Which of these two different buying decisions are you asking for?

When I was five I really wanted a dog.

I really couldn't contain myself – always pestering my family about getting a dog. And each time I brought it up, my parents would ask my why I wanted a dog.

I would spend time trying to logically answer them. But seriously, I was five. So I'm pretty sure it revolved around the notion of “because.”

Then one time I was begging and the question posed to me was different, “What kind of dog do you want?”

In that moment, I knew I was getting a dog. The conversation had shifted.

A different question was being asked.

Over the course of my life, I've wanted lots of things.

Wanting things isn't something that stopped once I got that childhood dog.

I'm a person who's constantly figuring out what he wants next. And in that way, I'm pretty sure that I'm not too unlike many of your prospects and customers.

We all want things. But with so many offerings out there, it's easy to create a pretty strong filter that drowns out all the noise.

The result is that while I browse around the internet on most days, I leave tons of shopping carts partially filled with no final conversion to speak of.

Getting someone to make a purchase is hard

The purchase decision – first time decision – is tough. It requires several choices, really.

  • Do I want this?
  • Am I willing to pay for it?
  • Am I willing to pay that much for it?
  • Should I buy it here?
  • Should I buy it now?

That's a lot of processing that has to happen for someone to buy something they've never bought before.

I know – it's what I went thru when I made the decision to buy a custom shirt. You know, where they measure you 6 different ways and you can pick your collar, your pocket, your sleeve style (cufflinks anyone?), and of course fabric.

I finally, several months ago, decided to try it out. But I had to step thru all those little questions before ever crossing the line to make a single purchase.

Getting someone to make another purchase is easier

Today I walked into the store again. Months after getting my custom shirt.

And I ordered four more. Without thinking much about it.

Because there's a big difference between making a first time buying decision and a decision to buy more of something.

And when you know that, you can use that to your advantage.

The store where I bought my custom shirt created a “first time buyer” discount to encourage me to make my first purchase. Today there were no such discounts. They had shaped the process to get me in the door. To take the first step and cross over the anxiety I had.

Today I didn't have any anxiety at all.

Which of these two different buying decisions are you asking for?

Are you asking a person to step up and buy more of something?

Or are you asking a person to make a new decision to spend money on something they never have before?

Maybe using this lens can help you shift what you're asking people for. Maybe using this approach can help lower the barrier of entry for first-timers.

Maybe you'll discover that one decision is a lot easier to ask for than the other.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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