Top 5 Customer Excuses

Why people talk themselves out of what they really want and how to deal with it (without Hulk smashing).

A Post by Red RobotPublished April 15, 2019

Whether you’re starting your Photo Booth business from fresh or have been in business for years, you’ll constantly come across one of the most confusing and frustrating phenomenons in the universe:

  • Customer wants what you offer – an awesome Photo Booth experience
  • You give customer you info and price for your awesome Photo Booth experience
  • Customer says “Yeah let’s do it” and happy dance starts
  • Customer gives excuse and/or turns into ghost

It’s confusing, super frustrating and without knowing the reasons why or what’s really happening here, the most common response is to think ” it must be the price, I must be too expensive” and then you lower your price. Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope that rarely works because the price isn’t the problem. But with a little bit of understanding, you can completely overcome this trap to end up with customers that are happy to pay your price and rave about your awesome Photo Booth experience.

This post is about the 5 most common types of customers, what drives them and how they manage to talk themselves out of what they really want. You might even be one of these customers at some point. The key here is that once you understand why they say what they say and the reasons behind it, you can talk to your customers on the same level and help them get what they really want – you and your totally rad Photo Booth experience (you’re sensing a theme?).

First up, let’s talk about why your customers say one thing but really mean something else. You might have heard the term “objections” being used when describing a customer who says “it’s too expensive” or “can you email me some information” or “oh, I haven’t had time to look at it”. I’ve never liked the term “objections” because it insinuates that these are just unimportant hurdles that you must conquer on your way to greatness, fame and fortune. Here’s something you need to know:

It’s not your job to overcome objections – it’s your job to help the customer overcome their objections.

Overcoming objections the old fashioned way rarely works and if it does you’ll most likely end up with an unhappy customer that feels like they were coerced into hiring your Photo Booth. That’s because when a customer gives you an objection, there’s always a deeper reason. There’s the surface objection and then the underlying real reason they’re holding themselves back. So Hulk smashing the surface objection into pulpy goo might make you feel awesome but the problem is still there – and worse, now they feel alienated.

So why do we do this? – and yes we all do it. Like most of us, we’ve spent our youth having the lessons of being an adult driven into us. We’ve been taught that we can’t have what we want until we’ve worked incredibly hard for it. Anything else would be selfish. People who never make mistakes are held up as the gold standard, failures are ridiculed so we’re deathly afraid of failing. We’ve been taught that getting what we want is greedy and that every decision must be made collectively. Turn your back on the crowd, beat your own path and you should feel ashamed of yourself. So, instead, we make excuses. When we walk into a retail store, the salesperson says “can I help you?” (read: do you want to buy something?) and we say “I’m just looking thanks” because we don’t feel worthy enough to say “yes I want that one thousand inch TV on the wall”.

So here are the 5 most common customers and excuses. It’s important to note that all of these customers have one thing in common. They all got in touch with you because they want what you offer. The only thing holding them back is themselves.

1. The “I haven’t had time to look at it yet” customer excuse

This is the one that got in touch with you, wanted prices and all the information. You sent a quote and they never responded. So you follow them up with a call and they say “I haven’t had time to look at it yet”. So the surface excuse is about time. They make this excuse to themselves because they feel pressured to make a decision. But the underlying conflict here is one about priorities. Time is a limited resource but we make time for the things we want. You want a new car so you make time to go for a test drive. You want a new job so you make time to write your resume and apply. The things you make time for are the things you really want. So your customer is really just saying they’re not as interested in what you offer as some other things in their life.

With this understanding in mind, you can now communicate on the same level as the customer. Let them know that you understand that it’s not as important as other things in their life. Reassure them that it’s ok to say no. You might be totally freaked out about telling a customer that it’s ok not to do business with you, but this one small act of understanding will establish trust that your competitors won’t have the guts to achieve. Be a breath of fresh air – you’ll often find that the customer completely changes their tune and decides to prioritize you and your offering.

2. The “it costs too much” customer excuse

Possibly one of the most common customer excuses. We’ve all been this customer. When we say this it’s because we have an internal budget in our heads. Or we’ve looked at other offerings for what we think is the same thing and we don’t want to overpay. We don’t want to look like a fool. But just like the time excuse, we make money available for the things we really want. Studies have shown that people will expend far more time and energy to avoid losing $50 than to gain $50. So the underlying reason is ” I don’t want to lose money by overpaying”. Which means that this excuse is all about value. This customer doesn’t see enough value in your offering to go forward.

Now that you understand this, let your customer know that you understand, then work on finding out what they value most and add this to your offering if you can. The simple act of trying to understand what your customer values will help establish that trust that results in customers that rave about your Photo Booth experience.

Sometimes this customer might only value spending as little as possible which means the only way to offer value is to discount. That means devaluing what you do – you need to make a decision about whether this is a customer you really want.

3. The “yeah, I’m not sure” customer excuse

The customer might not actually say that. They might use any number of surface excuses including time, money, info or partner ones. But what they are really saying is that they don’t trust you, which means they don’t feel comfortable – which is totally ok. Your customer testimonials in your marketing should help with this but, again, showing you understand will help you build massive trust with your customer. Be open, honest, accurate and willing to help and this customer will warm to you in the end.

4. The ” I have to check with boss/partner/husband/wife” customer excuse

People inside companies make this one and they have a legitimate reason for doing so – because they can lose their job if they don’t clear things with the boss. Most of the time though you’ll be dealing with people who actually have their own money, are adults and can totally make decisions if they wanted to. So why do they make this excuse?

This one is about self-belief. They have a person whose opinion they value higher than their own. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this and people in partnerships should seek their partners approval – that’s the whole point of a partnership. The last thing anyone wants is unhappy partners but the problem here is that unless you have been in contact with the partner as well, they don’t have the same amount of trust built up. They may have their own set of excuses just waiting to ambush you. Try to deal with the partner in exactly the same way; first, seek to understand. You can offer to talk with the partner and help get them on the same page.

5. The “can you send me some information” customer excuse

Another really common one. The information itself is irrelevant. They already know all the details and you’ve answered their questions. This one is about self-belief or trust, it’s about trusting themselves. They don’t feel comfortable making a decision, not because they don’t have all the info but because they don’t trust themselves enough to do it. They are mortified of making the wrong decision. The information is a comfort thing. They feel like having all the information in front of them helps them to make the right decision because they’re petrified of making the wrong one.

Once you identify and understand this, you can reassure them. Let them know that there is no wrong decision. The result of what you offer is what they really want – the experience, the happy guests, the memorable moments. As long as they get that then it’s really doesn’t matter what decision they make, they’ll 100% per cent get what they want with your incredible Photo Booth service.

After all of this, it’s important to know that dealing with these underlying excuses is not just about you making more money – that’s an excellent side effect. There’s a higher purpose. What it’s really about is making sure that your customers aren’t disappointed – by themselves. This is about helping your customers to make sure that they don’t go back to doing nothing, making excuses and feeling regret for never getting what they want. This is about helping your customers get out of their own way.

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