make money from photography

Regretting Your Decision (buyer’s remorse)

Mark Lait

Mark Lait

Cognitive dissonance … what the?

Have you ever bought something and then thought, ‘oh wow … can I really afford that?’ I’ve dealt with a lot of people who’ve regretting their decision to buy something as a salesperson. It’s called ‘buyer’s remorse’, or ‘buyer’s regret’ and everyone has it at some stage when they buy something.
Why don’t we start by defining exactly what buyer’s remorse is? It’s the sense of regret some people experience after having made a purchase. It’s frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a vehicle or a house … It’s thought to stem from cognitive dissonance which is where a person will hold two or more contradictory beliefs …  Now that’s a bit of a mouth full so let me explain how that’s related to business.

After a photoshoot, people see their photos in a slideshow, and at their viewing presentation they can invest serious amounts of money on wall art and other heirloom products to pass on down through the generations …

After you’ve thoroughly gone through the terms and conditions of the purchase, they sign the paperwork and leave the studio excited and happy about the whole experience, they’ll often hug you goodbye because they have had such an amazing time with you, you’ve sort of become friends.

It was you who made this possible so you go back to your desk feeling great about the sale you’ve made, thinking of how lovely your customer was and how much they will enjoy photo products and your day, as a whole, is complete.

 If the client is going to have buyer’s remorse, it’s not long after they leave the studio that it takes full affect. This can be the same day as the shoot, the next day or even a few days later.

It’s important to understand that this is all part of the consumer buying process, the client makes contact with you either by a phone call or email or sms.

They’ve changed their mind … they’ve had time for it to sink in and decided that they don’t want to go through with the purchase, often they don’t want to cancel the entire order they just want to ‘Take some photos out to make it cheaper’, they’re conscious of their finances – fair enough,  I think we’re all conscious of our finances … Depending on what terms and conditions they have agreed to will determine the rest of the conversation you have with them.

You have to gently and politely remind them that they have made a custom purchase which is now in production so they must commit to their original purchase. This is why we get them to sign a second agreement giving us permission to produce their order immediately.

Now the client doesn’t want to hear this, what they want to hear is “Oh sure, you have changed your mind have you? Not to worry, I’ll just go ahead and cancel your order for you and you get back to me when you have made up your mind as to what you would like to do”. The reality is, this is not something a business can say to a client if they want to be profitable, we’re not a ‘buy it when you feel like it’ business.

You have to wonder how they would feel if whoever they worked for called them and said ‘I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to pay you this week’… The fact is that they are over the age of 18, they have agreed that they understood what they were doing and signed documentation to that effect and they understood that they were buying a custom product … we can’t just sell their photos to someone else …

If you go to a department store and buy a shirt but when you take it home, you realise it doesn’t fit, you can just take it back and get a full refund, often without even needing the purchase receipt … This is what your client is thinking, they can cancel their order because it no longer suits them – and that’s what I mean when I talk about cognitive dissonance – they loved the photos when they were in the studio, they wanted the photos when they were in the studio, it was only after they left that something happened which made them change their mind … We know that we can turn this around and almost 100% of the time, we find that years later, those people are so happy that they continued with the purchase.

The best way to deal with clients who are experiencing buyer’s remorse is to let them get all of their “words” out to you, they’ve been going over and over what they’re going to say in their minds so let them get it out.

If they call you to cancel their order, LET THEM SPEAK! More often than not they have gone home and told their partner how much they have spent and they’ve blown up at them, so they immediately doubt their decision making ability and they think they need to make things right so their partner is no longer upset.

When clients call you in this mindset they are often wound up and tense and need to vent. This is why it is so important to let them speak because they want to be angry at you, when really they’re angry at their spouse. Once they get all of their ‘words’ out then it’s time for you talk. Always seek to understand – then seek to be understood … Start with the facts, remind them what they said ‘yes’ to … explain to them that you went over the terms and conditions of their contract with them, that they think the photos are beautiful, that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity etc.

You need to reassure the client that they’ve made the right decision and explain to them that their order has already been placed into production and that you can’t wait to show them their finished product.

They’ll eventually calm down and accept that the decision they made was the right one … Just like you did in the sale, you need to guide the client to where you want them to be.