a salesperson’s guide to the cautious buyer

How to Sell to the Cautious Buyer
Cautious buyers are naturally conservative. They don’t want to be the first to do anything. They would always rather modify or upgrade what’s existing than introduce something entirely new. Sometimes, it is just because they are ‘tight’ and they hate spending of any kind. Other times, it is because of their value-set. For example, Gerry Harvey (Harvey Norman retail stores), one of Australia’s richest men tells of how he agonised for two weeks over spending $100 on new shoes for himself. Yet he would spend a thousand times that in an advertising campaign in a fraction of the time.
Cautious Buyers give little away emotionally and can be reluctant to voice objections. This is not because they aren’t able to; they choose not to because they don’t want to give you information they think you’ll misuse. They are very good at keeping their own counsel. They can appear lacking in confidence, although this is often not the case - it’s just that their caution can be misinterpreted as indecision.
They approach every purchase seriously and see it as a test of their competence. They tend to be cynical about the sales process as they are concerned about being manipulated. Will examine all printed material thoroughly and highlight even the tiniest inconsistency. They look for hard proof of performance and are likely to be influenced by third party endorsements - as long as they see them as having come from someone similar to them.
They have thoughts like:
"I have to get this right. It will be so embarrassing if I miss something." "I’m not going to get ripped off like that one time before." "I am happy to learn from others mistakes."
How to sell to cautions buyers
- Keep them fully informed about what you are doing and why you are asking certain questions. Make sure that their suspicion of salespeople has no grounds. Disarm them with your unexpected openness. - Let them, as much as possible, direct the conversation. Be patient. - Make sure you give them as much hard evidence (test results, etc) as you possibly can. Double-check everything that you give them for factual correctness, spelling and grammar. - Also, if possible, provide social evidence. Testimonials from those in positions they would see as being similar to theirs. - Over-communicate regarding the process of the sale/delivery.
Words to use
Proven, tested, most popular, most users have found, logical, reasonable, guaranteed, factual, qualified, planned, detailed, professional
Don’t take cautious buyers personally - they teat every salesperson that way. Give them what they want and they can be a powerful ally - because their work colleagues know that to get their endorsement, you must have everything in place.