We build businesses. Even little ones.

We build businesses.
Even little ones.

Your 5 Buyers: How To Sell To Carol

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 Bob, and now we’re going to talk about Carol (your third buyer type) and cover when she’s most likely to buy – and why.

What is Carol Like?

Carol is basically happy and confident like Amy, but scattered, disorganized and emotional like Bob. (She shares virtually nothing in common with Daniel, but interestingly, the likelihood of her ending up married to him is disproportionately high. Go figure. Second likely is Bob. Amy would probably call Carol a trainwreck and run screaming from the room.)

Carol is probably very attractive to members of both sexes. People tend to find her fascinating and dynamic. She tells lively stories, and she’s comfortable being the center of attention. She’s not necessarily extroverted, but she’s probably not shy. She is least likely of the archetypes to be afraid of public speaking, for example, because as far as she’s concerned, she speaks in public every day.

Carol’s dominant emotional baseline is optimism. She loves possibility. When asked what’s important to her, she will answer with things like joy, fun, adventure, pleasure, comfort, and nice things. She values experiences more than stuff. (Although she really likes nice stuff.)

Carol’s finances are wildly out of control. She pays her bills late but isn’t stressed about it. She’ll pay her cell phone bill precisely when she gets around to it – often because of a bill in a yellow envelope – and is blithely unconcerned with late fees. She has probably never paid a bill on time in her life, whether she has money or not.

She will procrastinate on ANYTHING, even things that she wants. She knows she’s flighty and distractable, and she doesn’t care. She will avoid booking long-planned vacations until the last possible moment for no good reason, even if the money’s sitting right there in her account.

This tendency towards procrastination is largely rooted in her deep sense of security. Other people are afraid something bad might happen, or things might not work out for some reason, so they do things far in advance. This is not a fear for Carol, so she doesn’t get what the big rush is.

She lives in the now. Anything else is an inconvenience. She neither regrets the past nor plans for the future. She waits for the last day of a sale and if she misses out, she says, “Oh, well. I’ll just get it next time.” (She generally doesn’t get “it” next time, because something equally exciting has come up and she’s bought “that” instead.)

Carol is capable of brand loyalty, but it doesn’t happen much. She tends to define herself more by the brands she doesn’t buy than by the brands she does. She is more likely to buy an iPhone because she doesn’t like the Droid than because she has any particular affection for Apple.

Carol generally has a relatively high budget for discretionary purchases. (This, of course, implies that she HAS a budget, which is virtually unheard of for her. But she has that sort-of-kind-of-ballpark budget, and “whatever the hell I feel like” is one of her biggest categories.)

Carol is very easily pleased, so she doesn’t tend to lust over things. This thing might make her really happy, but so will the next thing. She can get temporarily attached, but it passes.

Also? Carol loves, loves, loves to shop.

How Carol Reacts To An Offer

On any given day, Carol is about 40% likely to respond to an upgrade or an upsell. (Amy was around 80%, Bob was around 60%, and Daniel is around 20%.) So compared to the other archetypes, she’s in the lower percentage of likelihood. That’s pretty amazing, when you consider how much she loves to shop.

The odd thing is, she is less likely to upgrade because she loves to shop.

To her, an upgrade or an upsell actually represents a missed opportunity. Carol will say ”If I really want it, I’ll come back.” (This almost never happens unless she’s prompted to do so, by the way.) She WANTS to come back. If she buys more stuff now, she can’t come back another time.

At the same time, Carol does not like to delay her experiences. If she really wants a book, she’d rather drive 45 minutes to Barnes and Noble and buy it at full price right now than order it through Amazon Prime and get it tomorrow morning. “But I don’t WANT it tomorrow morning. I want it now.” (One Carol we spoke with was buying a piece of jewelry for $300. The salesperson suggested she come back the next day, when it would be on sale for half price. Carol was happy to pay full price and didn’t understand why the salesperson was confused. “But I want it today!”)

Because her purchases are very whim based, logical upsells are sometimes confusing to her. “But why would I want that?” If you offer her socks to go with her new shoes, she’ll look at you blankly, as if it was a ridiculous question. She’s not annoyed – she just knows, deep down, that when the spirit moves her to buy socks, she’ll buy socks.

She also doesn’t like buying things she knows she won’t use, and because of how flighty she is, she knows she won’t use much.

Even if there is no good reason NOT to buy something, and the item is physically in her hand, she will still say, “You know what? I’ll buy this later.” (She doesn’t, of course, unless you remind her and catch her on a day when her whim is in your favor.) She will sometimes buy price-based upsells (spend $50 and get free shipping) or 2-for-1 or 3-for-2, but it’s hit and miss.

She will abandon online shopping carts – or even actual, physical stores – the moment the buying process becomes a pain in the ass. Any hoops to jump through and she’s out, no matter how much she wanted the item in the first place. She is rarely attached enough to a potential purchase to go through situational inconvenience or discomfort in order to get it. She has better things to do. [tosses her hands up in annoyance] “Ugh! I didn’t want it that badly anyway!”

Every Carol has two or three areas in which she will grossly overbuy and respond to every conceivable upsell, upgrade or cross-sell. (For women, make-up, craft supplies, and shoes are common. For men, electronics and stuff for the house, workshop, office or garage. For either gender, books and music are popular.) This is what makes up her 40%. If it weren’t for these areas, she probably wouldn’t be upsold at all.

What Offers Work For Carol

Point of purchase:
(This is an offer that takes place before any money changes hands.)

