Episode #020: The Psychology of Buyer’s Remorse with Amy O’Connor
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
Amy O’Connor, speaker and trainer with Shore Consulting, helps Jeff explain Buyer’s Remorse and what you can do as a sales professional to lead your customer and give them confidence about their purchase decision.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
[3:00] Quote of the Day
[5:21] Sales Tip of the Day
[11:15] Fear of making the wrong decision
[12:26] The need for a narrative
[14:46] Anticipated regret
[18:23] Pre-empting the negative story
[23:05] Customers adopting confidence
[26:05] Leading with confidence
[37:13] Motivational Summary
More about our guest Amy O’Connor:
Having worked hand-in-hand with seven of the top ten homebuilders in the U.S. – as well as private and regional builders reaching into Canada – Amy offers a wealth of real-world expertise on coaching and motivating new home sales professionals. Amy’s audiences describe her infectious energy and passion as “exciting”, “motivating”, and “captivating”.
A member of the National Speaker’s Association, Amy also holds a Masters in Organizational Communication from Wake Forest University.
Links from today’s podcast:
Jeff: All right, so your customer loves your product, your customer says yes, your customer writes a purchase agreement, you calculate your commission on the sale, all right, let’s face it, you spend your commission on the sale, and then your customer cancels the order. Why? We’re gonna get into the psychology of buyer’s remorse on today’s episode of The Buyer’s Mind.
Announcer: Welcome to The Buyer’s Mind, where we take a closer look deep inside your customer’s decision-making mechanism, to reverse-engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Jeff: Well, welcome once again to The Buyer’s Mind, where we investigate exactly what’s going on in the brains of prospects who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a stroll through the buyer’s mind, it’s about knowing customers so well, that the sale begins to roll out right in front of you.
And today we’re gonna look at one of the most frustrating aspects of sales, the customer who says yes, and then changes their mind and cancels the deal. The phenomenon we know as buyer’s remorse. Frustrating? Absolutely. Preventable? Maybe.
I’m your host, Jeff Shore, you can read the full bio in the show notes, or you can visit jeffshore.com. Take a look at any of the six books that I’ve written on the subject of sales. You can also find those books for sale at amazon.com, including the book, “Be Bold and Win the Sale.” It’s all about the psychology of a salesperson, and how we deal with the inevitable discomfort in the sales process. That’s “Be Bold and Win the Sale,” available on amazon.com.
Joined as always by our show producer, Mr. Paul Murphy. Murph, how are we doing today?
Paul: Doing fantastic. Good to be here.
Jeff: Hey Murph, let me ask you, have you ever had a purchase decision and then just had the regrets about that purchase decision, and maybe had second thoughts? Why would you even cancel the decision altogether?
Paul: Many times. You know, you get into it and you start thinking, what have I done? I remember we bought an acre of land out towards the Cripple Creek area of Colorado, and shortly after purchasing it, it was like, “Why did we do that? We’re young and newly married, I don’t have this kind of money. What are we doing?”
Jeff: What do you think…did you know immediately or did it take a little time for you to have that regret?
Paul: My wife was so in love with the idea of owning the acre of land that, you know, I was kind of swept up in, you know, new love and a new marriage, and her love for the land, I loved her, so we were good, right? But then a few days afterwards I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know, this is a lot of money.”
Jeff: Mm-hmm, yeah, yeah. So, that fear just rose up…I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but it sounds like it went from one form of emotion, love for your wife, love for the land, to another form of emotion, fear of what this was gonna do to your life if you stayed in this deal?
Paul: Yeah, and you’re not putting words in my mouth, that’s exactly what it was.
Jeff: It’s really interesting, and it leads us to our quote of the day from Fulton Oursler, “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves, regret for the past, and fear of the future.” And it’s interesting because those two things are fears, when we think about the regrets we have for the past, rather than just the learning experience of the past, but also the fear of the future. And when we say fear of the future, that’s where we get into second-guessing, and second-guessing becomes a natural occurrence. It’s actually a self-protective act, but oftentimes the fear of regret, of the future regret gets so out of whack that it cripples our future.
