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“Buyer’s Remorse” Grows Up

by David Brock on December 19th, 2019

When I first started selling — way back in the dark ages — one of the things I learned about was “buyer’s remorse.” It was the tendency for customers to start second guessing themselves after they made a decision.

Buyer’s remorse was a bit of a challenge. Often, our competitors would try to reverse a decision, raising FUD, suggesting there might be problems, or trying to sweeten their offer. Or they might to raise new issues or talk about other capabilities, “you know this feature and capability might be something you really need…”

One of the biggest issues was our solutions had relatively long lead times. Delivery schedules of 6 months to 1 year weren’t unusual. We didn’t want the customer the customer to change their minds, to de-prioritize the project, or to cancel the order (which they could easily do).

Finally, we wanted our customers to be as excited about buying our solutions after they had bought and implemented them as they were on the day the made the decision and awarded the PO.

In those days, we focused our strategies/tactics around keeping the customer happy with the vendor selection they had made. Making them happy that they have selected the right vendor/solution.

While buyer’s remorse was something to be aware of, it usually was neither a huge issue, nor took a lot of time. We just had to be aware of the possibility and attentive to keeping the customer engaged and positive.

Fast forward to today, buyer’s remorse has changed profoundly. It is not just something that you have to manage with a light touch. The new buyers remorse is severe, it impacts everyone in the customer buying team. It doesn’t happen after the customer has made the decision. It happens in their buying process, stopping it dead in it’s tracks. In the end, we get a “let’s wait until a better time,” or “let’s do nothing.

The other thing about the new buyer’s remorse is that it has little to do with solution/vendor selection.

It is all about the customer decision confidence. It is, “Are we doing the right things for our company?” Are we solving the right problem? Are we solving it in the right way? Do we have the resources and knowledge to be successful in managing and implementing this change? Can we manage the risks? What happens if we are doing the wrong thing? What happens to me if I make a bad decision or I fail in the implementation?”

As we assess the worlds our customers’ live in, they are characterized by skyrocketing complexity, incessant/rapid change, information overload/overwhelm, market disruption, economic uncertainty, conflicting priorities, increased risk, and uncertainty.

The struggle they face has changed, it is not, “Did I select the right vendor,” but, in midst of all of this, “How do we become confident in the decisions we are making?

Customer Decision Confidence is the biggest challenge standing in the way of our customers moving forward, solving their problems and addressing new opportunities. Helping our customers make sense of all that surrounds them, helping them navigate the risks, the knowns, the unknowns is where we create our greatest value and increase their confidence.

What are you doing to help your customers with their decision confidence?

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