Do your clients experience buyer's remorse? You can count on itArticle added by Steve Lewit on June 5, 2012

Steve Lewit

Buffalo Grove, IL

Joined: February 27, 2008

My Company

In my experience, most financial professionals are poorly prepared to deal with buyer’s remorse. They are often blindsided and, even if they aren’t,their responses are either too offensive or too defensive.

Everyone has buyer’s remorse — you, me and all of your clients.

While you’re celebrating your sale, your clients are driving home in their car, asking each other if they did the right thing. The larger the purchase, the bigger the doubt; the bigger the doubt, the deeper the remorse. If the remorse is deep enough, it motivates people into cancellation mode. That’s when you get the most feared phone message ever:

“Uh, Steve, uh, well, hmmm, Martha and I have been thinking about this and, you know, well, we’re really not sure we did the right thing and need to think about it a little more. So, could you just put that paperwork on hold and we’ll get back to you?”

I’ve never met a client who can’t wait to make a change. Clients just don’t like to change, even when it’s really good for them. Yes, they want to relieve the pain of the problem they are trying to solve, but sometimes their doubt causes more pain than their problem. That’s when they make the call to cancel. The fear of making a mistake often has more power than the relief that comes from potentially solving a problem.

If you think about it, all this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Doubt is a natural, human reaction to change. So, our job as financial professionals is to understand human nature and not get blindsided by it. In fact, I use that same human nature to solidify my sales and the decisions that brought the sale to fruition.

In my experience, most financial professionals are poorly prepared to deal with buyer’s remorse. They are often blindsided and, even if they aren’t,their responses are either too offensive or too defensive. Moreover, the best strategy is to diffuse buyer’s remorse before it even happens.

Here are the steps that I use in my sales to make sure that I have no fear of listening to my phone messages each day.

Diffusing buyer’s remorse

I focus on diffusing landmines (objections) before they happen. So, I bring up landmines before my clients do. This robs their objection of its power and strengthens my position and the position of the sale itself.

Your first buyer’s remorse strategy — give back the apps

Once all the apps are signed, I actually try to undo the sale by saying something like this:

“Bob and Sue, I appreciate your business and even more than that, I appreciate your trust. However, I’ve got this thought circling around in my head that I’d like to share with you. When you leave my office and are driving home in your car, you’re going to look at each other and ask if you did the right thing. All kinds of doubts are going to creep in. It’s just human nature. Now, when we were talking about your plan earlier, you said that you were unhappy with (you choose something, e.g. surrender charges, length of contract, caps etc.).
Now, Bob and Sue, as I said, I really appreciate your business, but I’ve been thinking here that I just don’t want to take your applications if those surrender charges are still an issue. Quite frankly, I’d rather give you these back right now (pick them up and move them in your client’s direction) than have you call me tomorrow and leave a message on my machine that you’ve had second thoughts.

So, Bob and Sue, do I have to worry about getting a call like that or have I just got this thought circling around that I can let go of?”

Now that you’ve raised the landmine of buyer’s remorse first, your clients will have no other choice than to either agree with you and cancel right there, or defend their decision and convince you that they will not cancel (which means that you’ve reversed the roles of who’s selling who — now they are selling you on the fact that they will not cancel). If they convince you that the sale is solid, then it will be. In that case, you will have no fear when you pick up your messages in the morning.

Raising the issue of buyer’s remorse will create an uncomfortable moment for both you and your client. The fact is that it should be uncomfortable.

From your point of view, you just have to live with the discomfort, knowing that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your client. From your client’s point of view, there will be surprise that you are even talking about cancelling. You need to understand that that surprise is what causes your client’s discomfort, but it also causes them to tell you the truth about their feelings.

In this case, and with all other landmines, the discomfort caused by your bringing up the issue first creates a win–win for you and your client.


Selling is all about understanding human nature — your nature and your client’s nature. When you, as a financial and selling professional, understand human nature, it is possible to diffuse issues and landmines by seeing them and bringing them up before they explode right in front of you. Buyer’s remorse is one of those landmines that is often left hidden in the ground — a high-risk selling error that can be easily handled.

Suppose, however, that your clients tell you that they are okay but they still send a cancellation message your way. What do you do? That’s the subject of part two of this series. See you all then.
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