So, anticipated regret is a very dangerous thing, largely because it is typically unfounded in reality. So, as a sales professional, you know, I need to look at the disappointments of my past as learning experiences, and then I need to look at the future as limitless opportunity. When it comes to my customer, I have to do the same thing, I have to help them to see past the anticipated regret, and into how great their life is gonna be.
And I wanna just remind you as a sales professional, as you’re thinking about how you help your customer, you would not be talking to them in the first place, except that they had this idea of a better future, that there was some dissatisfaction in their life right now that caused them to talk to you in the first place, and our job is to give them comfort and confidence in a better future.
So that anticipated regret is something we’re always gonna need to deal with, and we’ll talk about it on today’s episode, but our job is to give them the confidence in a better life, an improved life.
We wanna let you know that the podcast is brought to you in part by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank. This is our show’s sponsor, but this is also my lender of choice. I used HomeStreet in my last home purchase and it was the smoothest transaction I’ve ever had. And I’ve purchased quite a few homes. But they were professional, dependable, great rates, great service. If you’re a real estate professional, you’re just not gonna find anybody better when it comes to taking care of your clients. So, if it’s banking or home loans or credit lines, whatever it is, go to homestreetbank.com, you can learn more about it. homestreetbank.com.
Now, coming up in just a few minutes, an interview about buyer’s remorse with an expert in the field, our own, Amy O’Connor. You’re gonna love it, I assure you. But I wanna give you a tip of the day before we get to that. And today’s tip is to celebrate the purchase decision.
So here’s what happens over and over again. You work with the customer, you guide them through the process, there’s a sense of mutual purpose where you’re looking at it and saying, how do we help this customer to a better life? How can I help the customer in the customer’s best interest, to a better life? You finally get to the point where you invite them into that process, you ask them if they would like to purchase, they say yes.
Now, put yourself in that moment, and let me just ask you, what happens next? And oftentimes what happens next is transactional. That is, they came to the point of saying yes, and now we go immediately to the financing, or the paperwork, or the payment, or whatever it’s going to be, that’s going to lead us to the next step, which is much more transactional. The problem is you’re trying to pull them out of that emotional brain where they made that decision, and immediately into the logical and transactional brain. This is difficult on a customer because the transactional part is typically not the fun part, right? The transactional part is the gritty detail part.
So what I wanna suggest that you do is, at the time that that customer makes a decision to purchase, that you find a way to memorialize that time, that you celebrate that time. Ask yourself, what can we do right here to make this special?
So for example, I remember when I purchased my first Infiniti, and I’m kind of brand loyal to Infiniti, but when I purchased my first Infiniti, there was a little key ceremony where they brought out the keys in a little case, and there was a couple of people that presented it to me, and when I opened it up, they applauded when I opened it up, and it was a moment right there. And I still remember…that was way, way back, that was probably 20 years ago. But I still remember the key ceremony, and it was a great way to memorialize the decision, to think through this was special, this was fun. And what it did is it connected me to that emotion. When I thought back on the decision I made, the decision was connected to the emotion of the key ceremony.
So, think back, what can you do to memorialize? You know, if it’s a big decision that they’ve just made, it might be a matter of who do you wanna tell? Or do you wanna post something on Facebook like right now? But get them into that mindset of taking that moment to do something, other than to move into the logical brain or the transactional brain. Let them sit in the moment for a little bit, and that will help them to connect back when they think through. Even when their…that buyer’s remorse might set in, they think back to when they made the decision, and how they felt to that time. They think back on the emotion of that time.
So I would encourage you to brainstorm this, maybe to get together with some peers or your managers, and ask the question, what do we do to make the moment that they say yes longer-lasting? What do we do to allow them to enjoy that moment for a longer period of time?
Well, before we get to our interview, let me tell you about an opportunity. I want to invite you to join us for the 2017 Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit and Expo in order for you to become a better leader for your team, to grow in ways that you never thought possible, and to take your career to an entirely new level. This is a premier industry gathering that centers around real estate leaders.
Now, we’ve had people who are in other industries attend the summit, and they’ve never been disappointed. But just be aware that we’re gonna speak in the language of real estate leaders.
