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Regret Aversion

Imagine this…

It’s been a long, stressful day. You finish up work, close your laptop, and hop in your car to head home.

Your body is ready to unwind, but unfortunately your mind isn’t. 

Immediately it serves you the next task: what’s for dinner?

You’re too tired to cook so you decide to grab takeout on your way home. You call your favorite restaurant and put in your usual order.

The owner asks, “Would you like to add dessert? We baked cherry pie today and have one slice left.”

The question catches you off guard. You weren’t thinking about dessert before they asked, but now you’re struggling to say no. 

After the day you’ve had, a little pie sounds nice… and now that the offer is on the table, you don’t want to regret saying no.

“Yeah, I’ll take some pie,” you reply.

What made you say yes?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re exploring Regret Aversion – why we make choices to avoid regret.

Let’s get into it…

“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

The Psychology of Regret Aversion 🧠

Popular questions like, “What’s your biggest regret in life?” garner millions of views online.

We’re naturally inclined to avoid regrets. Behavior scientists call this ‘Regret Aversion’.

Every time you make a decision, there’s a ‘regret factor’ that you use to figure out which option has the least amount of regret involved.

  • Should you skip dessert or will you regret not having it?
  • Is this product worth the money or will you regret the purchase?
  • Is going to the conference worth it or will you regret spending the money and time?

Your mind uses Regret Aversion to help you stay in line with the crowd (where it’s generally safest).

And you consider and try to avoid regrets with every purchase decision you make.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

As Rory Sutherland explains in The Choice Factory,

“People want to meld with a peer group, not to outdo it, and people are more eager to avoid social embarrassment or regret – including purchase mistakes – than they are to display dominance.”

Your buyers are looking for signs of regret from the *moment* they learn about your brand. 

They’re asking themselves one question:

Will I regret making this purchase or will I regret NOT making it?

Just as much as your buyers are looking for safety in their purchase (i.e, you’ll give them what you promised)—they’re also looking for reasons why passing on your products will cause regret.

Does buying your product push them out of the peer group?

Or, does buying your product push them further into it?

It’s up to you to show buyers what’s at stake if they DON’T take action

As Blake Burge tweeted, there are many unknowns when starting something new. But NOT starting is the most common regret.

How To Apply This 🤑

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

Answer possible objections upfront

Audience research is the key to understanding what makes your buyers hover over the buy button—but decide not to buy. Ask new buyers what almost stopped them from buying and what would make them regret their purchase.

You can also scan your reviews and testimonials for answers. Online reviews from real buyers—yours or your competitors—are a goldmine of insight. Oftentimes buyers will share their pre-purchase hesitations which can help you figure out how to answer objections upfront. 

Not sure how to get what you’re looking for out of reviews? Check out my Review Mining System. I’m offering a flash sale today and you get $15 off.

Offer money-back guarantees

It’s hard for people to know they’ll love your product before seeing it. Physical products might be of lower quality than expected. Digital products may not live up to expectations. We’ve all gotten burned a few too many times and fear making another purchase we’ll regret. 

Offering money-back guarantees prominently, like Four Sigmatic does on their product page, derisks your offer.

Create quick post-purchase wins

People’s biggest hesitation is that your product won’t work as promised. Instead of waiting for them to reap the full benefits of your product—give them a quick win that diminishes that feeling of regret slowly creeping into their mind. That win will make them feel like this product was a great idea and they made the right choice.

iPhones have a sleek setup that integrates users with their new devices through a series of steps that act as quick wins. Every time you complete a step, you get a gamified check that moves you along to the next step—further down the setup process. Instead of wondering if they should have spent the money on the latest iPhone, they spend their time excitedly “playing” with their new toy.

The Short of It 💥

Every purchase comes with the question: 

Will I regret making this purchase or will I regret NOT making it?

Turn your buying journey into the magician that makes your buyer’s hesitations disappear by telling them why they won’t regret the purchase and why they’ll regret NOT making it more. 🪄

Until next time, happy selling.

Pssssttt…

 

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)
  2. *NEW* Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (250+ happy students)
  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

Thank you to our featured sponsors

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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