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The Two Reasons People Won’t Buy

There are only two fundamental reasons that a scientist won't buy from you.Marketers and salespeople wrack their brains trying to figure out how to increase conversion – be it to turn eyeballs into leads or to convert opportunities into sales. Fundamentally, there are only two reasons that someone won’t buy from you. Understanding them is crucial to increasing marketing and sales effectiveness.

Reason 1: You’re Talking to the Wrong Person

Half the battle is ensuring that you’re talking to the correct person; in other words, that your targeting is correct.

Companies waste huge amounts of marketing and sales resources trying to sell to the wrong person. The “wrong” person is generally someone who does not have a need for your product / service or someone who does not have sufficient resources, authority, or influence to purchase. From a marketing perspective, this is most often due to an overly ambitious definition of the target market. Companies tend to do so out of optimism: if you are selling to researchers within a specific field, for example, you may be tempted to define them all as your target market because you want them all to be within your target market. Such is rarely the case, however, and this leads to targeting a lot of people who – no matter how good your message and content is – simply will never buy from you.

It’s really easy to think a goose looks like a duck. Because your pool of potential customers can seem very similar to other groups which are not potential customers, it’s essential that you define your target audience specifically. This doesn’t mean that your audience has to be narrow or small, but you need to clearly draw the line between who is and who isn’t a potential customer. (This should be rooted in your positioning statement, but can – and often should – be expanded beyond that.)

It’s common for the target market to be underdefined because a company simply does not know what kinds of scientists would or wouldn’t be potential customers. That’s entirely understandable – it sometimes isn’t until a product / service hits the market that people can truly judge its value. However, this is not an excuse for poor targeting. In this case, the target market needs to be established either by market research or by a trial-and-error approach which progressively analyzes the market and whittles the target market down to include only those customer profiles who would purchase.

Reason 2: They Don’t Trust You

It doesn’t matter how good your targeting is if your audience doesn’t believe what you are telling them, and what you’re telling them boils down to one thing: the value of what I am selling you will meet or exceed the value of the money that it costs. If you are talking to a genuine member of your target audience, that is the only thing you need to convince them of to make a sale. If they believe that, they will buy 100% of the time. If not, they will decline to buy – 100% of the time.

Trust is a matter of personal belief – it is something that is part rational and part emotional. As such, there are two basic reasons that a prospective customer does not trust you:

  1. The customer requires more or different information than what you have provided to them. This is the rational reason. You have failed to successfully make your case.
  2. The customer does not have faith in the person or brand which is speaking to them. This is the emotional reason. The customer does not trust you to accurately present information to them and therefore does not believe what you say – even if it is simply factual.


Either or both of the above may be true in any given instance.

There are many reasons why lack of trust exists – everything from simple lack of message validation to a poor past experience with the person or brand – but the end result is always the same: the prospective customer selects a strategic alternative. Because there are so many reasons that a lack of trust may exist, it can be difficult to analyze precisely what is causing the distrust. It is therefore important to understand why your prospective customers go elsewhere. (The tool to do this is win-loss analysis, which we’ll discuss in an upcoming blog post.)

If you’re talking to the right person and you can get them to trust you, you will earn a sale. Conversely, in every lost sale one of these two things went wrong. Identify those areas, rectify them, and you’ll do wonders for your conversion.

"BioBM has been the marketing agency of choice for dozens of life science companies for half a decade. We use innovative marketing approaches to create transformational commercial success for your innovative products and services. If you’re seeking to upgrade your marketing, just give us a call."

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