When people are confident of their next paycheck, they have a predisposition to buy most of their “because I want it” items that are within financial reach (and maybe even just out of reach as well, thanks to credit cards). ‘Cause when expendable cash keeps depositing itself into your bank account, the threshold for buyer’s remorse — or even “buyer’s hesitation” — elevates all the way to the penthouse.

But in shakier economies, not only do people’s actual levels of expendable cash drop, so do their thresholds for buying “pain.”

In fact, the threshold drops further and faster than their expendable cash. People can still afford extra-budgetary purchases, but parting with the cash feels a lot more painful. Here’s what that looks like:

Translated to copywriter-speak: many descretionary items are now shopped and bought like considered purchases, rather than impulse buys.

3 Tips for Beating the Pain Gap of Consideration

It boils down to this: start acting like you’re selling a considered purchase; consciously aim to overcome the psychic pain threshold, instead of assuming the buyer has a green light for purchasing.  Here are 3 tips on how to do that:

1. Insist on superior product photos, descriptions, and objection-anticipating sales copy.

Think about how much more research you do for a car than a t-shirt. Emotionally, there’s more at stake so you require more information & copy. So provide that for your customers and watch sales go up.

Also, if you don’t have product or service reviews on your site or for your business, understand that the more important the purchase, the more important reviews become. In B2B world, we call them case studies and testimonials, but reviews are even more powerful, and important, than that.

2. Convince the spouse.

Make sure your copy not only speaks to your “internal champion’s” desires but also provides that champion with justification for the purchase. In B2B terms, you gotta help your champion make the case to the CFO. For regular purchases, you gotta give people that fig leaf of rationality and justification — both for their sake and their spouse’s. Want to sell that fancy schmancy stainless steel grill? Make sure there is some talk about total cost of ownership being lower over ten years than getting a new cheapie grill every 2-3 years.

3. Optimize for conversions.

If you’re competing for market share in a shrinking market, it’ll help if your Website is more persuasive, usable, and efficient than the competition. If you looking at your whole Website is too big a job for you, consider focusing on landing pagesforms, and check-outs.

Or try leveraging the power of conversion tools — there are some great ones out there (more on this later) and this MEGA LIST from Bryan Eisenberg is pretty good place to start.



  1. Sarah Arrow on 03.03.2012

    I love this post Jeff, convincing the spouse is often neglected. In the case of the female partner, well, they influence 85% of purchasing decisions. I don’t know any man who has made a major purchase without asking his girlfriend /wife/partner/mum/sister and they take on board what they say.
    Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..I find you truly… fascinating

  2. Jeff on 03.03.2012

    Thanks, Sarah,

    You’re absolutely right! It was no accident that I equated wife with CFO : )