Consumers take a number of chances when they buy an unknown product, which can make them gun shy about trying it. In addition to wasting their money on an item that turns out to be something they don’t like, they risk possible illness, injury or some type of decreased performance. Using a combination of techniques that provide information and reassurance can help you make an objective case that your product or service offers little or no risk to a potential buyer.
Identify the Potential Risks
A consumer’s perception of risk can be as simple as worrying that a food or drink won’t taste good. It can be more serious, too, such as concerns about a product’s safety, the side effects from medicines or the security of online financial transactions. Review your product or service and list the possible problems a potential customer might have with it. In addition to an internal review, contact current customers to discuss their initial perceptions of you before they became customers. Hold a focus group to discuss concerns with potential customers or clients.
Provide Objective Data
Deflect customer objections using objective data from academic, government and professional association sources. For example, a maker of a food can use statistics from the American Heart Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture or U.S. Food and Drug Administration to dispel any common myths regarding the food. Provide internal data about your company that showcases your safety and security achievements, awards and professional certifications and licenses.
Decrease the loss-of-money or loss-of-performance concerns among consumers by offering a guarantee or warranty, recommends Inc. magazine contributing editor Darren Dahl. These can include a money-back, replacement or repair offer. Look at your customer service history and determine the likelihood that you will need to give replacements or repair your product. If you have had few requests to do so in the past, your financial exposure might be very low with a guarantee.
Consumers might have more faith in a product if it’s endorsed by an individual or organization they trust. Look into obtaining official product status from a credible trade association, charity or other business, such as a sports team. Experts you use for endorsements don’t need to be celebrities. They can be local professionals, such as a doctor, dietitian, high school coach, veterinarian, personal trainer, chef or other expert in a specific area related to your product or service.
In addition to expert endorsements, use testimonials from customers who are similar to the potential customers you’re targeting. Ask your customers if they would be willing to allow you to use a quote telling about their experience with your product or service. You can offer them compensation for their testimonials, but they will be more credible references if you can put, “non-paid testimonial” after their endorsements.
- Association for Consumer Research: Perceived Risk and Risk-Reduction Strategies For High-Technology Services
- Wiley Online Library: The Effects of Consumer Risk Perception on Pre-purchase Information in Online Auctions: Brand, Word-of-Mouth, and Customized Information
- Inc.: 6 Questions to Ask Before Creating a Warranty
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.