Your 5 Buyers: How To Sell To Bob
Previously, we talked about your 5 buyer types and how each one responds differently to making repeat purchases from you. We’ve covered Amy, and now we’re going to talk about Bob (your second buyer type) and cover when he’s most likely to buy – and why.
What Is Bob Like?
Bob is your second most likely repeat buyer, and as such you want to pay close attention to him when you’re planning your upgrade, upsell and cross-sell offers. He will make you very good money if you keep him safe. Let’s look at what Bob’s thinking in general, and what he’s thinking about when you offer him the option to purchase more from you.
Bob isn’t as confident as Amy. He’s often not confident at all. He can be happy at times, but he tends towards stress and anxiety and doesn’t feel completely in control of his life at any given moment. Because he has so much to think about, he’s a pretty logical fellow, but at the end of the day he buys based on the intensity of his current emotional state.
Risk does not appeal to Bob. He thinks a lot about what could go wrong, and tends towards pessimism. But because he’s still periodically happy (when not under stress), he has a lot of hope for his future. He thinks that someday, things will settle down and be more under control, but he’s not there yet.
Because of that, price is a big issue for him. Spending is a big issue for him. Before he clicks the “buy” button he thinks about whether he’s doing the right thing, because he attaches a lot of meaning to the money he’s spending. Bob needs safety in order to make him buy.
Once Bob buys, his psychology shifts towards hope and anticipation of whatever it is he’s bought. If his initial purchase from you gives him a lot of happiness, future purchases will come a lot more easily, because the risk has decreased significantly. Like Amy, he has potential to be a lifelong customer if treated gently.
Bob needs safety and consistency. He needs to not be surprised, or confused by a complicated offer. The more moving pieces Bob sees, the more doubt that’s in his mind.
Bob likes to feel he got a great deal, because it satisfies his need to protect his resources and justify his buying decision. He’s going to want to be able to say to his spouse, “You’ll never believe that I got X at half price” or “I just saved us $40 on Y.” He wants to see things he couldn’t normally justify become discounted so he can think “I’d be foolish not to take advantage of this offer while it’s so good.”
Like Amy, the act of buying something is something Bob looks forward to – but on a deep level he feels like he doesn’t have permission to buy. He has lower self-esteem and lower personal authority when it comes to believing that other people (or even himself) will think the buying decision was a smart one. That’s why he responds to the no-brainer offers, because he’s thinking “Surely anyone would agree this is a steal.”
Bob asks for a lot of advice. He’s probably a talker. He will go over a potential purchase over and over in his head, out loud to one person — probably a spouse or best friend — and out loud to multiple people. Bob is a majority rules kind of guy. If he doesn’t know what the majority thinks, he’ll try to guess, and his conclusion will probably be “everyone thinks I’m an idiot”.
Bob spends a lot of time thinking about Them — the nameless, faceless other people that he thinks are judging him. In some cases, these are actual people who are actually judging him — an unsupportive spouse, a critical parent, or an unfriendly friend.
What Bob is looking for is a purchase — and by extension, an existence — that nobody can judge him on. If a deal or offer is good enough, then the risk of being judged on it diminishes proportionally.
How Bob Reacts To An Offer
Bob can handle a little bit of urgency, but he does need some time to think. Remember those old infomercials that say you have to buy in the next 38 minutes? This is Bob’s idea of hell. A four day sale is fine because his brain understands that he still has a few more days to think about it. This means he can come to the right decision without wondering if he’s making the wrong decision because he was put on the spot.
A “limited copies” sale would make him throw up, unless the limited number is fairly high. He can’t know how many people have already bought, so he’ll drive himself crazy wondering if he might miss out. He might buy it, but he’ll be so stressed out that he’ll probably never buy again.
Bob needs lots of time to think, so he doesn’t mind when you email him five times about a sale. He knows his brain spins off into crazy directions, and the reminders help keep him focused on actually deciding if he wants this thing or not.
Basically, Bob is happy to see an offer, but just needs the pressure taken off the decision making.
Bob is also pretty social – he will talk about you, your brand, and your offer (if it seems appropriate to do so). So while Bob is statistically less likely than Amy to make a purchase, he’s more likely to be spreading the word about you if he has some good experiences.
What Offers Work For Bob
Point of purchase:
(This is an offer that takes place before any money changes hands.)
Bob enters a purchase process fairly certain of what he’s planning to spend. He is not particularly concerned with what he is ABLE to spend, but spends more time thinking about what he is ALLOWED to spend. He feels like someone in the universe, or the universe itself, says he’s not capable of making wise decisions, so forcing him to make a decision on the spot like this is very stressful to him. It represents a justification or defense he’ll have to make to Them later.
If you make him an offer at this point, make sure it’s very, very reasonable. Bob needs to feel it — and he — is unassailable.
(This is an offer made right after the initial purchase takes place, often but not always in the same session.)
This isn’t a bad spot to make an offer to Bob, because the comfort of knowing the initial purchase has already happened makes him feel a little calmer. He feels he has a little more time to think. The adrenaline of the first purchase has worn off, and he’s more likely to be rational. He will view this transaction as a new and separate decision.
As we mentioned with Amy, this still isn’t a great place to make an offer that’s important to you, because while he’s feeling rational, he’s also probably feeling the physical effects of stress and would now prefer to go do something nice and calm. If you do make him an offer at this point, go with something reasonable but not scary. A one-time-offer here will lead him to panic. He may buy it because he’s worried about missing out, but he’ll come to associate you with stress and it will negatively impact his future sales.
Between purchase and consumption:
(This is an offer made after buying but before receiving or using.)
