Steps to Eliminate Buyer Scepticism and Mistrust

“If you know that your prospect harbours some doubts about your offer, deal with them! Meet the scepticism head on and you can overcome it,” – Ivan Levison

Businesses can help to remove buyer scepticism by communicating openly with clients and customers. This stance is important for businesses because it helps them to cultivate and achieve an open persona and promote transparency in business practices. This stance can also help clients, customers, and suppliers to gain confidence in the ability of the business to deliver on its promises. We must appreciate the fact that modern customers and clients have access to a variety of market information and therefore may become sceptical about the quality of proffered products and services. Businesses should invite customers to air their views because this action reflects confidence on the part of the business enterprise and enables it to deal with the concerns and the many questions that may arise from clients and customers.

We note that buyer scepticism remains a common phenomenon in commerce and may stem from random, isolated incidents wherein the business failed to deliver. Negative sentiments generated by word-of-mouth campaigns and motivated malice may further ignite scepticism among wide swathes of consumers. However, the business may choose to pro-actively address such concerns and reassure consumers that the momentary lapse remains an exception, not the norm. For instance, a chain of grocery stores would do well to convince its customers about the uniform quality of its wares regardless of location. This course of action would involve an element of constant communication between the business and its many customers. In addition, the said business would be well advised to strengthen and streamline internal processes so that risks are actively contained and the scope for buyer scepticism is reduced to a minimum.

Every business should appreciate the fact that the modern consumer has access to a wide range of products and services that have been enabled by the evolution of the free market. The sheer range of products and services available to an average consumer is sufficient to confuse even the most confident customer and the resulting confusion may create buyer scepticism. This situation is worsened by the fact that finicky consumers may fall prey to hearsay and market rumours. The ensuing consumer behaviour may become chaotic and erratic, thereby defeating the norms of logic and predictability. In such a situation, a business needs to take a firm stand and communicate openly at multiple levels to dispel consumer fears and buyer scepticism. For instance, a trans-national business organization that operates supply chains across multiple geographies is subject to risks emanating from erratic market movements, geo-politics, etc. This element of risk should be clearly assessed and evaluated by the corporate management. Any supply disruptions in a remote geography may create disruptions that can directly impact the flow of business and may encourage buyer scepticism in different markets. The said business should ideally respond by opening lines of communication with all stakeholders and reassure them that business operations remain in fine fettle. In addition, the business should actively work to create alternative supply chains to eliminate the risk posed to the business by the original disruption. These methods can help the business to dispel buyer scepticism and any other negative sentiment that follows in the wake of the said disruption.

The modern business can seek to highlight the considered opinions of market regulators when dealing with entrenched instances of buyer scepticism and consumer mistrust. For instance, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products may choose to draw the attention of certain consumers to the fact that its products have been fully certified by the relevant government regulator. We note that the regulator’s vote of confidence cannot be procured in exchange for commercial gratification and therefore a regulatory stamp of approval may work wonders for the commercial prospects of the said manufacturer. This tactic may be viewed as a superior means of communication on the part of the pharmaceutical products manufacturer because the said communication is completely grounded in established fact and may be verified independently by any consumer. In the same vein, an automobile maker can cite quality certifications from the competent regulator as part of its sales spiel, as also to defeat market rumours that have been primarily powered by buyer scepticism.

Buyer scepticism can act as a deterrent to new market entrants and unknown brands that seek entry into mainstream markets. This mistrust may stem from obvious factors, such as the market’s lack of familiarity with new brands and unproven market operators, and a marked proclivity on the part of new operators to offer substantial discounts to encourage new custom. In addition, most consumers tend to trust proven products and services and this factor also acts as an informal entry barrier for new competitors. In such a situation, the new comers would be well advised to navigate these barriers wisely by taking their consumers into confidence. The new entrants may choose to address instances of buyer scepticism by being transparent about their business model, their sales targets, by actively highlighting product differentiators, by explaining the merits and many attributes of their wares, and by offering ironclad guarantees to replace defective pieces of merchandise. These techniques may help to reassure prospective customers and may set the sceptics at ease, thereby helping the new market entrants to transact business fluently.

Enterprises should invest thought and brainpower into efforts to tackle market sceptics. Every business should view buyer scepticism as a stepping stone to improve and refine the quality of its offerings. The management cadre should critically analyse the root causes of the negative customer sentiments enshrined in scepticism and mistrust. The analysis should take into account all aspects of business operations and thereby arrive at actionable information that can drive the future course of the business. Metrics such as product quality, service delivery, the volume of business per customer, business development, new product development, emerging market requirements, and others should be examined critically. This analysis should help the business to delineate business drivers and to identify pain points that fuel the aforesaid negative sentiments. We must note that this exercise can be deemed priceless because it helps the business to identify its market standing vis-à-vis the competition.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the negative sentiments that can affect the market performance of a business enterprise. We have also examined the means to deal with such sentiments. Every serious business owner and operator must understand that human sentiment tends to be fickle and therefore, needs to be constantly tended and managed in the interests of boosting business outcomes. Every new product or service may not necessarily create a blockbuster performance, but the business enterprise should stay the course. Further, we could say that businesses need to envision the future direction of the enterprise and leverage negative sentiments as a propellant to achieve the said vision. Businesses need to realise that interesting information can be culled when they foster a positive firm wide approach to dealing with negative sentiments. The said information can reveal much more than the services of paid consultants. Therefore, every business must retain a healthy attitude towards buyer scepticism and must confidently deal with issues pertaining to consumer mistrust.

 

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