Why Some Of Your Biggest Fans Won’t Buy From You

Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of the marketing show. I am Clay Collins. And today, we’re going to be talking about the kiss-of-death phrase to your sales, all right? So, the kiss-of-death phrase to your sales is when you get an email, or a blog comment, or a tweet, or something from a perspective customer that says something to the effect of, “I’m going to the same thing right now. I can totally relate with you,” right? “We’re basically the same person.”

So, a lot of times, people blog about things or they write about things in their newsletters that creates a personal connection. And then the person reading it, someone reading it, a prospective customer reads that and says, “Wow, we are so on the same wavelength. I can really feel you. I’m at the same place myself in my business, or with regards to my health, or my finances,” or this, you know, this – whatever – whatever market you’re in, they really feel like you’re basically at the same point that they’re at. And when they feel that, you better, like, you better say goodbye to any money that they will ever give you as a customer. And if they’re writing it, chances are a lot of people are thinking it, but aren’t writing it. And here’s the reason why.

People don’t want to buy from themselves. People want to buy from the 2.0 version of themselves. People don’t want to buy from people with their problems. They want to buy from people who have overcome their problems, right?

So, again, people don’t buy from themselves. Most people inherently have a low self esteem. And what happens is when people are saying to you, in essence, “You’re basically the same person as me. I can so feel where you’re at. This thing you’re struggling with, I’m struggling with it too.” They’re basically putting you in the friend zone. And I think, you know, I can relate to this, a lot of guys can relate to this. When you’re in high school and maybe there’s that cheerleader that you really like, that hot girl that you really like, and she talks to you all the time about her asshole boyfriend who’s really horrible to her. And you really like her and she’s telling you about the problems that she has with guys and asking you for opinions and you become like her counselor. And, oh, she feels so close to you, but like, there’s no chance in hell that if you ever ask her out on a date, she would say, yes. And in fact, if you ask her out, she might say, “Oh, we’re friends, you know. We can’t do that.”

So, people who say things like, you know, “Oh, I can totally understand where you are, like, I really – I’m in the same place myself,” these are people who you will usually find out later on are going to ask you for advice about what products to buy in your market. They don’t want to buy your product. They’re asking you for advice about what other products to buy, not yours. So, you are so hosed when you hear this.

So, how do you get over this? Well, you get over this by not talking about the problems you’re currently having, right? A lot of times, people will share damaging admissions or things that they’re going through as a way to create bonding and to open up to their customer base. And that’s fine, but you want to talk about damaging admissions in your past. If you had a real problem with alcoholism and you almost lost your business as a result of it, don’t talk about it when it’s happening. Talk about it when it happened in the past and talk about how you overcame it, right. If you have a mother with Alzheimer’s, right, and you’re in the Alzheimer’s market where you give advice on that topic and how to be a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, then talk about how you struggled with a parent in the past and how you overcame it, right, because people want to buy from the actualized versions of themselves.

So, when you make damaging admissions, when you talk about things that you overcame, make them things that you overcame in the past, not things you’re struggling with right now. So, I – I just would encourage you not to publicly air those things because you’re going to create this, you know, friend zone affect where people basically feel like they’re you and then they’re never going to buy from you ever, ever, ever, ever again. And maybe once awhile, once a blue moon, they will. But chances of that are pretty well.

So, just to wrap this up, you know, if you hear a phrase like that, you’re, you know, saying goodbye to that customer. You know, it’s kind of like Humphrey Bogart, at the end of Casablanca, and here’s looking at you, kid, you know, you’re never going to see him again. And when you talk about damaging admissions, when you reveal struggles that you’ve had, talk about the ones that happened in the past. Don’t talk about what you’re currently struggling with, with regards to your market and what you’re going through.

Anyway, that wraps is up for this episode of the marketing show. I’m Clay Collins. I’m so glad you’re here. And we’ll speak soon. Take care.

  • You know, just the other day I was worrying a little bit about being years ahead of the curve when it comes to business blogging because I feel like it’s just going over people’s heads and not really reaching them. Needed to hear this, thanks.

    • Dude, I’m really glad. Out of curiosity, how does going over people’s heads and being years ahead (which you are in a lot of ways) have to do with this post?

      How’s Vermont? Is the snow off the ground yet?

      • I have people saying things like “how the hell did you get inside my head”
        but not “I have the same problem as you.” I don’t write about problems when
        I’m in the middle of them, only afterward when I have perspective to bring
        to benefit others. Being ahead of the curve ISN’T really what you were
        talking about but I felt it speak to me in sort of an oblique way.

        Vermont is better than Chicago right now (which is where I am for SOBCon).
        When I get back spring will have busted out in full glory, I’m sure. Now? I
        wish I had brought a thicker coat. 🙂

  • “We’re just friends…” Now THAT was an awesome example. So, so very true.

  • I guess now wouldn’t be the time to admit my daily doobie habit. (kidding!).

    I’m loving these. Thanks, Clay!

  • Jeff Rivera

    This is really good, Clay.

  • Beautifully put! Thanks and yup I’ve done that . . . love your stuff. P.

  • This is dynamite. It’s the first episode I’ve ever watched, but you’re really good at your business Clay. Good looking kid too. 🙂

    This totally goes along the lines of a fairly recent Men With Pens article where James said it’s no fun buying from someone who’s about to go bankrupt. We want to buy into success, not pity.

    Thanks Clay. I’m going to watch more of these.

  • Weeksvaca

    Clay thank you again. can you use black marker on the board as it will show better?

  • Guest

    Thank you for this. 2 questions:
    1. What do you talk about if you’re starting out and you haven’t quite mastered any business challenges worth mentioning? (Or worse, you’re not starting out and you still haven’t solved much)
    2. If you need help mastering these challenges, how do you ask for help, a) without losing business, and b) actually get real help?

  • Ben

    love the analogy 🙂

  • Angeyan

    I have tried various times in 3 different computers to watch your video, but it won’t load properly and keeps stopping and starting? I have used Mozilla Firefox and Internet Exlplorer and neither work? I have also downloaded and installed the latest version of Adobe Flash Player but it still won’t work? I’ve never had this problem with your videos before…..what am I doing wrong?

    Thanks, Angela.

  • Caroline Russell King

    You equate buying a product with “getting a cheerleader! Be ashamed.

    • Nope, I did not. I equated the relationship between a business owner and a potential customer to the relationship between a guy and girl who are friends in high school.

  • G’Day Clay,
    From where I sit this is the best content so far in this series.
    “People don’t want to buy from people with their problems; They want to buy from people who’ve overcome their problems” A bloody gem Clay!

    I run aB2B blog. I’ve known the truth of what you’re saying for a long time. But putting it in those words has given me a raft of ideas that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. Thanks a lot. Of course, as you say, I’ll probably never buy from…………..!

    Make sure you have fun.

    Best Wishes,


  • Clay,

    Another good post and definitely something I’ve been guilty of doing, but one question. You made a throw away remark very quickly and even started to turn away from the camera as you finished it.

    “Most people inherently have low self esteem”

    Where did you get that information from because in my experience it’s simply not true. A LOT Of people have low self esteem, but that is a world of difference from most people having INHERENT self esteem.

    • You’re 100% right. It isn’t inherent. Thanks for bringing this up. Excellent point.