How To Deal With Customers ‘On The Fence’


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As business owners, you may often come across highly targeted leads who ask you a lot of questions and engage with your product, but ultimately fail to buy. Such customers ‘on the fence’ are sometimes quite difficult to convert and if you are a low margin business, it is often recommended that you avoid spending resources to convert these customers. This is because you tend to lose money acquiring these customers. There are however a number of ways you could reduce the friction of engagement with these prospects and convert them into customers. In this article, we will take a look at some of these strategies.

Let prospects use your product before they buy

Software piracy is a major problem around the world and no company has had it worse than Microsoft Corporation, the makers of the ubiquitous Windows operating system and the MS Office suite of productivity software. This is especially true in the developing world where the lack of law enforcement made it extremely easy for users to acquire pirated versions of Microsoft products. So what did Microsoft do about them? Nothing. The company had realized early on that a pirated version of its software was not essentially a lost sale. So although Microsoft did talk tough on piracy in public forums, it secretly let users in these developing countries continue to use pirated versions in the hope that when these users did buy software eventually, they would buy Microsoft products. The company now regularly runs sales campaigns targeting software pirates and today, these users are a source of income to Microsoft.

Reduce friction to sales call

It is easy to spot customers on the fence at a brick and mortar store. These customers can then be targeted with a quick sales pitch to make them convert. This is unfortunately not possible on an online medium where you may not realize a lost sale unless the customer actually leaves your website. There are several ways to get these hesitant buyers interested in your sales pitch. One way to do it is by providing a callback option. This is quite common among mortgage and insurance companies where customers do not always fill out the lengthy application forms. By placing a ‘call back’ button prominently on the website, these businesses get prospects on the fence to leave their details quickly and they may now be converted by a human representative. There are also other ways to reduce friction by identifying website visitors who attempt to exit at the payment page and providing them exclusive discounts.

Use past experience to convince customers

Sometimes, merely letting users access to your products or reducing friction in reach out alone may not be sufficient to convert leads on the fence. A primary reason why many such prospects do not convert is an inherent lack of trust in your business or your products. According to Sam Ovens, the owner of an eLearning company for consultants, the trick is to provide your customers with all the details about your product or business that will humanize your service and make it more relatable to your prospects.

Not all these strategies may apply to all kinds of businesses. Ultimately, it is a question of understanding your customers better to know why some convert and others stay on the fence. This market research would help you devise specific strategies that will work for your customers.


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