Imagine this…

You decide to go to your local coffee shop and treat yourself to a hot drink.

While standing in line, you notice that the shop is now selling a new imported dark roast that costs slightly more than your usual order. It also comes in a special, limited-edition reusable mug. 

When you get to the counter, you ask the barista about the new roast. 

“It’s quickly becoming a customer favorite!” she exclaims. “Everyone is obsessing over the flavor”.

Although you rarely stray from your typical order, you decide to give it a try.

After you’ve ordered, you move off to the side and wait for them to call your name. 

You see the barista making your drink. They artfully pour the coffee into the specialty mug and sprinkle a mixture of cane sugar and vanilla bean on top. 

As soon as they call your name, you grab the drink off the counter and take your first sip…

How does it taste?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Expectations – how to give your customer an experience that they love (without leaving some disappointed).

Let’s get into it…

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The Psychology of Expectations 🧠

Psychologically speaking, our brains are pattern-seeking machines. We develop expectations to help us make sense of and evaluate the world around us.

Expectations are based on our past experiences. But our expectations can change depending on the environment, our mood, or our perception of a product or situation.

The problem with expectations is that when they don’t match up with reality, we’re disappointed.

Case in point:

Embrace delegation

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

Every company wants to “exceed their buyer’s expectations.” Yet oftentimes business leaders don’t really understand what those expectations even are.

Everything about the product, from the packaging to the website copy, will set the expectations in the mind of your buyer.

This is when core assumptions are made regarding how effective the product is going to be, how much your buyer will be willing to pay, and how urgently they need the solution.

Understanding your buyer’s expectations matters… a lot.

If you can meet your customer’s expectations, they’re likely to spend 140% more after a positive experience.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Set clear expectations upfront

Manage expectations by telling buyers how long it will take to get results, set up their new SaaS, or get their product delivered. The bonus of this is that people love real numbers and that can drive conversions.

Instead of saying “lightning fast,” tell buyers exactly how fast. Replace “increase conversions,” with “increase conversions by 5.76%!” Being specific drives trust.

Everydae sets the expectation that customers will ace the SAT if they invest 10 minutes of studying per day.

This clear expectation means that customers can’t get mad that they didn’t ace the SAT if they didn’t put those 10 minutes in per day. It also aligns their product with potential buyers who are eager to ace the SAT and are ecstatic to see that it’ll only take them 10 minutes to pull it off.

Look for opportunities to exceed expectations

Exceeding expectations creates moments of delight. It makes buyers loyal and want to share the experience with peers, friends, and family. Who doesn’t want to have an experience that exceeds expectations? Nobody.

MUD/WTR exceeds expectations by continuing to market to customers after the purchase. They could have just sent the product in a normal FedEx box. Instead, they created a moment of delight.

When customers sign up for a new subscription, they get their MUD/WTR in a sustainable package with cheeky copy and stickers.

This packaging creates a moment of delight and inspiration for customers to share their experience. How much more tempting is it to take a photo of this package and share it on your Instagram story than it would be if it was just a normal package?

Think of unhappy customers as a research opportunity

When buyers are unhappy, it’s often because their expectations weren’t met. Sometimes you made a mistake, but other times the problem is that your customer experience wasn’t aligned with their expectations.

Use cancellation surveys and interviews with lost customers to understand the gap and how you can fix it. It could be as simple as changing your copy, or you could need to rework your positioning or product to avoid disappointing more future buyers.

The Short of It 💥

Setting expectations early and often will help you manage the relationship with your customer. 

Packaging and presentation are key to setting expectations through non-verbal communication.

Be sure your product’s ability exceeds the buyer’s expectations for your specific industry. 

Until next time, happy selling.



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

  1. Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (2000+ happy students)
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  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

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Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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