Which customers want to spend lots of money with you? A 10-point checklist.

By Andrew McDermott Analysis, How To

“No thanks, I don’t want it.” I said, feeling annoyed.

“Are you sure? We actually have some exciting discounts available for you today.”

I sighed and repeated myself. “No, I really don’t want it.”

“Well what about if I threw in –“


My internet provider decided they wanted me to sign-up for cable TV and they weren’t taking no for an answer.

It didn’t matter that I used services like Netflix or Hulu. It didn’t matter that I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV. And it didn’t matter that I wasn’t interested. They were and that’s all that mattered.

Which is exactly the kind of situation smart business owners try to avoid. Even if my internet provider managed to browbeat me into buying, it would end up being a bad deal for them. I’d end up paying for a service I didn’t want or value. So buyer’s remorse and customer resentment would be high.

That’s bad because remorse and resentment leads to refunds and refusals to buy

So if you’re in business, that’s probably not what you want. If I had to guess, I’d say you probably want more customers, profit and growth. You’d want to acheive the things that prompted you to start a business in the first place. But to do that you’ll need customers. And you’ll need them to buy frequently.

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But which customers want to spend more?

Customers aren’t always comfortable telling you what they want or need. Often times they don’t even know what they want or need. They may know they have a problem or a question, yet not know how to address it. They may not even know which questions to ask.

Which means you’ll need to speak the same language to have a chance at helping them

Identifying the customers that want to spend more money with you doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to know what you’re looking for.

Here’s a 10 point checklist you can use to find upsell opportunities.

1 They ask lots of questions.

When customers ask lots of questions there’s a clear deficit. Sure you have information they want but the real issue occurs when there are holes in areas where they should or need to be informed. Which is pretty common if you’re a first time or inexperienced buyer.

Think about the first time you bought a car. You probably had lots of questions before, during and after the sale. The whole process may have been a lot to take in. Yet, slowly but surely you sorted things out. Most of us aren’t experts when it comes to buying a car, but we know enough to ask questions and/or take someone along. But when you’re new, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Why would they want to spend more?

Customers with lots of questions usually realize they’re not in-the-know. Often times they’ve asked questions because they want to be fully aware of the decision they’re making. They don’t want to make a mistake and they don’t want to get burned.

Answering their questions shows that you’re in-the-know. Suggesting questions gives you the chance to position yourself as the expert in their mind.

2 They’re lost or confused.

Customers get lost. Sometimes they’re confused. They could be inexperienced or simply overwhelmed. They’re not sure about what’s going on or the questions they should ask. When this happens, it feels as if they’re cut off from the help and support they need. What they need at this stage is direction, simplicity and clarity.

Why would they want to spend more?

Showing them you can guide them through the fog of confusion gives them relief. It eases their anxiety, especially if you’re able to show that what you’re offering will give them clarity. Tie that clarity in with a benefit and you’ve given them a clear incentive to buy.

3 They’re doing it wrong.

It’s uncomfortable hearing the words “you’re doing it wrong”. No one wants to hear that we’re making a mistake or failing in some way. Yet that’s exactly when customers need to hear it. Customers come to you for guidance, they count on you for protection. Standing by as they make a fool of themselves and mess things up would be the opposite.

Why would they want to spend more?

There’s certainly a right way and a wrong way to say you’re doing it wrong. When you do it the right way you give customers a chance to fix the problem and save face. You’ll prevent a financial disaster and preserve their dignity, simultaneously increasing their trust and confidence in you as a result.

4 They’re not sure if they’re doing it right.

The easy fix would be to let customers know they’re doing things right. What that doesn’t do is explain why they were unsure in the first place. Do a little digging and you may discover a solution to problems your customers have but are unaware of.

Why would they want to spend more?

Usually there’s a good reason for our doubt. Sometimes it means we don’t have a good foundation in place. Other times it points to an unresolved objection. Or a problem that hasn’t been solved. Finding the answer gives us an opportunity to relieve customer doubts. Once they’re resolved it’s easy for customers to move on.

5 They’re making a mistake.

Making a mistake doesn’t automatically mean someone is doing something wrong. Take buying a car for example. It’s certainly not wrong to buy a car but there are plenty of other variables that can indicate the decision is a mistake. It may not be what you need. It could be the wrong time or the wrong car. A decision that was once a mistake can suddenly be a great decision when the variables have changed.

