What To Do When The Customer Says " Can I Try it for a Few Days

" Can I Take This Home For A few Days And" Try" It?"

" What If I Take It Home And Don't" Like" It?"

Have you ever had" those" questions?

Here's why the answers to these questions are so important. When the questions are asked, your answer" makes" or" breaks" the sale. Almost every time.

When the customer asks if they can take the product home for a few days to try it, they are asking for a few reasons; Let's say you sell vacuum cleaners; They may want to simply use your machine & bring it back without paying anything (I'm sure this is the rarest case), they may want to be sure it will work for them at home the same as it does here, or they may simply want to defer making a decision. This question is usually asked if they want to take home the product without paying for it first.

When the customer asks if they can return it if they don't like it, they have generally seen and tried out the product in your store. They usually ask this question if they are paying up front for the product.

Have you seen ads in the Newspaper and Magazines that say " Try Free For 30 Days" ?

Do you know why they make that offer? Because it works. It generates more sales than it generates returns. But the" BIG" reason the " Free Trial" is used is that the customer can't" see" the product. They can't touch and try out the product" before" they buy. If there's no " free look" the customer usually won't buy. In these cases the buyer has paid up front for the product. But the offer is " Risk Free" . Meaning, a refund is easily obtained.

In a retail store, they can see, feel, try out, & test the product to their heart's content.

In our store, when a customer asks if they can return it if they don't like it (this is on non-returnable products), I ask " If it works as well at home as it works here, will you be happy with it?"

The answer is invariably " Yes" . I say " That's why we have a warranty, If the vacuum cleaner (or whatever) doesn't work as well as it does here, we're here to service it so that it" does." Fair enough?"

The answer is almost always " yes" . Had I just said " No, you can't take it home and try it" , any reason I gave would have sounded bad to the customer.

On vacuum cleaners that we" will" let them take home and bring back (just one brand), we say " We'll do better than a few days. We'll give you a full two weeks to use it in your home. If you don't like it for any reason, we'll exchange or give you a refund. Your choice. Fair enough?"

Why do I give two weeks, when they only asked for a few days? Because they are far more likely to keep the product if they don't feel the daily pressure to make a decision. Giving 30 days is equally valuable.

We won't let the customer " Borrow" a vacuum cleaner to use in their home. We have heard from several retailers that" swear" that they make sales by letting customers " try out" the vacuum cleaner before money changes hands. My thought is that the people who bought would have paid up front if asked.

In the customer's mind, if they give you money... they" bought. Now, they have to" change their minds" to bring the product back. Now, there is the" extra effort" of getting a refund. It is an unpleasant experience for the customer. They will tend to avoid it.

But if they didn't give you money...they" borrowed" the product. Now they are just " dropping it" off" when they return it. Now, it takes" extra effort" to come in and pay you. They will tend to avoid this too. So they are" far more" likely to keep what they bought. This is all the customer's perception.

The vast majority of questions customers ask, are best answered in a complete, straight forward manner. The " Can I bring it back" question is one of the only questions I answer by...well...changing the question.

Claude Whitacre is the author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual. Claude speaks on small business advertising and retail marketing.

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