You’re gonna learn from the best of the best about what it takes to make you a better leader, a better manager, a better coach, with more insights, more actual strategies, more aha moments than ever before, entirely new material.
Now, I wanna tell you right now, we are getting very, very close to a sellout. We sell out the summit every single year, we’re going to sell it out again, and we’re actually getting very, very close. So you’re gonna wanna act on this right away. Go to jeffshore.com/events.
Just a couple of quick details about the summit. It’s at the beautiful Loews Coronado Resort just outside of San Diego. It is an amazing resort. It starts on Thursday afternoon, goes all the way through Friday, you’re gonna wanna spend the weekend. Trust me, in August in San Diego, it doesn’t get any better than that. It is an amazing experience and I want you there. Go to jeffshore.com/events to learn more about the Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit and Expo.
All right, well, let’s get to our interview. Amy O’Connor, so many of you know and love Amy. She is a senior certified trainer for Shore Consulting, and one of the smartest sales thinkers you’re ever gonna meet. Amy speaks to thousands of sales professionals every year, and she amasses ridiculous amounts of frequent flyer miles along the way. Her energy is boundless, her enthusiasm is contagious, and her intellect is a little borderline scary. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, a master’s from Wake Forest, and she lives in a restored historic farmhouse in the middle of Virginia. Please welcome Amy O’Connor. Amy?
Amy: Thank you so much for having me, I’m happy to be here.
Jeff: How is the farmhouse coming along, by the way?
Amy: It is coming. It is a slow, sometimes painful process, but we are certainly making some big strides, and we are just having a little bit of fun along the way. So it’s been good.
Jeff: And any new animals to join the farm here?
Amy: My husband says nothing else that he has to feed. That’s sort of a…that’s the line that he draws there. If it has to be fed, I’m not allowed to get it.
Jeff: That’s probably a good life philosophy at this point.
We’re gonna talk today about buyer’s remorse, so the psychology of buyer’s remorse. But let’s start here. You’re shopping in a store, and that store has a no-return policy. Okay? Now, should you choose to buy something, do we like that product more or less than if it were at a store that we could return at any time?
Amy: We have to like it more. And not only a little bit more, you have to like it significantly more because there’s the fear, of course, of making the wrong decision, and you’re gonna have to have enough positive emotion around that purchase to overcome that fear that, well, this may not actually be in my best interest.
Jeff: You know, it’s interesting, when Karen and I talk about this and she’ll say, “Oh, let’s buy it here because it’s easy to return.” It’s almost like there’s the lack of full commitment. So on the one hand, it makes…you know, because there are stores out there that will say, “We wanna make it easy to return because we want you to be really satisfied,” and yet we sometimes give up a little bit of that true commitment towards a product at that point.
Amy: You do. And I think that people at some level, they like that idea of a safety net. I think sometimes it works against us and sometimes it works for us, but we like to keep our options open.
Jeff: But it’s interesting that it comes down largely to the stories that we tell ourselves, and I’m thinking about this phenomenon called the endowment effect, that we tend to esteem something more highly after we buy it, and we do that because there’s a story that we have to tell ourselves to justify why we bought it in the first place. So, we talk a lot about storytelling in Shore Consulting. Give us just the overview, why do we tell stories, and why do customers tell stories to themselves?
Amy: Well, everybody needs a narrative. It’s sort of the narrative of your life almost, and you wanna be seen as smart and capable and somebody who makes good decisions, whether that’s in life or with buying. And we don’t only wanna feel good in front of others, we wanna feel good with ourselves. And I think that that’s where the storytelling comes in. We want to have the narrative that says, “You are smart, you make good decisions, and wow, look at what you purchased.”
Jeff: It’s interesting that story that we tell to ourselves, oftentimes if you go back and you trace it, it may not always be founded in true logic, it’s probably more of an emotional story, but it kind of helps us to make sense of the world and to live with the decisions that we do make. Karen and I, we didn’t go through with one particular home purchase a few years ago, now we look and we say, “Oh, man, what were we thinking? We would have been miserable in that house.” Well, probably not. We probably wouldn’t have been. We probably would have been perfectly happy there. It’s just the narrative that we invented to rationalize the love of the home than we have now.
