You and your sales and marketing team have worked hard to close a big sale. You got the verbal commitment and are awaiting the signed agreement. Suddenly, and certainly unexpectedly, the buyer calls or emails to cancel the order. B2B buyer’s remorse set in post-purchase.
Buyers tend to experience cognitive dissonance post-purchase. According to Boundless, “Cognitive dissonance, another form of buyer’s remorse, is common at [the final stages of the buying process]. This is when the customer may experience feelings of post-purchase psychological tension or anxiety. “ It may occur due to any number of reasons but typically through a fear of making the wrong choice or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.
How to Minimize Negative Post-purchase Behavior
You can help minimize, even eliminate, negative post-purchase behavior by implementing an effective customer acquisition program. As such, you’ll deliberately develop a multi-step system to minimize buyer’s remorse and help a new customer move forward with you motivated, excited and eager to succeed.
The first step is what you do prior to the actual purchase and during the buyer’s journey. By supplying the prospective buyer with credible information and assurances, you can help minimize the onset of negative post-purchase behaviors. Consider these questions to construct a solid purchasing experience for the prospective buyer…
- What does your product do to specifically solve the buyer’s problems or achieve his/her goals?
- How does your product or service do this and how have other companies experienced the results?
- What “reason to believe” exists that these outcomes will occur for me?
- What expectations exist for implementing your solution and achieving these results (e.g. time commitment, learning curve, etc.)?
- Do you have an on-boarding process in place to immediately engage the buyer post-purchase and guide them through the next steps?
- What assurances can you provide whether from peers,or through policies like guarantees that reinforces she or he has made the right decision (or at least not a poor decision)?
Four Post-Purchase Goals to Accomplish for Helping Buyers
Upon completing the purchase, the second stage of your post-purchase system comes into play. Your post-purchase system should accomplish four core items:
- Reinforce why the buyer made the right choice
- Help the buyer focus on the positives to be gained
- Ease uncertainties and anxieties by clearly defining next steps
- Make the transition to the implementation team smooth and maintain high-levels of communications
Real World Examples of Post-Purchase Strategies
How you communicate and deliver these core items may vary among different channels including phone calls, emails, online chats, webinars and onsite meetings. Below are a number of effective ways used by other companies that have shown good results to strengthen post-purchase feelings and beliefs among buyers:
- Congratulate the buyer on their selection and validate it by referencing other clients like them (e.g. “you now joined an outstanding group of companies including X, Y, Z who have made the same decision to work with us.”)
- Ask the buyer for a testimonial which enables them reflect back on their positive experience and reinforces the positive feelings and beliefs
- Similarly, ask for referrals which further commits them to your solution and reinforces that they made the right decision worthy of a referral
- Layout the immediate “next steps” and help them understand expectations and resource requirements
- Model what it means to “partner” in the buyer’s success and help guide them through the initial transition period
- Deliver a “welcome kit” to build excitement and highlight the implementation or account management team they’ll be working with post-purchase; include pictures and fun facts about the team
- Conduct a win analysis and ask them what was the biggest reason why they chose your solution which also reinforces the positive feelings and experiences
- Send them a handwritten “thank you” note to express your enthusiasm for moving ahead – make it even better with a gift package welcoming them to your customer “community”.
The most effective approach typically involves a combination of thee above examples. Most importantly though, as with developing personas for attracting the right type of buyers, you’ll also want to use these personas to determine the best post-purchase strategies. Keep in mind too, effective customer retention starts immediately post-purchase with an effective onboarding process. So the time you invest not only reduces buyer’s remorse but also positions you immediately for higher retention rates.
What’s the Take-Away About Post-Purchase Activities?
The key take-away is to make people feel good about you before they buy, during their purchase, and after purchasing. Help them successfully arrive at the best destination after traversing their buyer’s journey. If you do, they’ll reward you with loyalty and word of mouth referrals. If you earn the buyer’s trust in making them feel proud of their buying decision then they’ll be more willing to take a moment to write a great testimonial and pass along their success to others.
Looking to find your next customer? Kevin Gold, of Next Leap Strategy, helps business owners, marketers and sales leaders develop and execute effective customer acquisition strategies to generate more sales leads and convert them into customers. He is also co-founder of FindYourNextCustomers.com, a Customer Acquisition Accelerator Bootcamp for B2B businesses. Get started by contacting Kevin at 513.601.8893 or visit www.NextLeapStrategy.com or connect with Kevin on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kevincgold