Marketers are traditionally entrusted with the job of communicating a product’s values and benefits to the customers. ‘Deselling’ is the process of communicating the opposite – letting the customer know why they should not buy your product. It may appear counter-intuitive, but deselling is an important component of earning customer trust.
How To Desell
Deselling does not necessarily mean dissuading the customer actively from buying your product. Rather, a proper deselling campaign helps the customer view your marketing platform as a neutral medium to arrive at a purchasing decision. In other words, they do not have to resort to a third party to understand the limitations of your product.
The two most commonly used deselling strategies are reviews and pro/con lists. Reviews are mostly used in service industries where customers are more interested in the neutral or negative experiences rather than glowing positive ones for decision making. Yelp is a popular platform for deselling. Businesses advertising on the Yelp platform know for a fact that the website visitors clicking on their ads are quite likely to read the negative reviews as well. However, a neutral review platfom combined with a friendly support team that responds to each of these reviews helps the business desell the product while earning customer trust.
Pro/Con lists are more effective on a business landing page. This is especially true for high competition industries like mortgage, insurance or healthcare. Businesses in these segments are stereotyped as pushy and aggressive in their marketing campaign. A service provider in such an industry could thus instantly earn customer trust and loyalty by spelling out the limitations of their product. Take Fundera for example. This short term loan provider clearly states on their sales page that while people with bad credit can avail loans from them, such loans are also more expensive and can be tough for businesses with sporadic revenue. To a customer, such a list clearly differentiates the product from alternatives that only extol the virtues without spelling out the negatives.
There are several benefits with deselling your product or service to your customers.
Sets Expectations Right: The first and foremost benefit of deselling is that it helps set the right expectations. Customers who buy your product or service or not misled in any way during the decision making process and hence absolutely know what’s in store for them.
Reduces Product Complaints: A direct consequence of setting the right expectations is that it reduces the incidences of complaints regarding the products from customers. In effect, this also brings down the number of complaints and product returns. This improves your overhead and helps improve your business bottom-line.
Communicates Brand Honesty: Transparency and honesty are traits that can help any business earn customer trust and loyalty. Deselling a product with its limitations contributes towards exactly this.
Makes Other Product Claims More Legitimate: One of the more understated benefits of underselling is that it makes your other claims more legitimate. Customers tend to take the claims from a business that desells its products a lot more seriously than they do otherwise. This can go a long way in establishing your credibility, authority and trust.
Stating the limitations of your products can be a risky bet. A competitor that offers something that you do not could grab this opportunity to tell customers why they are better. It is hence obvious that deselling may not work in all cases. But in industries where limitations are universal, deselling goes a long way in being transparent and credible in front of your potential customers.