Are your buyers afraid of you? Of course not, I hear you say. I beg to differ! The easier you can make it for somebody to buy your services, the more you’ll be able to sell. A product ladder is a good way to deal with some of those fears.

Looking down the ladder

Every purchase has an element of risk attached to it. If the risk is minimal, it’s easy to just go ahead. The higher the risk them more likely people are to look elsewhere and think more about buying from you. Here’s how a product ladder can reduce a buyer’s fears and help you sell more.

A recent example

Peter recently started up his own small consultancy practice, over a beer he updated me on what he’d been doing. He told me about his Accountant, and his Lawyer at least 7 times in the conversation. More specifically he told me about the other ones he’d seen, how good his ones were, what made them good and how he’s surprised that more people don’t use them.

What was he really saying? He was saying how good he is at choosing and how other people aren’t. It showed me I’m not the only one that likes to show how good a choice I’ve made! How many people have you met people that like to show you how good they are at choosing (from choosing service providers to new phones or cars)?

Our human nature

We love it when other people admire our great taste, but more importantly how our purchases reflects on our skills as a person. The opposite is true as well, we hate looking stupid!

What we choose to buy shows something about us. If that’s a good thing, we like to show off. As people don’t like to appear stupid, many procrastinate (fear) making a buying decision.

A product ladder can help you break the purchase into smaller steps, reducing the fear, and even allow people to show off about how clever they are. As part Peter’s story Peter he told how he’d met, tried out, got to know and found an easy way to deal with his service providers.

The product ladder

A product ladder or breaking the purchase into small, incremental, steps is very effective at reducing fears. Fears about change (every purchase involves some change) and fears of looking stupid can be minimised.

If you can make it appear easier for your buyers to change to you, and get to know how good you are, it makes it easier for them to choose you.

Recently I was looking at purchasing a new CRM system; I have very specific requirements for it and the way it needs to interface with other systems we use. Making the wrong choice could involve us in lots more change all in one go. In the end I trialled 3 systems, dismissed one of them then went on to buy basic versions of the other two. That allowed me to start dealing the changes I might need to deal with. I had rejected, out of hand, those systems that sounded great, but couldn’t be purchased incrementally.

Your product ladder

OK, so you don’t sell products, you sell services. How can the same process apply to you?

What are the steps involved in your buyers deciding and how can you help them with things like

  • Some initial trust in you and your service
  • Awareness of the issues involved in their purchase
  • Making their change easier

Download our guide to the buying process, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.

Failure to understand your buyer’ fears (and helping them develop confidence in you in small stages) means sales opportunities are lost.

What steps could you have in your ladder?

Jon BakerWritten by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.