6 Reasons why people aren’t buying what you’re selling

Heather SkompHow to Get What You Want in Life, Unsolicited Advice

People are weird. They’ll waste money on the dumbest stuff like pet rocks and garden whirlygigs, but they’ll drive ten miles across town to use a coupon on a product that will save them fifty cents. And when it comes to things of real value, they will hem and haw for weeks before pulling the trigger, if they do at all.

But there is an actual process that is going on in the minds of the buying population and most of it is subconscious. However, if you can tap into that subconscious process of anyone who you hope to give you what you want, whether it’s buying a product you are selling, getting them to hire you, or simply getting someone you like to go out with you, you are far more likely to be successful.

So what stops people from giving you what you want?

1. They don’t believe giving you what you want will meet their personal needs.

Everyone has personal needs, and if giving you what you want doesn’t fulfill them, you’re not going to get what you want. The easiest example of this is when you are trying to sell someone a product. If you can’t convince them that what you’re selling is going to fulfill some (or many) personal needs that they have, you’re not going to get anywhere. Even the pet rock fulfilled some people’s personal needs – they got to have a pet that didn’t need to poop, eat or drink, and never required being taken for a walk. Never mind that it didn’t offer any affection or feedback, but hey – not everyone needs that. Ask anyone who has a goldfish.

Think about when you are interviewing for a job, or even asking someone out for a date.

Most of the time, all you’re thinking about is how much money you’re going to make at the job versus how much work you’re going to have to do for it, or how much time you’re going to have to put in with your date before you get to cop a feel.

In neither of these cases are you considering what the other person might need, in order to give you what you want.

In order to get what you want, you must look at yourself from the other person’s perspective, and make sure you can give them what they want, first. Because they’ve got what you want. And you want them to give it to you.

So in order for that to happen, you have to give them what they want first.

The thing is, most folks think they actually know what the other person wants. And…. they don’t. In the case of the hiring manager, you might think she wants to know about your qualifications and whether you are capable of doing the job. She does care about that, but it’s never at top of her list of personal needs. Those are more situational needs, and are quite different, and have much less power over her decision. Whether you can do the job or not doesn’t mean shit to her personally. It’s assumed that you can do the job or else you wouldn’t be sitting there wasting her time.

Her personal need is to look good to her boss. So instead of going on and on about your latest degree or programming skills, find a way to let her know she’s going to be the star of the department for hiring you. You’re going to make it your mission to make her boss thrilled that she chose you.

Figure out what your prospect’s personal need(s) is, and show them how you are going to give it to them. Listen to what they’re saying, and not saying.

Let’s take the date example – so many guys (sorry guys) think they know what a woman wants, and they don’t. They think all they need to get what they want is to ply a woman with a good meal and some fine liquor. Ahhh… no. I can’t speak for all women, but I feel it’s safe to say that most women just want to be known. They want to be noticed, and liked for who they are. They would like a man to show genuine interest in her and the things that are important to her. And all that takes is active listening, and attentive questions. Do this, and you’re far more likely to get to second base. 😉

Fulfill your prospect’s personal needs, first.

2. Fear of making a mistake

Everyone is familiar with this one. Argh, I’m not sure I want to marry this person because what if he/she turns out to be a cokehead after five years? Oh God, I don’t know if I should buy this car because what if all the wheels fall off five minutes after I leave the dealership? Ummmm if I take this new job what happens if I’m bored out of my skull after six months or my boss turns out to be Satan in Sansabelt pants?

These are all valid concerns.

We are ALL afraid of making a commitment, to anything. There are no guarantees in life, and all of us have been burned at some point by pulling that trigger and having it blow up in our own faces.


Because none of these have EVER backfired!

Giving someone what they want is always a risk. Hiring the wrong person, buying the wrong product, going out on a date and having it be a big dull dud. So the best thing you can do to alleviate this fear is to either offer refundable options, or otherwise make the transaction as risk-free as possible. But the most important thing here to know is that people hesitate to “buy”, when they’re afraid of making a mistake that will hurt them later. Find a way to show them that it won’t.

3. Loss of options

Giving up other options is often not as noticeable during the transaction, as it happens on a deep psychological level. I find the concept most glaring when it comes to marriage: what if I marry this guy and someone way more awesome comes along in a week? What could I be giving up??? Sometimes people do this when buying cars – they don’t want to give up their sports car when the times comes for a minivan, so any way they can find not to buy the minivan justifies their subconscious desire to keep the sports car. They simply don’t want to give up other possible options.

Basically making a commitment to anything is a scary prospect, for all the reasons already listed, and then on top of those, you lose any other options you had going once the commitment is made. It’s enough to make anyone drag their feet. I can barely make a commitment to living in one place for more than a year, hence the need to have an RV to live in a lot of the time. 😉 Don’t like living in Arizona anymore? Well screw that, I’m GOING!