How common do you think that is, those types of stories?
Amy: I think it’s incredibly common, because you never wanna think, “Oh, man, what was I thinking? Boy, I really missed out.” I mean, nobody likes to sit around and think that they made poor decisions. And so I think that we justify the decisions we’re making, and we rationalize the ones that we’ve already made.
Jeff: Do you find yourself actively doing that when you’re shopping?
Amy: You know, I don’t know that in the conscious mind that I’m always actively doing that, but when you look back and when you think through, absolutely. You know, and I feel the need to rationalize to my husband sometimes when he thinks that, you know, maybe I didn’t make such a great purchase, or he doesn’t really like something that I’ve done. So, you know, I have to rationalize it both to myself and to others. But I think that’s a very common activity that we do when we’re making purchase decisions.
Jeff: We wanna talk today about buyer’s remorse and what happens in that process. So, one of the things that we see is that when there are high amounts of uncertainty, a high degree of uncertainty in a purchase decision, then it leads to something that I refer to as anticipate…or actually I don’t refer to it, I think I got that from Daniel Kahneman, the concept of anticipated regret. That’s really dangerous because in that anticipated regret, there’s some storytelling that takes place. Expand on that just a little bit.
Amy: Well, I think that when a buyer looks at this and says, “I don’t know, I can’t quite make this fit into my life. I’m not sure if it’s a good decision,” and maybe it’s not a good decision based on their budget or based on their lifestyle. But when we have these high levels of uncertainty, and to your point, when Daniel Kahneman talks about anticipated regret, I think that one of the real dangers that we run into here with buyers, is that they then start to catastrophize what might happen. And what I mean by catastrophize, is they take a story and they take it to the worst possible that it actually could be. They amplify the negative that they think will happen, and then it becomes so overblown. Maybe it’s just a simple thing that’s really not that big of a deal, but it becomes overblown in the customer’s mind, and a lot of times the sale just falls apart from that perspective.
Jeff: So that catastrophizing takes place as a way to justify why we’re not…it tells us a story of why we’re not going to move forward?
Amy: It does, it does. And again, what you’ll see is buyers will blow it way out of proportion. Maybe it’s something that truly is not that big of a deal, but it’s almost a self-protection mechanism at that point, where there’s an avoidance of wanting to make poor decisions, that what we do is in our storytelling then, we’ll tell the worst possible story, and then pat ourselves on the back that we didn’t do that.
Jeff: And it seems to make sense to us at the time, even when we go back, we replay it, it might not.
You know, I’m thinking…you know, I’ve…I don’t ride bikes, I think, “Oh, riding bikes.” So you know, I play hockey, it will be good for my leg strength, for my endurance, you know, I should ride bikes. Then I start thinking, “You know what? Here’s the problem. I don’t know how to change a flat tire on a bike, and you know, I live in an area where there are a lot of mountain roads that are lonely out there, and so I would be out there on a bike one day and it will be the one time that I forgot my cellphone and then I’d have a flat tire and I wouldn’t know how to change it, so then I go knock at a farmhouse door, and some guy would show up with a, you know, a chainsaw and a hockey mask on, and that would be the end of Jeff Shore.”
And I know this is silly, but this is what happens. The catastrophizing always has that sort of emotional element to me that causes me to look at it and say, “Man, I better not ride a bike.” And it doesn’t really have to be founded in logic. Our imagination takes over, it handles that on an emotional level, and then it justifies why we’re not gonna make a decision.
Amy: It does. And then of course we’re like, “Wow. Phew, that was a narrow miss. I’m glad I didn’t go do that cycling thing.” And we just take it almost as if that was a reality, that that was absolutely going to happen.
Jeff: Yeah, the story seems real, even though it’s not founded in logic necessarily. In fact it is based on emotion because uncertainty does tend to amplify the emotions. The stories that we tell are always emotion-based. You see this all the time with people who are considering making a purchase decision and, boy, their brains are just sort of racked up, trying to eliminate or lower the level of uncertainty. And if they can’t, here comes that negative story, and pretty soon that story is just out of control. What can salespeople do to prevent that from happening?
