Stop impulse buyers – I don’t let you buy my SW service without testing it first

Impulse buyerAn impulse purchase or impulse buying is an unplanned decision to buy a product or service, made just before a purchase (Wikipedia). So basically, impulse buyers are people that decide to purchase your product / service without carefully evaluating whether the product fits their needs.

A quick Google search shows plenty of results teaching you how to avoid being an impulse buyer yourself but basically nothing about stopping impulse buyers to buy from you. In fact, exploiting impulse purchases is a well-known market strategy (a typical example is retailers displaying sweets next to the checkout aisles, who can’t resist picking up some chocolate or gum while waiting in the queue?). It looks like everybody agrees that impulse buying is good for your business.

Well, I beg to disagree. In fact, we decided to remove all purchase links from our migration to WordPress service. You can order a test migration to see how your site would look like once moved to WordPress but we don’t let you directly buy the service. You may think we are stupid (well maybe you’re right but that’s a different discussion) and that we may be losing clients because of this (and you may also be right on this). So, why we did it?

The reason is quite simple. In complex products like ours, you don’t want clients that are not well aware of what the service provides or you’ll end up losing money (in hours spent educating them likely followed by a refund since your service is not really what they were looking for and you’re just tired of arguing with them). In previous versions of our webiste, clients were free to buy any of our packages but after running into this problem several times (typically, the client was expecting our service to install WP for them and configure and/or get a WP theme cloning their original one and not just migrate the content) we decided it was more cost-effective to force everybody to go through a test phase before taking their money (check our “how the process works” page).

Obviously, there are less drastic ways to avoid impulse buyers but the key question is the same: should you discourage or lure them? What’s your take?

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4 thoughts on “Stop impulse buyers – I don’t let you buy my SW service without testing it first

  1. My opinion is that what you are selling is really a productized consulting service. As such, you really do want to vet every client.

    In your business you have a small relationship with each client for the lifespan of their project… just as in consulting. With a pure product business, it’s transactional… you can literally “drop and run”. It’s not that clean in consulting. (I do know some consultants who try to make their services “drop and run” in nature. The services they provide under this model are usually VERY simple. And when they aren’t, the client usually isn’t very happy with the outcome.)

    As with any consulting or freelance service, you’ll get a lot of tire kickers who don’t realize that they are buying a specialized professional service that requires a lot of participation from their end. You need to limit the time you spend in one on one discussions with those who have the greatest probability of understanding the service that you provide.

    Of course, that blunt statement sounds exclusionary and discriminatory. You have to soft-pedal this intent in as friendly a way as possible in your marketing.

    PS: Excellent blog. I believe I followed this here from “business of software”.

    1. Hi Donald. Thanks for your comment. I agree with the need of being careful in the way of dealing with this in our marketing / website. You don’t want to scare possible “good clients” either.

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