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Get Easier Sales & Happier Customers By Addressing Unspoken Worries



Listen to the audio version. 👆

 

When customers are looking to hire a service, there are a lot of things they’re considering.


They may look at availability, social proof, before/after pictures, and of course - price.


But there’s another type of assessment happening, too.


What they're trying to figure out is - should I be worried?


WHY IT MATTERS:

When customers or clients are worried, they’re less likely to buy. If they do buy without their worries being addressed, they're more likely to ask for a refund or to cancel.


WHAT’S NEXT:

  • Unspoken customer worries

  • When customers are worried

  • Figure out what customers worried about

  • Get ahead of customer worries


Unspoken customer worries

In an effort to maintain control and protect ourselves, our brains like to play the what-if game and mitigate risks - whether real or perceived.


The less we know about what’s happening and possible outcomes, the more our brains become like M Night Shyamalan. We fill in the information gaps, and for some reason, that includes aliens, imaginary monsters, and discovering that we see dead people.


You may be aware of worries about concrete things like your process, but there are also deeper, more emotional worries that often don’t get addressed. Those unspoken worries can make or break a sale or customer experience.


When customers are worried

You may have heard of stages like -

  • Problem unaware

  • Problem aware

  • Solution aware

  • and Product Aware


Typically, you’ll see stages like these in marketing plans. They’re all trying to accomplish the same thing— to help you understand what a customer is doing, thinking, and feeling during each stage of their buying journey.


Marketing and customer experience are tightly intertwined. How someone engages with your marketing is part of their experience with you. The customer’s experience leading up to the service, the delivery of the service, and after the service contribute to your marketing.


Because of that and other benefits, I’m a fan of customer journey mapping. You’ll often see journey mapping for 3-6 stages. But for service offerings, I prefer to break down their journey a little more.



Customer journey mapping stages for services. Goes from first thought, passive looking, breaking point/the final straw, active looking, deciding, before service, during service, after service, ongoing use, and loyalty


This more microscopic consideration of the customer journey makes it easier to understand your customer’s needs, wants, and worries.


And let me tell you—when you give a customer something before they know they need it, it makes you feel like you just pulled a rabbit out of a hat. You knew the rabbit was there, but seeing the audience’s amazement is so much fun.


It also builds an insane amount of trust.


Customers have some degree of worry at every stage, but there are four hot spot stages:

  • Active looking

  • Deciding

  • Before service

  • During service


A bell curve showing that the feelings increase the closer you get to the date of service, and lessen after that.
Big feelings creep up the closer it gets to the day of service, peaking before the service starts, and falling after.

😬 Active Looking

This is the stage after the “final straw” moment. The customer has decided they have to solve their problem. There’s a sense of urgency to it, and they’re actively looking to get it fixed. They’re now looking at options based on their current situation.


Customers are in a more logical mindset here. They’re looking at things they can easily understand and compare.

SERVICE

EXAMPLE WORRY WHEN

ACTIVE LOOKING

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Housekeeper

Will they clean a house as crazy as mine?

On your website or any other collateral, detail what you do and don’t do. For example, do you pick up kids' toys, put dishes into the dishwasher, and run it?

Tutor

Have they helped students in X subject go from failing to an A?

Sharing relatable customer stories that highlight and solve their concern.

Professional organizer

Do they help people specifically like me? (ADHD, OCD, hoarder, single parent with X kids, or recently lost a spouse)

Write articles/create videos about organizing when managing a specific situation to highlight why organizing is different for that situation and how you change your approach.


😨 Deciding

In the deciding stage, customers have narrowed down their choice between service providers or offerings with a single service provider.


Now, it’s getting serious, and a little bit of anxiety may start to creep in. The emotional side of their brain plays a bigger role.


They may not consciously be aware of it, but their fears are influencing their decision. They’re on the fence, and a gust of wind can push them to either side of it.


Once they decide, they’ll justify their decision with features and benefits.


SERVICE

EXAMPLE WORRY WHEN DECIDING

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Housekeeper

Are they going to judge me because my house is crazy?

Be clear that you do not judge and that everything is 100% confidential.

Tutor

Will they be able to teach me in a way I’ll understand?

Share your tutoring method and how you adapt based on student needs. Give examples if possible.

Professional organizer

Are they going to make me throw away/store all of my stuff?

In business collateral and during sales conversations, highlight how you handle excess items where appropriate.


DIG DEEPER

After they say yes and pay, customers tend to enter into post-decision panic mode.


Did I make the right decision?

Will this solve my problem?

Maybe I shouldn’t have spent that much money.

What will X person think?


Help calm their minds and reconfirm that they’ve made a good decision.


This might be sending a personal welcome video, a welcome package, or a follow-up explaining everything they’re getting and what it will do for them.


😱 Before Service

Anticipation can feel wonderful.