Amy: One of the best things they can do is they can get ahead of these negative stories. You know, the beautiful thing about sales is, for the most part, whatever you’re selling, you’ve heard the buyer’s objections multiple times. For the most part, what they’re gonna catastrophize is probably not a surprise to you, and there’s good news in that. That means you can plan for it, and you can create counter-stories to get ahead of those. So you don’t wait for the buyer to come up with, you know, a catastrophe story, you tell a better story preemptively, and put that image in their mind. Maybe you talk about how other people have been happy with the purchase, and how it’s improved their lives, or why this was a good decision for others, and then that allows them to take on that narrative and that story, and then they don’t have to come up with their own and run the risk of it being a negative story that we really don’t want in the buyer’s mind.
Jeff: That’s really interesting. So what you’re suggesting is that sales professionals can seed positive stories that would preempt the occasion of negative stories?
Amy: They can. And it is really not very hard to do. It might sound like, well, I don’t know how to do that, I’m not quite sure how to create that story, but you’ve sold your product or service to other buyers, all you have to do is collect their positive stories, and then just share those as a social proof. So now it’s not you, the salesperson, who the buyer may not trust very much, telling them a story about why they should buy, but you’re telling the story through people who are just like them, their peer group. And buyers tend to trust and have reliance on that type of information. So that’s really your source of stories, is to go back and figure out why other buyers made that buying decision, and tell that story.
Jeff: Yeah, it becomes so much more valid if we hear it. Because if I could look at it and say, “Look, I can tell you all day long about what I think, but I’m the salesperson, you’re the customer, I think you’re gonna get a whole lot more to hear from people who’ve already made this decision. Let me tell you what they say because that’s what really matters.” And so you gain credibility by putting it on somebody else, but then we gain reality because these are people that have actually made that decision. So, we end up reducing that uncertainty as we go through.
It’s fascinating to me because when I think about the journey of a customer, that journey is so psychological, and those stories are being played over in their minds, whether we want them to or not. The stories just almost appear almost as if they are of their own volition, right? They just sort of show up.
But what I do find about stories is that stories do tend to be emotion-based. And this is a really interesting dilemma because on the one hand, we know that emotion plays a very important role in a purchase decision, on the other hand, when that emotion gets out of control and turns negative on us, it’s gonna scuttle the entire sale. So, how does a salesperson manage the emotional altitude in a sales conversation?
Amy: Well, they have to model what they want the customer to become. And if they’re coming in with a neutral, or even in their own level of negative emotion, now that negativity is just going to breed negativity. You know, it really starts with the belief pattern of the salesperson. Jeff, I know you say this all the time, I’m a firm believer in it as well, is that mindset is always going to guide your technique. So, if you want to avoid the salesperson going negative, you are going to have to have the right mindset coming in that says, “This is a good product, this is a good service, and I believe that when my customers purchase this, that it will actually improve their lives.” And when you finally believe that, then keeping your emotion positive becomes much easier, and asking the customer to make small agreements or small closes along the way becomes much easier.
And when we can make it positive, and when we can keep the decision-making small, then we keep the buyer out of the negative.
Jeff: So it sounds like one of the things that you’re talking about there is the idea of building confidence in the stories that a customer is going to adopt, the confidence that this is a wise thing to do. Let’s talk about confidence just a little bit, and we could look at it from two different perspectives, the confidence level of the sales professional, and then also how that confidence gets adopted by customers.
I know you talk about confidence a great deal, so give us some top level thoughts.
Amy: When you look at confidence, we all crave confidence, and we’re all attracted to confidence. And from the salesperson’s perspective, the best way to build confidence is the intersection of belief and mastery. You have to believe in what it is that you’re doing, but then you have to achieve a certain level of mastery, a certain level of competence, so then it comes across correctly to a buyer. Having one without the other is gonna run you into some problems. We see this all the time where you have somebody who believes in what they’re doing, but they haven’t achieved a level of mastery yet, and that can certainly lead them into disastrous situations.
I tell the story briefly about my daughter who’s learning to ride a bike, and we actually have a video of her at day two of learning to ride a bike, and she’s starting to believe that she can do it, and then she ran smack into a basketball pole, and broke her front tooth. And I say that this is what belief without mastery looks like.