Giving customers as much information as you can helps them make good decisions. Giving them more facts and information (versus opinion) means they’re able to make better decisions.

Why would they want to spend more?

Saving your customers time, money or resources is a strong incentive for them to buy. Helping customers avoid costly mistakes shows them you’re capable and trustworthy (especially if the problem caught them off guard). They can count on you to do what’s best for them.

6They’re afraid.

Insurance, warranties and protection plans are all based on our fear of the unknown. There’s always the possibility that things can go wrong so these kinds of products give customers peace of mind. Risk reversals also help to relieve customer fears, which is big deal for most of us.

Why would they want to spend more?

If customers are afraid something will go wrong there’s a good chance they’re willing to pay for the peace of mind they need. And that makes sense because in most cases you’ll be the watchman. You’ll be your customer’s lookout and you’ll be responsible for making things right in the event that something does go wrong.

7 They’re disinterested.

Disinterest can be an indicator of awareness. Sometimes customers are uninterested in things that need their attention. A lack of interest can indicate customers don’t fully understand what they’re putting off. This can be a problem if they need to work on things they don’t particularly care about. Which is where you come in. Disinterest comes with consequences. It’s your responsibility to show them that.

Why would they want to spend more?

You’ll need to show customers that the issues they’re not interested in are worthy of their attention. If you’re able to do that, it’s easier to present the solution to each of your customers. Once customers understand how the issues in question affect them and they see that you already have the solution, they’ll be ready to move forward.

8 They don’t have time.

Many customers don’t have the time to deal with the issues you face on a daily basis. They could be shortstaffed, lacking expertise, or simply short on time. Whatever the reason, they’re unable to invest the time they need to get the results they want.

Why would they want to spend more?

They need results but they don’t have the time. You have the time, expertise and ability required to solve their problem. Customers that tell you to “Just take care of it” are giving you a telltale sign you’re dealing with someone who’s short on time. These customers are open. Repeat business is fairly straightforward once you’ve earned their trust.

9 They need results quickly

I need to lose 15 lbs. by March 1st in time for my sister’s wedding.
I need to finish this project before school starts in August.
We need this software update pushed out in time for next month’s trade show.

The common theme with each of these examples is time. Customers that need things done in a specific timeframe need lots of support. They want lots of updates and as much help as possible to avoid missing any important deadlines.

Why would they want to spend more?

Pressure creates incentive, forcing customers to get things done quickly or suffer the consequences. Those that procrastinate may come to you with a disaster hoping for a miracle. These customers need you to look out for them. Be proactive, mention accessories and resources they’ll need and do your best to make it happen.

10 They ask for more.

It could be more products, services or simply more of your time. The basic gist here is that customers are asking you to help them solve more problems. This seems like an easy sale right?

Not so fast.

When customers specifically ask for more it’s a good idea to investigate. Are they asking for something they don’t need? What problem are they looking to solve? Is what they’re asking for really the best solution to their problem?

It seems counterintuitive but it’s an important step to take. It protects your customer from any expensive mistakes and forces you to focus on their needs.

If you’ve done all that and you see that what they’re asking for make sense it’s a no-brainer. Do what needs to be done to help them.

Why would they want to spend more?

If they’re asking for your help it probably means you’ve done something right. They trust you and they feel you can help them. Focus on their problems and their needs.

But customers don’t want to spend more!

They also don’t want another product, service, payment plan, or subscription. What they want is the result. Their problems create stress and anxiety. The solution (or result) you’re offering relieves their stress and anxiety.

Your approach will depend on you, your customer and your industry. But customers won’t want to pay for something they’re used to getting for free. All the more reason to maintain the value of your product or service and price it accordingly.

Hold on, aren’t we squeezing customers for more money?

You don’t actually have to charge for everything. There’s a big difference between seeing opportunity and taking it. The goal should be to add more value than you’re being paid.

Want repeat sales? You don’t need to harass customers to get it

My internet service provider continues to harass me. They pester me with offers I don’t want. Fortunately you don’t have to make the same mistakes. You just need to learn the language. Use our checklist and listening becomes easier. You’ll see that customers are ready and willing to spend more.

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