Some people are good at math.
Some people are good at directions.
My odd mutant power is different. After reading hundreds of thousands of emails from readers, I know after 2 sentences whether they’ll buy or not.
If you’re a business owner wondering which customers to focus on, you’ll want to know who will buy and who won’t.
Today, I share that wisdom with you.
I spent years trying to placate people who asked for all kinds of freebies and exceptions…and they never bought.
I believed people when they said, “Your emails are too long. Can you get to the point??” and I engaged in 26 back-and-forth emails, answering every question…until they admitted they had no money and suddenly disappeared.
And along the way, I learned who the actual buyers are…and who will never buy.
As a business owner, your time is best spent on your very best customers. I’ll show you how to avoid the rest. (Click to Tweet)
People who miss deadlines
What Alejandro is saying: “Sorry I missed the deadline, life got really busy! But I’m ready now, will you please let me in the course?”
What’s really going on: Like an innocent doe, I used to believe people’s reasons for missing deadlines: They were on a flight, they were with family, their house flooded. So I offered them a link to join again for 48 hours.
Not a single person joined. EVER!
It turned out it wasn’t circumstances or bad luck.
It was them.
If you think about going on a first date, people are on their best behavior. If they’re rude or late, that tells you a lot — especially since the first date is where they’re trying their hardest!
Same in business.
People who miss deadlines will also fall behind in courses, then ask for a refund and blame you. Trust me.
Did Alejandro buy: Nope.
People who ask too many questions
What Daniela is saying: “How long does it take to make money? How much energy did they invest? How long does it take to get your first client? What percentage of students ended up making more than $10K from freelancing? Will it work when Mercury is in retrograde?”
What’s really going on: It’s totally understandable to ask questions about a product — especially a premium product.
(I understand this. I spent 2 hours studying YouTube video reviews before buying an iron.)
That’s why we provide hundreds of pages of sample material, case studies, and live webinars — to make sure everybody has the answers they need to make a decision.
After doing about 100 live webinars, I started noticing there were people who would ask question… after question… after question. And each question became increasingly esoteric and obscure. I finally realized what was going on:
The people who asked 1-2 questions were serious buyers. They had specific objections, and once I addressed it, they made a decision. Sample questions included:
- “Does this course cover how to find a job in a new city? I ask because I’m planning to move in 3 months and want to be sure this will help me.” Easy answer. They bought.
- “Does this course include how to set up an email autoresponder? And do you have sample scripts to use?” Another easy answer. They also bought.
- “What if I’m not sure I have an idea? Do you have examples of students who found an idea and turned it into a business?” Yes, we can help with that. This prospect bought.
These are great questions.
Other prospects felt like the program wasn’t right for them, and I totally respect that. The point is, they made a choice and moved on.
On the other hand, there were people who asked 6… 8… 15 questions. These people were window shopping. They wanted the program, but for whatever reason (usually price), they were NEVER going to buy.
A dozen questions later, I’d finally tell them, “No, Sam, this won’t work for left-handed albinos with one foot,” and they’d be like “Aha! See, I knew this wasn’t right for me!”
They felt that they had “won” because they perceive buying something as getting “tricked.” These people are your worst customers — a lesson that took me a long time to learn.
Did Daniela buy? No. They never do.
People who still use a Hotmail address
What Serge is saying: “Can you tell me where I can find more information on this course?” (The link is in the very email he is replying to. And it’s been sent to him multiple times.)
What’s really going on: This is a reactionary email from someone who sees the subject line, realizes he might be interested, and quickly shoots off an email asking for a personal response. Unfortunately, you can immediately tell that he hasn’t read the material that we’ve been sending — and if he joins, he will refund.
In other words, if Serge can’t click the link to read about the course details, how is he going to get through an intensive 8-week course?
This happens with lots of people. But especially Hotmail users.
Trust us on this one. It’s just one of those things. Avoid Hotmail addresses.
Number of people with Hotmail emails trying to buy each month? 41
People who ask for negative reviews
What Robert is saying: “I want to see some unbiased reviews before I purchase. Can you please link me to your negative reviews?”
What’s really going on: Anyone asking for negative reviews will never buy.