Jeff: And correspondingly I’m guessing it was a ding in her confidence at that point too.
Amy: It was. It was. To her credit, the very next day after she got her tooth repaired, she got right back up on the bike, and is moving still towards mastery. But yeah, you’re not gonna have true confidence unless you believe you can do it, and then you have a level of mastery that shows the buyer that you can do it, it is the combination of the two that creates confidence.
Jeff: But you said something else really interesting there, you said that we gravitate towards confidence, that we are influenced by confidence. Expand on that a little bit.
Amy: Buyers, and you’ve mentioned it a little earlier, Jeff, is that buyers have a certain level of uncertainty, uncertainty within their lives, within their purchase decisions, and when they have a lack of uncertainty, they are drawn towards somebody who has massive amounts of certainty, or another way to say that of course is confidence. And they want that from their sales professional. If I’m uncertain and my salesperson is uncertain, now I don’t know what to do. Now, if I was worried at all about the process, I’m massively so.
And so I’m searching out, I’m seeking for that sales professional that is going to be confident because I need that from them. I need them to look at me and say, “Here’s what it is, here’s to you all, here’s what you need, this is what you do.” And then I can sort of step down a little bit and my gear’s going on in my head and saying, Okay, this is somebody who knows what they’re doing, they know what I need, and they’re going to help me through that.” And buyers want and need somebody to take control of that process for them.
Jeff: You know, I’m likening it to a physician who says, “So this disease is really bad, and potentially fatal, and I wanna tell you there are several different treatment options. My job is to give you the information that you need to make an intelligent decision. Now, I’m not gonna try and sway you here at all on any of these things, I’m just gonna lay them out because I am a no-pressure physician.” And I would turn around and run as fast as I could because what I want is that physician who’s confident enough to say, “For your situation, I believe the best option is this. There are other options if you want, but these are the best options.”
And then taking that even further, I think about my accountant who knows me so well that he says, “Jeff, you’ve got three choices, A, B, and C on how you’re gonna handle this, I’m not even gonna tell you what B and C are because they don’t work for you. Trust me, go with A.” And I’m like, “Are we done? Can I leave now?”
So this is the idea. When we see people, when we see professionals in our lives, we would not want to work with them if they were not confident. Does that transfer through into the sales relationship?
Amy: It does. And in the sales…you know, when we’re thinking about sales, it really is about influence and persuasion. And influence and persuasion is about helping someone to do what is in their best interest to do. So when we run into a yielding salesperson, who leaves the buyer to their own devices to figure it out because they don’t wanna come across as pushy or aggressive, then what they’re actually doing in some level is being selfish in my opinion because what they’re saying is, I’m not gonna put myself out there, I’m not gonna, you know, I’m not gonna do that because that makes me uncomfortable.
So now we’ve left the buyer, and they’re sort of waffling around, they’re uncertain, we are yielding, and now it’s a whole big disaster, and the buyer doesn’t feel good about that. The buyer, to your description, Jeff, they want that salesperson to step up, I know you, I know what’s best, here’s what you need to do. And it is okay when it’s coming from the right place, from the customer’s mission, to nudge them a little bit. If you are helping them do what is in their best interest to do, it is okay to step forward and nudge them, and maybe even sometimes shove them in the right direction.
Jeff: Yeah, I remember once shopping for ties at a Nordstrom, and I was looking at a couple of ties, one in particular that I pointed to, and the sales rep said, “Oh, I own that tie.” And it caused me to immediately look at this guy, and first of all, he was, you know, dressed like a geek, I probably wasn’t gonna buy the tie. But yeah, he was sharp, he was professional, he said, “I own that tie.” And he said, “Can I make a recommendation?” That tie, with a blue suit and a pink shirt, it may sound odd, but when you put them together, I’m gonna tell you what, it will own the room. I’ve done it, I’ve won it, and I have to tell you what, I get the compliments and I feel good when I do it.
