Today, we’re going to spend a little time looking at buyers from the inside out. I think it’s time well spent, because buyers are just us, if our roles were reversed. It’s so easy, as a seller, to think of a buyer as… well, let me digress for a moment, for newer Fiverr people. A “buyer” is simply someone who looks for and purchases a service on Fiverr. A “seller” is someone who offers and sells them that service. Continuing! It’s easy to think of a seller as an adversary. It’s the age-old rivalry. You offer something of value, and I want it. You want something for it in return. I want it for as little “something” as possible. And of course, you want to sell it for as much “something” as possible. That immediately puts us at odds, at least to a degree.
Add to that, the pressure of time, how high-needs the buyer is, their…let’s call it…”reasonableness factor,” time constraints, and the natural greed we all have to get more and give less, both buyer and seller, and you can easily find yourselves on either side of a brick wall, tossing mental grenades at the person on the other side.
Here’s the challenge. We need to somehow minimize that barrier, and if possible, cross it. Note I say, “if possible,” because it isn’t always possible. Some people are bricklayers by their very nature, and the best we can do is to toss an olive branch over the wall, but we can try.
Here’s one of the best things I’ve ever found to do, and that’s to address the buyer as a friend, right from the start, and give them oxygen. By that, I mean, to acknowledge their viewpoints on things, their situation, their needs, their troubles, and when we can, their objections, and to give them the benefit of the doubt about things.
Let me give you some examples:
The buyer mentions they’re under a tight deadline. What’s our immediate mental reaction? Lots of things can go through our minds. “So what’s new? Everybody’s in a hurry. Everybody wants everything right away. They’re probably not even under a deadline…they probably just want it fast because they think like a three year old.” And maybe you’re right. But none of that is going to help build a relationship. So how’s this instead? Give them a little oxygen: “Understood! Yep, it’s a busy time of year, so let me help you get this going in a hurry. If we get the order going right away today, I’ll rush it through at no extra charge on this first order as a thank you for trying my services.” We’ve just alleviated their anxiety about the timetable for delivery and shown we appreciate their situation and are on their side.
We’re working on an order for a client, and can go no further until we hear back from them with the answer to a question. Our mind is saying, “jerk…first they say they need it fast, and now when I try to get it done in 24 hours for them, they’ve let 12 of those hours go by without telling me what I need to complete it!” It’d be so easy to send kind of a stinging note, saying, “You said you wanted this fast, and now you’re not even answering my questions.” But instead, we relax, and send them a little oxygen…in an unusual form. Don’t panic now, when I mention this. You request cancellation. Again, stay calm. Here’s why we’re doing this. A cancellation is only a cancellation if the other party accepts it, and we are going to include this message along with the cancellation request. “Don’t accept this cancellation! I know you’ve been busy, and I needed to pause the gig so it wouldn’t run out on us…until you were able to see my message, asking for a little additional information. Please send me a message with the answer, but don’t accept or deny the cancellation request. That’ll keep the timer on-hold. And I’ll quickly finish your order up and get it to you as soon as I hear from you. This seems like an odd, unorthodox thing, but it’s actually a recommended practice by the folks at Fiverr. It spares you from being marked as late, and addresses the situation kindly with the buyer, acknowledging they have been busy, not charging them with neglect, and giving you both a way out of the situation without damage. The expression, “looks like you’re busy” is a great oxygen hose for many situations, because it suggests your buyer is a busy and important person, and not a thoughtless or neglectful person.
Well those are just two examples, but the principle behind them is something you can apply to many, many situations with buyers who we feel have transgressed in some way.
The worst thing we can do to a buyer is the thing we would like the least ourselves…and that’s to make them feel like crap about themselves, if you’ll pardon the language. When we sound like we’re scolding, even a little, it can sometimes get the buyer to bend to our wishes, but the cost in goodwill is high. We’ve essentially gotten out the bricks and mortar and started building the wall between us and them with our own two hands. That doesn’t result in repeat business. That results in one and done business, and may also result in a bad public review…or even worse, bad private feedback to Fiverr, which can tank you in search if it happens a few times.
Not only is a scolding approach toxic to the buyer, but to you as well. So when you feel tempted to get out the mustard gas and spray an annoying buyer, just remember that the drift from that stuff is likely to blow right back in your face. Instead, try and relax, think of that buyer as a friend you want to help, and take out the oxygen tank. Acknowledge their needs and problems and show your willingness to help. When they fail you, put a good face on it for them. Defend them by the way you respond. Say encouraging things, reassuring things. Stay on their side of the wall. It’s amazing how much that can help you build your business, while at the same time, helping your own peace of mind.
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