This economy has changed a number of consumer behaviors. The problem I have noticed is that salespeople are not paying attention to the behavior change. True, they are aware of the economy, however, they are still over trusting their sales process and have yet to make an adjustment to the new buyer. It is not that the new buyer is so new. It is actually the same buyer, they have just changed their behavior so dramatically that they no longer look the same. What are these behaviors you may ask? Let’s review just a few of them.
1. Increased Emotional Intensity
We have always known that the buyer is emotional. Every purchase regardless of the product or service has some emotion attached to it. All that is still true, however, the intensity of these emotions are significantly higher. Today’s buyer buys because they are really emotionally attached to the product or service, or they do not buy because they really hate the product or service. They idea of “feeling” neutral has eroded. I have looked at customer service surveys and it is the extreme ends that are being selected the middle ground is gone.
2. Increased Excuses and Lack of Commitment
We have all heard of “Buyers’ Remorse”. We are now moved into “shoppers remorse”. The remorse is starting before the purchase is complete or the contract is signed. More frequently before the contract can be executed a buyer will “run” away and avoid the commitment. The excuses buyers use to escape their commitment are many. It usually is a result of the very first point made. The increase in emotional intensity is so overwhelming in order to reduce the intensity or “escape” it. The buyer finds a way out. As the buyer continues to do this over and over again it only reinforces and increases the future behavior of “escape”. Behavioral psychologists call this “negative reinforcement”.
3. Increase in Unethical Buyer Behavior
Money is not evil. However, it is written that the “love” of money is the root of all evil. Money has become more “precious” to people because people have less of it to spend, the future of getting more of it or keeping it is in doubt, and to part with it, even if it is a good investment is overwhelmingly frightening. This has resulted in behaviors that are bizarre and unethical. For example, a real estate agent recently shared a story that a seller’s husband had died, the buyer wanted out of the contract, the last day of due diligence was on the day of the seller’s husbands funeral, the buyer wanted to escape the contract and insisted that this real estate agent bring the decline of contract to the wife on the day of the husband’s funeral, and wanted their earnest money returned! ON THE DAY OF THE HUSBAND’s FUNERAL! I wish I was making this up, but I am not it is a true story, and these stories are happening with regular occurrence. I know this is a wow, but if you are in the sales business you probably could share with me your own story (and please share them because I and others would love to hear them). So what do you do? Here a few tips that may help you with the “new buyer”.