This is the most likely place Carol will buy more stuff. She’ll say yes to avoid putting thought into it. Thinking requires effort. (This is unlike Daniel, for whom thinking causes pain, or Bob, who feels external pressure.) She’s still in the fun part of the commerce process, so she’s more likely to respond here than anywhere else. This is a good place to offer her 2-for-1 promotions, bundles, or “if you buy $X more, you can get [whatever]”. She’s unlikely to want your [whatever], but she might do it anyway.

Immediately post-purchase:
(This is an offer made right after the initial purchase takes place, often but not always in the same session.)

You have no hope for Carol here. NONE. She finds the actual buying transaction boring, administrative, and banal. If she is married or has older children, she may have actually already left the store – she’s quite happy to swipe her card and simply leave, making her spouse or kid handle the rest. You could give her a coupon for her next purchase, though, if you wanted. It couldn’t hurt. (Don’t make it time sensitive, though. She’ll find it four months after it expires.)

If you’re making the offer via email after an online transaction, you can safely assume Carol will never read it. “Bo-ring!”

Between purchase and consumption:
(This is an offer made after buying but before receiving or using.)

Carol will buy here if she thinks it will improve her experience, and the experience is coming soon. (You know when you’re taking a flight in a few days and you get an email offering you an upgrade to premium economy? They’re writing to Carol.) Carol will always buy to make an experience better. This isn’t a terrible place to do it, but do it as close to consumption as you possibly can. Carol does not plan or think too hard about the future, so an upgrade offer the day after the purchase but six weeks from consumption will be completely ignored.

At the point of consumption:
(This is an offer made while your buyer is using or consuming whatever they bought first.)

You’ve got a pretty good shot here. If she’s reading your ebook and there’s a coupon in there for the next ebook, she’s not unlikely to buy. She will add dessert to dinner. She will buy a lot of gift prints from a photographer. As long as it doesn’t require too much thinking or planning ahead, your odds aren’t bad.

At this point, offers of value are not going to work for Carol. She buys more (or better) to make the experience better. Dessert makes the dinner experience better. Gift prints help her share the photograph experience. Saving money matters not a whit here. She simply doesn’t care.

Later:
(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.)

Carol is more likely to be a repeat buyer than an after-the-fact upsell buyer. That sounds like a semantic difference, but she’s more likely to want something new and completely different than an extension of something she already has. (She’s the one waiting for the Spring Collection.)

If you were selling classes, Carol would be more interested in buying a totally new class of yours than the intermediate version of the beginner class she already took. She’ll never really mind you offering the intermediate version, but she’s looking for brand new experiences to satisfy her need for novelty and possibility.

If you’re selling a normal “later” upgrade or upsell to Carol, include a link to the rest of your catalog. She’ll see your email suggesting the first thing and not want it, but she may well want something else. Make sure she’s on some sort of physical mailing or email list and seeing a variety of offers.

Something’ll stick – you just don’t know what.

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 Carol to make more (or larger) purchases from you.

Carol could conceivably buy a package of sessions, such as 6 massage appointments for the price of 5, but only if it’s something she knows for a fact she’s going to be using. Remember she’s not in the habit of following through on using things. So selling her a package of something that’s routine for her is a more likely winner than selling her on things she’s not sure of.

She could also buy upgrades related to your initial service if it truly enhances her experience and takes the thinking out of the process. If Carol’s manicurist gives her the option to pay $X to get a year’s worth of an upgraded service, she might buy, especially if the upgrade is one of those things she waffles on with each visit, saying “Should I or shouldn’t I?”

She’ll also frequently upgrade (or let herself be upsold) on novelty items. She’ll pay extra for a Red, White and Blue manicure in the week leading up to July 4, just because it’s fun.

If Carol is married, she will almost never do the shopping for non-fun items, so if you’re selling something boring, you probably won’t see Carol in the first place, let alone upgrade her.

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 Carol to make more (or larger) purchases from you.

Infrequent or one-time service providers have the best chance of upgrading Carol because you’re more likely to sell something that has experiential value. She doesn’t like to think, and will often buy the best available package, simply so she’ll never have to put any thought into it. Upgrade her at the point of purchase, and make it simple.

She’s more likely to buy the larger pack of portraits because she likes giving gifts and the opportunity to give triggers the same thrill as the opportunity to buy. (She’s also a good candidate for small upgrades here like picture frames or shipping right to Grandma’s house, because again, she doesn’t like thinking about this stuff.)

If you have a silver, gold and platinum package, the odds are good that Carol will buy platinum on principle. She can’t handle convoluted package offerings, though, so make it very obvious which is the biggest package. She’ll often choose it without even reading the list of what’s in it.

She’s also a good candidate for “done for you” packages of services, because that means she doesn’t have to think or communicate or decide anything, ever.

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 Carol to make more (or larger) purchases from you.

Carol is a crap shoot for products. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. She does like to buy sets, bundles, and kits so she can buy everything at once, but she’s not generally financially motivated here. If she responds, it’s a convenience thing. She does like having her decisions made for her, so if you create a “4 for $24” or whatever, she’ll see that as an easy way to avoid deciding how many of something to buy.

She will respond to time-sensitivity – she’s trained herself to do this because she procrastinates so much – but she rarely feels panic or urgency. (If she does feel something’s urgent, it’s because SHE said it was, not because you did.)

She may go for upgrades like gift wrapping or expedited shipping, and she’ll often upgrade to a better version of something, like the platinum version or package. But you can never really know for sure – with Carol, you make the offer and you hope for the best.

Now that you know what makes Carol buy, let’s talk about Daniel.

We’ll be talking about Daniel next – what he’s like, what he’s thinking and what makes him 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 Carol in the meantime.


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