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 : )

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