In both my own marketing efforts and the efforts of my mastermind group members and clients there seems to be a growing trend with consumers taking more and more time to make a simple buying decision.
While the art of procrastination is nothing new and putting things off is as old as Man, in my opinion delaying the buying decision is becoming more prevalent even with simple decisions.
I have no scientific data to support this claim, other than my 21 years of in-the-trenches experience, and if I had to make an educated guess, I think it all comes down to information overload.
- Too many buying choices
- Conflicting customer reviews
- Social media posts
- B.S. tactics designed to create urgency
- Over-abundance of sales and special offers
These and more work against each one of us, when it comes time to get somebody to buy our product or service.
Earlier this week, my wife and I decided it was time to upgrade one of our televisions. Our membership at Costco makes this a relatively simple decision and after doing some research on their website, we went to the store to buy a particular model.
I pride myself on being able to make decisions quickly, so I was amazed at what happened when we arrived at the store.
Rather than loading up the TV and checking out, delay kicked-in because there were so many other options and information in front of us. Three aisles of TV’s to be exact.
Our simple “going to pick it up” effort turned into a rather laborious “is this the right TV for us” effort.
We even thought about leaving and doing more research, but then realized the original TV we wanted was the right one to get and after a short delay bought it.
Napoleon Hill felt strongly about procrastination and wrote about it in both Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich.
In Law of Success, he said:
“Procrastination robs you of opportunity. It is a significant fact that no great leader was ever known to procrastinate. You are fortunate if AMBITION drives you into action, never permitting you to falter or turn back, once you have rendered a DECISION to go forward. Second by second, as the clock ticks off the distance TIME is running a race with YOU. Delay means defeat, because no man may ever make up a second of lost TIME. TIME is a master worker which heals the wounds of failure and disappointment and rights all wrongs and turns all mistakes into capital, but, it favors only those who kill off procrastination and remain in ACTION when decisions are to made.”
A decade later he wrote this in Think and Grow Rich:
“Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond the million dollar mark, disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of REACHING DECISIONS PROMPTLY, and of changing these decisions SLOWLY, if, and when they were changed. People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, IF AT ALL, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.”
Hill was very clear about instructing you and me to be careful of procrastination within ourselves.
As a marketing-oriented business owner you need to fully expect and prepare for procrastination and do you best to minimize it. Here are a few practical ways you can make your buying process as streamlined as possible:
- Don’t use pressure to “make them buy now.” Instead use pressure to prevent them from procrastinating. Big difference.
- Increase the clarity and specifics of your offer
- Increase the relevancy and appropriateness of your offer to your targeted audience
- Improve your value proposition
- Increase trust level with you and your business
- Reduce distractions at the time of purchase
- Add real urgency to your offer and explain why you are doing so
- Read books by Robert B. Cialdini, who has done a ton of research into this topic