And what’s happening, the whole time he was describing this, he’s a professional, he knows what he’s talking about, he’s dressed really, really well, and his confidence is adopted. And I think that that’s the key here to this conversation. It’s not just that we are confident, but that that confidence is adopted. It’s almost like, you know, a general leading the troops, right? The last thing you want the general to say in a motivational speech is, “Well, I don’t know, there’s a lot of them. Boy, there’s a lot… They’ve got… They’re… We’re… I don’t know if we’re gonna do this or not. We’re gonna try, but I don’t know.” That’s not what you want, right?
So, there is that sense or that confidence really being a gift to our customers who are looking for people, not to be arrogant, not to be pushy, but certainly to be able to look at it and say, you know, “Follow me because I’m worth following along those lines.”
Let’s just…we’re getting close to the end here, Amy, but let’s just talk about you. You have that sense of confidence, you have to, you speak to thousands of people every year. Does that whole belief and mastery thing, do you trek back to that, to those elements even in your own career?
Amy: You know, it does. And I look back at my early days of speaking and I cringe a little bit, and you know, I certainly wasn’t as confident as I wanted to be, and maybe some of the times it was because I hadn’t done enough repetition work. But I’ve gotten to a point in my career, one, where I firmly believe in everything that I coach and teach. And I believe that that is a place you have to start. As a salesperson, as a sales professional, you have to believe that your product and your service is the best thing out there for the buyer, and you have to start there.
And then, you know, for me, from a level of mastery, it’s continuous. You don’t reach mastery. Mastery is not something, this destination then you’re finished. Mastery is something that you continuously try to grasp for, you continuously try to get better and approach this almost unattainable goal, because as soon as you believe that you are the best in one spot, you look at it and say, “Boy, I could be a lot better over here,” and then everything changes. So you’re constantly circling back around, revisiting your belief, and revisiting your level of mastery to say, “Where can I continuously improve?” And it is a process and it is a journey, and I believe that it’s never ending.
Jeff: Last question. You’re meeting up with a salesperson who has been on…in the sales business for six days, I mean, green as grass, brand new, and they ask you, Amy, what is one thing you can tell me that will really serve me well in my sales career?
Amy: First of all, I love the green as grass ones partly because they do exactly what I tell them to do. When I say, “Do this, say this, try this,” I mean, they are, right…they’re like taking serious notes, and they’re the ones that are coming up to me at break.
So usually if they are going to approach me, and they’re green as grass, when they approach me, I can feel the energy coming. I mean, they have their pen, they have their paper, they have so many questions for me, they can barely get them out. So usually what I say is, “Keep this,” and I draw sort of an imaginary box around their face. And what I mean is, “Keep this passion, this enthusiasm, this energy that you have right now, that is my best piece of advice. Keep this because sales is tough. And buyers can sometimes wear you down and you’re gonna go through bad days and you’re gonna go through periods where you don’t sell anything, and you’re gonna feel down and your energy’s gonna be low, and you’re gonna be kicking yourself. If you can always find a way to get back to why it is you started doing what you’re doing in sales, and what do you love about helping people to make purchase decisions, if you can keep that energy, keep that enthusiasm, and when you lose it, find a way to get back,” that’s my best piece of advice.
Jeff: I love it. Because I know that for a lot of veterans who are listening in right now, they can probably go back to when they first started in that rabid enthusiasm, that naive sense of, “I’m too stupid to know that I can’t sell, so I’m gonna go ahead and sell anyway,” right? Boy, there are days when, I know for me, there are days when I wanted to go back and sort of just reconnect with that day one self, and if I could bottle up that energy and take a big old swig and remind me of how I’m feeling as that young, hungry person, “Keep this,” it’s just…it’s great advice. Love it.
Well, there you go, ladies and gentlemen, you can see why we so much appreciate having Amy O’Connor on the Shore Consulting team. Amy, thanks for the time. That was fun.
Amy: Thank you so much, I had a blast.
Jeff: Well, fast-ending conversation. And I think we can all relate to that as buyers, we’ve been in this situation where we had some second thoughts, some remorse, and then we start catastrophizing what could happen.
Murph, I’m kind of curious, you told the story earlier about this acre of land from way back when. Do you recall thinking that much forward into the anticipated regret and even catastrophizing what could go wrong if you go through with this purchase decision?