Yes, it’s important to look for unbiased reviews (see reviews of our course on Google).
The very best people will look for all reviews — positive and negative — and make a decision.
But people who actively seek examples of failure are looking to validate reasons not to purchase. They will never buy. (Click to Tweet)
Let me get this straight. Before, people complained we didn’t have enough reviews. Now they’re complaining we don’t have enough negative reviews? What is happening here? Am I on planet Earth?
Here’s one fact that might comfort you: Of all the people who wrote to me asking for negative reviews (“I’ve looked online and I can’t find many. Can you share the negative reviews?”), not one has ever purchased.
Did Robert buy? No.
People who want a quick answer
What Matt is saying: “Your sales page is too long! Just tell me — will I be able to make money online with your program?”
What’s really going on: Here we go again. Looking for a quick decision is fine if you’re choosing a pack of gum. But not a multi-thousand-dollar course that will help you launch a business. These are really challenging courses that take a lot of work.
If you have a premium offer, it should take serious consideration for someone to join. You want your prospects to seriously consider your product and all the alternatives. If you truly have the best product in the market, and you’re clear about why, your market will recognize it and join. And they’ll be more committed when they do.
And sometimes, prospects are right. Maybe your emails are too long. We always listen to see if we can improve.
But if you’re attracting high-quality customers and you hear a few prospects telling you that your material is too long, ignore them. They’re looking for shortcuts.
In short, if Matt isn’t interested in our “verbal diarrhea” on the sales page — which has led thousands of others to join and launch online businesses — then this course isn’t right for him.
Did Matt buy? Nope.
People who say “I’m disappointed”
What DH is saying: “I expected you to be different, Ramit! Just another scam. I’m so disappointed in you.”
What’s really going on: OK, let me break this down.
I’ve only been disappointed 2 times in my life.
The first time I was 11. I wanted a Game Boy Color for Christmas and got a coloring book instead.
The second time was with my children. I don’t have any yet, but I can already tell you I’m disappointed with how they’re doing in school.
Listen, you can make a legitimate case that a product isn’t right for you, that the quality isn’t high enough, or that there are better competitors on the market. But why are you “disappointed” in a business?
Would you ever walk into J. Crew, look at a $97 t-shirt, and say, “I’m disappointed in you, J. Crew”? Of course not!
If a non-buyer tells you they’re disappointed, you know they have deeper, underlying emotions they need to resolve. Preferably with professional psychiatric help.
Numbers of readers I disappoint everyday: 32
People who are outraged at your price
What Anna is saying: “You’re charging WHAT for your program? That’s ridiculous!”
What is really going on: I completely understand $2,000 is a lot of money. I remember nervously asking my parents for $800 to pay for an SAT prep course — that was an incredible amount of money for my family in those days.
That’s why we’ve always given away 98% of our material for free.
So that if you need help getting out of debt, we can help — for free.
Or if you want to earn more money, we can help — for free.
We even show you how to start your online business, totally free.
That way, when someone’s ready to take the next step, they have the means to purchase one of our premium programs.
Low quality customers will say your prices are outrageous. That’s fine — they were never going to buy anyway.
By the way, when I recommend these free resources to them, I never hear back. Ever. (I even check back with them a week later.)
High quality customers who can’t afford it today will use the free material… and come back when they’re ready to pay. Others are looking for freebies that they’ll never use.
Did Anna buy? No. Lol
People with different names in their email header and signature
What Amy is saying: “I’d love to join your program but can’t afford it right now. Will you let me in?”
What’s really going on: In one of the oddest findings of human nature, if you use 2 different names in your email header and signature, you will never buy. This has been validated 100% of the time (n=250).
I actually don’t know why this is, but it’s a law of nature.
Did Amy buy? No
Neither has any person — ever — who has a different name in their email “From” name and their signature. Listen, I’m as confused as you are.
The key lesson:
As a business owner, it’s your job to be selective about who you accept into your programs. Customers who miss deadlines, don’t take your material seriously, or act rude will cost you down the line. You’re better off avoiding them altogether.
What’s one type of person we missed? Tell me in the comments one type of person you know will never buy from your business. Can’t wait to read your answers.