This is a great place to make an offer to Bob. He’s calm now. As long as you don’t make anything TOO urgent, he feels a lot more capable of making a decision. Enough time has gone by that he’s feeling pretty good about the first decision, so an offer here gives him the opportunity to make another good decision.
Bob doesn’t need an offer here to be too closely tied to the original purchase. Relevant, yes, but it doesn’t have to be too closely tied. A band t-shirt after he’s bought concert tickets would be fine for Bob, because he’s not as linear of a thinker as some of the other customer archetypes. Amy or Daniel might be asking themselves what a t-shirt has to do with anything. Bob doesn’t need to know why. He just needs to figure out if he wants a t-shirt or not.
Something that would work for Bob here: if he’s waiting for the consumption point — his appointment, or for the item to arrive in the mail — you could send him a coupon towards his next purchase. He feels very safe at this point.
At the point of consumption:
(This is an offer made while your buyer is using or consuming whatever they bought first.)
When Bob is at the point of consumption, he is very, very happy. All of his fears about Them have been vanquished. There is nothing left to be afraid of, so an offer here stacks on top of his positive feelings about the original purchase. The tigers have not eaten him, he has not been drawn and quartered, and he has done the right thing. If he opens the box — metaphorically or literally — and there’s a coupon inside, he’s thrilled. This is a bonus to him. If he shows up for an appointment or an event and there’s a special offer that he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, he’s over the moon.
By rewarding him for his original purchase by making him a special offer, you’re doing the opposite of judging him. He is getting something positive in return for making the original scary decision. You’re giving Bob affirmation and respect that he’s not getting from other people or in his own head.
You have just made Bob a very happy man.
(As the name implies, this is an offer that is made after the rest of the stages, from a few days to a few years.)
Bob wants reliability. He is primed to become a very loyal customer. He has so much uncertainty with other relationships in his life that he wants a relationship he can count on. He wants to find someone he can trust. He wants to identify with a brand. He wants to be associated with a larger ethos he could be proud of telling people about.
If your brand treats him with respect, he will love you for life. If you reward him later for number of purchases, or for the length of your business relationship, he feels stronger and stronger. He wants to have positive experiences stack and stack over time, and he wants to feel like his trust in you is earning him something.
Bob is also very appreciative of little touches – a holiday card, a birthday coupon, a handwritten “thank you” card after a major purchase. Bob wants to feel liked and valued as a human being. And if he gets it, he will never want to go anywhere else. He’ll open every newsletter you send, and be 100% forgiving of sales emails for things he’s not interested in buying.
Get Bob on your list, and by God send him communication and offers regularly. When the offer’s the right fit, he will buy.
Examples by Learning Track
(This content is part of the (free!) Same People, More Money course. The course has custom learning tracks for different types of businesses, so let’s take a look at some examples for each.)
Track 1 – Repeat service providers:
These are businesses that have customers who buy from them fairly frequently, like massage therapists, manicurists, and most coaches. Here’s specific advice on how to get Bob to make more (or larger) purchases from you.
Bob loves a package of sessions because he has something to look forward to, and it’s a fixed cost – he knows he’s covered for a while. He also likes packages of products and services related to your initial service when the deal is good enough, because it’s a no-brainer decision if he has to justify it later. Create packages with a logical flow to them, that make sense from the “once you use A, you’ll be ready to use B,” because it’s easier for Bob to justify the path of consumption to Them. “This way I don’t have to make another decision later,” is what Bob is thinking.
Track 2 – Infrequent or one-time service providers:
These are businesses that have customers who buy from them infrequently, such as wedding photographers, astrologers, web designers. Here’s specific advice on how to get Bob to make more (or larger) purchases from you.
Like with Amy, give Bob a chance to buy everything all at once because your service isn’t one that she — or anybody else — will buy frequently. At the same time, he’s more likely to buy an associated product or service later than she is. If you ask “Do you want extra copies of your photo albums for gifts?” and he says no, that’s okay, because he may buy them later when he’s had a chance to think. “Would you like to add a maintenance package, or get some graphics for social media profiles or email templates?” Today, maybe or maybe not, but if he doesn’t buy today, you haven’t lost your chance. Astrologers, keep suggesting, because he might well want that hard copy of his reading later.
He’s also more than happy to refer you to his friends. If he’s on social media, he will click your little buttons, and if you give him a referral template, he’ll probably use it.
Track 3 – Products:
These are businesses that have customers who buy specific items – we’re talking about Etsy crafters, information marketers and catalog sellers for example. Here’s specific advice on how to get Bob to make more (or larger) purchases from you.
Interestingly, Bob is very concerned about an internet session timing out, so use soothing language if you’re going to give him the chance to get a bundle pack or two-for-one. (He’s very likely to get a bundle pack if he has a few minutes to think about it.) He cannot handle time pressure. Remember, he may buy this if you pressure him, but he’ll never buy anything else. He probably won’t buy what he thinks is a frivolous upgrade — like gift wrapping — but he won’t be upset that you offered.
Upgrades that give him the chance to get something he could never otherwise justify at a no-brainer price are a good idea, if they fit your business model. If you’re doing an online class or ebook and give him the chance to buy heavily discounted coaching, he’ll be incredibly excited. “Finally I can afford this,” he’ll say, even if he’s as rich as Midas.
Be nice to Bob.
Now that you know what makes Bob buy, let’s talk about Carol.
We’ll be talking about Carol next – what she’s like, what she’s thinking and what makes her say yes or no to your upgrade, upsell and cross-sell offers. Stay tuned, and start thinking about how you’re going to sell to Bob in the meantime.