Paul: You know, in my brain I was really stressed about the financing side of it, right? But my love for my wife overcame that kind of objection.
Jeff: But as you’re thinking through that financing, it’s kind of funny because you start thinking through, “Oh, no, what if we can’t afford it and then we’re stuck with this land? But, you know, now I can’t make a car payment over here,” or, right, your mind starts going away from you after a little bit.
Paul: It does, and then you really, really start to stress about those types of things, and you build it up worse and worse and worse, to the point where it actually became a stress on my relationship.
Jeff: I could see that happening. But I think that that is what happens with catastrophizing. The reason it’s called catastrophizing is that we’re literally creating a catastrophe in our mind. While when we’re thinking about it, if what we see in the end result is a potential catastrophe, everything in our mind is gonna say, “Run away.” Right? You don’t ever run to a catastrophe, you’re gonna look at it and say, “How do I avoid catastrophe?” So, if I’m formulating in my mind what that catastrophe is and I don’t have anything that’s steering me away from that, then everything about me is gonna say, “Run in a different direction.”
And that’s why I love the idea of getting in front of that, anticipating what those customer regrets will be, and trying to plant a better story for your customer.
And I just wanna remind everybody who’s listening right now, remember, you know, I said this earlier in the podcast, you would not be talking to the customer except that right now something is on a collision course with catastrophe. That is, if they could stay where they’re at and be very satisfied with their life as it is, then they wouldn’t be talking to you in the first place. The fact that you are talking to a customer means that there’s something wrong with their life, that something needs to be improved, and that they are talking to you with a promise of a better life.
So, I just want to encourage you to always keep that in mind when you’re working with that customer, our job is life improvement, we are taking people on a path of life improvement. And if we can keep that in mind, then we think through when we paint a very clear picture of what an improved life looks like, that tends to trump the picture of the catastrophe, or the catastrophization, if that’s the word. But if we don’t paint a clear picture, then the customer will come up with a reason why they shouldn’t buy, and they’ll dream up this catastrophe, and that’s when they want to steer away.
So, we’ve got work to do. When we provide a very clear mental picture of the future, we prevent that catastrophe, that mental catastrophe from taking place.
You know, as we’re headed to the wrap-up, I just wanna keep that in mind. We are dealers in hope. That’s really what we do. We give people the hope of a better life, of a better future. We paint pictures of a better tomorrow. And I wanna ask you, how much do you let your mind go there? How much do you think, not about the product you sell, but about the happiness that you sell, about the peace of mind that you sell, about the contentment, about the relief that you sell? You sell more than a product, you sell a better way of life. Now that’s really important because your customer is not buying a product, they’re buying a better way of life. That’s the idea.
You know, I’ve been recently working at the house on a project, I’m not a big do-it-yourself guy, but I decided I was gonna build a fire pit. I was gonna build an outdoor fire pit area with a patio, a flagstone patio. And you know, I had to buy something to tamp down the sand. I think it was called a tamper. It just shows you how much I know. But look, that product itself, it’s not sexy. It’s just a stick with a big heavy weight on the end that tamps down the sand. That’s all it is. There’s nothing about it, once I’m done with it, I don’t care.
But I wasn’t buying a tamper, what I was buying with was a level surface, so that when I had friends over, and we were enjoying the fire pit, their chairs weren’t wobbling. That’s what I was buying. I was buying the pride in my work, I was buying craftsmanship, I was buying that sense that I did this, that I put this together, and now we’re enjoying the evening around the fire. Everything else, our product are just simply the tools to the better life.
Let me ask you again, how much do you think about the product you sell, but rather about the happiness that you sell? How much do you think about the relief? How much do you think about the peace? How much do you think about the pride or the productivity or whatever the end outcome is? You sell more than a product, you sell a better way of life. Celebrate that, my friends, celebrate that.
Well, that wraps up another episode of The Buyer’s Mind. If you haven’t subscribed, please do so. And if you’re really enjoying this, share it, send it out to your friends, let people know. Share it at your sales meeting, tell your sales manager, get the word out, and post it on your social media page as well.
But we hope you enjoyed this episode of The Buyer’s Mind. You can find everything you need at jeffshore.com. And until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.