is best at. Know what it is that you want from your customers. Know what customers YOU are a good fit for, not just what customers are a good fit for you.
When you absolutely know this, you can easily and confidently communicate your value to customers and show that you are the best person or business for their needs.
This is also a good way to find what you should focus on. Maybe you really like dealing with disaster recovery or HIPAA compliance. Knowing this can help you show your market differentiation.
It is also important to know who you are not a good fit for. Taking on customers or projects that are not a good fit for you can be a bad idea.
9. Give And It Shall Be Given
The law of reciprocity is a wonderful thing but it also can feel strange. When someone tells you to give away things for free (time, information, etc.) and it will come back to you, it seems risky.
The law of reciprocity means that when someone gives us something we feel compelled to give something back in return. Have you ever gone to a grocery store and ended up with an unplanned purchase in your cart because you felt a nagging obligation to buy because you tried a free sample? Well, that was the principle of reciprocity in action.
Sometimes the reciprocation is not quite so quick but give it a try. Give your time to community events. Give free information to potential customers. Some common ways we do this are to offer free consultations and free network and security assessments.
Sure it cost us time and money but we are investing in a potential client and we are invoking the law of reciprocity. Since we have given something to the customer with no real expectations they often feel they owe us one.
I also refer to this in terms of making a deposit in a client’s relationship bank. Keep their relationship bank in the black at all times.
10. Do You Feel Me?
When talking with customers another great tactic is to let the customer know that you feel the same way they do. In turn, the customer will also want to feel the same way you do.
I love using this and I do it on every managed services sales presentation. Here is how I use this tactic:
I typically will start the conversation with a sentence like this, “I just want you to know up front that I’m not a salesman and more importantly I hate dealing with IT people. They talk down to you, treat you like you’re ignorant and act like they’re annoyed when you ask for help. Know what I mean?”
This immediately disrupts the client’s thought process and puts them at ease. They feel that you understand their feelings about dealing with IT people and are already interested in what else I have to say.
However, I don’t keep talking. At this point, I start my Q & A session with them. I intimately know what I want to ask and how I want to direct the client. This allows me to be very conversational and use the information and verbiage that the client is giving me to turn around and use it to lead them to where I want them to be.
Remember, earlier I told you that people make decisions emotionally. However, they justify their decisions based on facts.
So once you have them feeling the way you want them to feel and they agree to the purchase, you want to give them a few reasons (facts, not b.s.) as to why their decision was a very good one.
Also, realize that even if your customer feels like that absolutely want and need your product or service, if they can’t justify it based on facts they will likely not buy.
I’d LOVE to have an Audi R8! I pretty sure it would make me feel awesome to have one. I just can’t justify the purchase based on the fact it is irrational for me at this time.
There is a massive amount of information in articles and books about the subject of the psychology of selling, pricing and revenue. Do yourself a favor and invest in spending time studying these things and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A couple of resources I recommend are Predictably Irrational and Influence.
What other Jedi Mind Tricks have you had success with in dealing with customers? Comment below, I would love to know.
This is a post from the blog Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy. Visit YFNCG.com for more computer business tips and resources.
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