When I first moved to Hawaii, I was in the post office a couple times a week. Over the course of that time, I developed a friendly relationship with the clerks behind the counter. They would greet me by name and cut-up with me when I approached counter.
Our relationship grew to the point that I would not use a competitive service even if that service was cheaper or faster. But my loyalty was not earned over night. It grew with each encounter.
Psychologist have long known that people express undue liking for people and things merely because they’re familiar with them. This was certainly true with how I felt about the Postal Service and the people who worked there.
Every sales person knows that one of the most difficult objections to overcome is, “I’m using your competitor and I’m happy with her service.” They will tell you this even when they know your product of service is superior and a better value. But why?
Getting people to change is very difficult because they’ve developed “an undue liking for people and things merely because they’re familiar with them.” Truth is, their decision not to change has very little to do with you or the quality of your product or service. Customers won’t change because they’re invested in (familiar with) your competition.
So your goal should be to get a prospect comfortable with you and your product or service before they have the chance to invest their time and energy in your competition. Let me explain.
Offer a free trial and hold their hand
Offering a free 30-day trial is a very common practice among software companies. It can either be an extremely effective marketing technique … or a complete failure.
Imagine that you’re planning to purchase an e-mail marketing program for your business. The software is powerful but complicated. After doing your research, you narrow your decision down to two products.
ABC company offers their service for $30/month with a free 30-day trial. XYZ company offers their service for $50/month with a 30-day trail. But XYZ also provides full technical support that includes training videos, a comprehensive manual and 24/7 telephone and Internet access to a qualified technician during the trial period.
Which service do you think you’re going to try and keep after 30 days?
Knowing that familiarity breeds liking, consider offering your prospects a free trial and actively help them get comfortable with you and your service. Don’t wait for them to call with a question or a problem, contact them first and make sure their experience is positive.
When two products or services are similar, it’s seldom the cost that is the determining factor. It’s familiarity and liking. Help your customers get familiar with your product or service and it will be the difference between winning and loosing them for life.