Stop Cancellations, Returns and Buyer's Remorse

How would you like to never have to worry about refunds again? I'm not talking about the refund where someone buys the wrong $5 widget. I'm talking about the High End Sale that took you an hour (or two) to complete. I mean the sale that made your day. Would you like to know how to make sure that sale doesn't come back?

Why do customers cancel? Returns come in your door for one of a few reasons; 1) The customer saw your product for less somewhere else. 2) A competitor (or relative) talked them into bringing it back. Or...

The number one reason you get returns is...They don't know how to assemble (or more likely) use what you sold them. We used to have a salesperson named Roger. (This was In-Home sales). Some of the other salespeople called him " Next day return" Roger. Most of his sales showed up the next day, with the vacuum cleaner, for a refund. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I went with him on a sales call. He was polite, demonstrated well, and got the sale. Then he handed them the instruction book & said " Here you are. Any problems, the book will help you" . I said " Folks, let me show you how to get the most use out of your new machine. OK?" Then I spent the next 15 minutes showing them how to use it. When we got in the car, he asked me why I wasted all that time after we got the sale. He had no clue. Of course, they didn't cancel. A Miracle!

No customer is going to come in your store & admit that they can't figure out how to use your product. Ever. But they will return it and give you a perfectly logical reason (one crafted to be completely out of their control) why they have to return it. With in-home sales, it was Lay-offs. Everyone who cancelled just found out the night before, that they got laid-off from work. We caused more lay-offs!

The moral of the story? Show your new customer how to get the most from their purchase. If the product has a reset switch, show them where it is & explain that it may need to be pressed when the motor heats up. You get the idea.

There are several other things you can do to almost guarantee your customer doesn't return the item. For example;

Give the customer a free gift just before they leave. Make it something that they will value. Something you didn't mention before.

Send a gift after the sale. The same day as the sale, we send a coffee mug (or 2 if it was a couple). We include a $10 Gift Certificate. We even make a profit on the Gift Certificates.

We also include a $10 Gift Certificate for a Friend. It brings in new customers, at a profit.

If you sell something that needs quick assembly, do it for the customer. And don't charge them for it. If you charge them, it's not a favor. If there is any paperwork, help them fill it out. We always register the warranty for the customer. One less thing for them to worry about, and one less thing that can cause a cancellation. Registering the warranty for the customer, in front of them, also shows them that the sale is finalized. Don't leave these details to the customer. If they can't figure something out, they return it.

Don't let that happen to you.

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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