Another example is how people spend their time. If you are asking someone to give up time they would otherwise be using to zone out on the sofa eating Doritos and watching Family Guy, you’ve got to convince them that their time is more beneficially used by being with you. It’s about making them willing to give up their other options because the option you’re offering them is SO MUCH BETTER.

How to overcome this resistance? Hmmmmmmm… it’s not easy. The best way is to make your prospect as comfortable as possible by reassuring them you’re meeting their personal needs and alleviating their fears of making a mistake – get past these two and every thing/one else is going to look like the far crappier option than you.

4. Social Pressures

Often times people resist getting on board with you if they think other people won’t approve. It sucks, but we’ve all done it. If we think our spouse will freak out, our parents will moan, our boss will scream at us, our friends will laugh at us. I know I’ve gone through a lot of that just as a coach! Since personal coaching is often associated with therapy (it’s totally not the same thing), people are resistant to trying it because they think other people will see them as weak for needing help from someone else. It’s ridiculous, but there it is.

So when you’re giving your “sales pitch” for someone else helping you out, or otherwise giving you something you want from them, make sure you keep in mind the important people in their lives that they want to impress (or otherwise avoid a negative response). Remind them how much their mother is going to LOVE your new couch, so much that she’ll come over and sit on it every day (well… maybe don’t go that far….)! Let your date know how much his/her friends are going to like you because you’re such a fabulous and generous person! There are all kinds of ways you can show how a prospect’s circle of people will approve of what you’re trying to get them to do. Be creative!

5. Fear of Losing

Truthfully, I don’t feel this one as much as other people do, but it does come up like an ugly virus when I’m trying to buy a new car (which is coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned!). The battle between who “wins” when buying a car is l.e.g.e.n.d.a.r.y., and we’ve all experienced it. We don’t want to be “sold”, we want to “buy”. It’s about control over the process. And if you don’t let your prospect feel in control of the process, you’re going to be the one who loses. Let them feel like the leader, maybe even a little bit that they’re beating you at your own game, and they will be much more likely to give you a “yes” answer.

Any time a person feels manipulated by your “marketing” tactics, if they give you your way they are going to think you are winning and they are losing something. No one likes to feel that way. Too slick marketing tactics have created this monster, because it makes the giving/taking transaction too much of a win-lose scenario rather than a win-win scenario. And in reality, all transactions should be win-win.

Another great example of this win-lose awfulness is during a real estate transaction. We always want to feel like we’ve gotten “a good deal” when we buy a house. And the seller never wants to feel ripped off by the buyer. Actually no one likes to feel ripped off, which is why sellers always over-price their houses and buyers always low-ball them. It’s a silly mind screw, but everyone wants to be the winner in this game.

Another often used tactic here is when you see someone online selling their information packages for $795 $595! You think you’re getting a “deal” by getting $200 off, but in reality the price was always $595 (but only if you buy today! Aaaugggghhh!!!). Or when they say that as a “bonus”, you’re getting XXX product VALUED AT $1799!!! for free when you get the rest of the package. The bonus may or may not be valued at $1799 (would you really give away something for free that you could get $1799 for? I’m not sure I would), but it works to alleviate the consumer feeling like they’re losing to you. It’s all about winning, folks.

Find a way to be a happy “loser”, and then everyone wins.

6. Perceived Cost

I put perceived cost last, because in all reality, the price of something is rarely sole the reason people don’t buy something. It’s generally the first two, and then the following three a close second. These emotional blocks are very strong. But the perceive cost (price) of what you’re selling or wanting someone to do for you can be the final nail in the coffin if all the other above reasons haven’t been satisfactorily dealt with. Your prospect will just say “the price is too high” for what you want to get in return for their compliance.

I’m really having trouble today with the price of cars. They are INSANELY expensive if you want to pay cash, which I do. Which is why they always entice you in with the low payment, even though you’ll be paying that low payment for your natural born life. To me, the perceived cost is astronomical, so all the other five reasons for not buying a new car have to really be covered in order for me to shell out that kind of money. Other than the fact that Gorgeous is dying, so that creates a pretty strong motivation as well for me to buy a new car, but if she weren’t, I would not be looking to buy a new car no matter what. Having said that, finding a sales guy who can show me his car will fulfill my personal needs as well as alleviating my fear of making a mistake as well as letting me win in the transaction, is going to be the guy who gets the sale.

The bottom line with perceived cost is, if people think you’re asking too much of them, in terms of money or anything else, you’re not going to get your way. Your “product” has to have equal value (or greater value) than the actual cost the prospect is going to have to pay in order to give you what you want. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.

And there you have it. The top six reasons why people resist buying what you’re selling. If you cover at least the top four, and you are sensitive to number five, and are smart about the price you’re asking in number six, you should get your way more often than not. But the best thing to remember is, give people what they want, and they’ll give you what you want, and then some.

Good luck!