Before a vacation, you dream about what you’ll do and how awesome it’ll be. The anticipation creates more happiness than the vacation itself.


On the other hand, it can be awful for the exact same reason.


If we don’t know what will happen, when, how, and with whom, we tend to make up stories to fill in the gaps.


Before your service is delivered, be extra communicative about what to expect and speak to their concerns.


Don’t let them create stories about your service. That won’t do them or you any favors.


RABBIT HOLE

 Check out this study to learn more about why people enjoy planning a vacation more than the vacation itself.


SERVICE

EXAMPLE WORRY BEFORE SERVICE

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Housekeeper

I need to clean up before they come over.

Send a “prep for your cleaning” message if there are things that you’d like them to do beforehand. Or, if nothing needs to be done, a simple “Your cleaning is scheduled for X. Don’t worry about pre-cleaning."

Tutor

I don’t know what happens during a session.

Send a “what to expect” video or email before their first session.

Professional organizer

Should I pre-sort/organize before they come, so they don’t think I’m a total mess?

Include a FAQ sheet as part of their welcome packet that addresses this concern.


🫣 During Service

Once the service is underway, the stress of anticipating the service lessens.


While customers may not be as worried as they were before your service, they may still have some worries that they’re managing that you can help with.


The longer and more detailed your service is, the more potential worries your customers may have.

SERVICE

EXAMPLE WORRY DURING SERVICE

POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Housekeeper

They’re totally frustrated at how much work my house is.

Be thoughtful in the language you use when communicating cleaning needs, and avoid judgmental language and tones.

Tutor

I got the answer wrong/didn’t do well on a test. They think I’m dumb.

At the end of each session, end warmly and highlight what’s going well.

Professional organizer

I don’t think what they’re doing is going to work for me, but I don’t want to upset them.

Frequently check in with a scaling question like, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not a chance in Hell or 10 being easy peasy, how do you feel like this would work for you even on your hardest day?” Scaling questions allow room to dig further into their answers and don’t feel so confrontational.


Figure out what customers are worried about

You can’t address what you don’t know, but it’s not easy to get customers to share their worries with you, especially when they may not recognize them, either.


Figuring out what your customers worry about is something you’ll always keep your eyes and ears open for. You can conduct intense research, but you’ll continue to collect data as it arises.


I’ll share a few ideas below. Pick one or two to try out.


Do a round of customer interviews.

I like the Jobs To Be Done approach. (This is one of the things I help my clients do.)


Search Online

Check Reddit and Facebook groups where your type of customer is likely to be.


Search for your service, variations of your service, specific problems your service solves, etc.


You can also check other online forums and article comments.


You can also check the comments on social media pages and profiles that speak to your services.


Check competitor reviews

If your competitor has Facebook, Yelp, or Google reviews, look at the 3—and 4-star reviews to see what you can learn from them.


You can also look at services that share your ideal customer type. They may not offer the same service, but they still may offer great insight.


Review emails and past communications

Look back to old emails and your own reviews. Look at any complaints, troubleshooting, and people who asked for refunds or canceled to see what worries you may have missed.


Set Google Alerts

Google Alerts will send you emails when a keyword pops up online. You can add alerts for your business name, competitor business names, or based on your services.


Ask

You can ask potential customers, “What worries do you have about getting X service?”


Sometimes, just asking and making a potential customer comfortable can get them to open up.


With existing customers, you can ask, “What worries do you think someone may have when getting X service?”


Asking an existing customer to think about it from another person’s point of view makes it easier for them to answer because now they’re in an advisory role, which doesn’t feel so confrontational.


Follow the behavior & investigate

Pay attention to where someone all of a sudden hesitates or is less communicative than they were before. The change could be unrelated, but it’s worth exploring in case you can address concerns.


Get ahead of customer worries

Communication and empathy are what will dampen your customers’ worries. You’ll sprinkle both generously throughout their journey with you.


How you utilize communication and empathy will depend on your service, but here are a few ideas to get your idea factory churning:


  • Customer-centered policies

  • A guarantee

  • Customer stories that are just like them

  • FAQs that address more than features & your process

  • An easy-to-follow timeline of what happens and when

  • Updates throughout the process

  • Providing opportunities to share worries

  • Social media posts that directly address concerns

  • Your website copy can address typical concerns

  • When they do bring up a concern, take it seriously and without judgment


Focus on the big things

There isn’t a time when customers don’t have some level of concern or worry.


You won’t be able to solve every single worry. Focus on the biggest things that are within your control.


When in doubt, focus on listening well, show that you’re interested, and treat your customers with warmth and patience.



THE TAKEAWAY

Customers buy not only based on price, availability, and skill but also on how their unspoken worries are addressed.


If you can keep their worries minimized, they’re more likely to buy your service, be easier to work with, and more likely to keep coming back.

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