3 Things Stopping Your Customer From Buying From You

Let’s start with a simple intention statement: selling is about shifting a customer’s level of certainty. That’s it.

In other articles, I’ve written about the reasons why people make decisions to buy and what motivates them to take action. Today I want to look at the simple reasons why people don’t buy, and what you can do about it.

(See also: [Objections] Your Fears Become Their Fears)

Think about your own experiences… have you ever changed your mind about something? Why did you do that?

It’s probably because you found some new information that shifted your perspective. Right? And what inevitably comes with more information – is more certainty.

But if you’re in business for yourself, or any part of your remuneration is tied to performance (bonuses, commissions etc) – then you’ve come across the classic momentum killers:

  • “I need to think about it…”
  • “I want to do some research…”
  • “I need to talk to my partner / mother / next door neighbour / flatmate’s dog…”

We’ve all heard them before.

But when consulting to sales leaders and customer facing teams, I’ve noticed that most people don’t understand what the customer is actually saying.

See, what’s happening is that they are coming up against their own internal dialogue about how they can’t have what they want:

  • “This won’t work…”
  • “This won’t work for me…”
  • “What happens if I’m wrong…”

Basically, they come up against their uncertainty – and the inner dialogue ALWAYS wins.

(NOTE: Want to become a master at handling buyer resistance? Download our Ultimate Guide to Handling Objections and learn how to uncover the real reason they’re resisting so you can design your conversation to speak to their fears, desires and reasons to buy now. Download it here.)

Learn how to handle customer objections elegantly and with integrity

A few years ago I was working with one of the world’s leading sales trainers who gave me his solution.

He said that there are actually three things that all people need to have a level of certainty on before they’ll ever move forward with you. I started applying this to my own business and started seeing immediate increases in conversions. I now train this in hands-on workshops with ALL of my clients.

PYC – The 3 Certainties

For someone to change their ideas or behaviours they require a degree of certainty around:

  1. The Product that you’re selling
  2. You – the ambassador of the product
  3. The Company or brand that you represent

We could show this as a graph as below:

How to create customer value and buyer certainty

While most people selling products or services rely on a customer to come to these levels of certainty on their own, sales professionals and top negotiators consciously control this outcome.

I remember one time I was buying my first large flatscreen TV.

It was a significant purchase at the time, and as an openly proud geek, I spent an entire week researching and reading reviews before I walked into the store. I chose Harvey Norman because on a scale of 0 – 10, I was already at a 9 in terms of certainty for HN as a COMPANY.

As I walked up to the floor assistant (definitely not a sales professional), I was confidently looking forward to sharing my newly acquired expertise. The sales person looks up from the clearly-very-important-game of Snake on his phone, with a snarl reserved for people who talk during movies.

Champion of Snake: “Yes?”

me: “Hey there, was hoping to check out the new Sony Bravia XBR9 series, where is that?”

C.O.S.: “Ahh, more money then sense, hey?”

(clearly off to a great start)

me: “What? Um? What urr,” *my ego takes a hit.

C.O.S.: “If you were smart, for that money you’d get the Panasonic 50PZ850. Do you have windows in your house where the tv goes?”

me: “Yeah, I have windows,” two parts offended, one part in shock.

C.O.S.: “Well the glare will make that other one useless, so you can blow your cash on the Sony or you could get that one over there. See if you can work it out.” He returned to his game.

In retrospect, the guy was probably just having a bad day. But he seemed to have a good point about the TV choice for my needs. My research, after all, was a week of reading reviews. I mean, this guy was the undisputed heavyweight world champion in Snake (or so I imagined).

So did I buy?





I bet you’re thinking that only an noob would buy from this rude experience.

Facts were, that despite my unpleasant experience with the product/company representative (YOU), my certainty around the PRODUCT that he was talking about had shot right up to a 10/10

SO I DID BUY – just not from him!

I thanked him for the information. Told him promptly that I wanted to think about it. Then I walked next door into a competing store, JB HiFI (another 9/10 as far as my certainty in the COMPANY). The second interaction went like this:

me: “Hi, I’d like to check out the new Panasonic 50PZ850.”

Sales professional: “Absolutely. Sounds like you’ve done your research,” with a friendly smile.

me: “I’ll take one”

He said: “Which credit card do you want to use”

It was the easiest sale he’d made all year.

The point is that through the first interaction, I trusted the information I had been given about the product, but the first guy failed to help me like and trust him. So by the end of the first interaction, my unconscious graph looked a bit like this:

Creating certainty through the 3-10s

After my interaction with the sales rep, my certainty in the product was 10/10, certainty in the representative 0/10, and my certainty around the brand had diminished to 6/10


My certainty about the PRODUCT (the TV) – 10

My certainty about the SALES REP (‘you’) – 0

My certainty about the COMPANY (Harvey Norman) – 6 – my certainty in the company had now diminished too.

And despite having a degree of certainty around the PRODUCT by the end of the first interaction, that wasn’t enough for me to buy. The representative of the company was rude and unhelpful, but I was now 100% certain about which TV I needed to buy.

Then after the second and more pleasant experience, my levels were primed for me being ready to buy – and so I did.

Creating customer value and customer certianty

How to create customer certainty in selling


10/10 in the PRODUCT

10/10 in the REPRESENTATIVE  (YOU)

10/10 in the COMPANY

At this point, it was far easier to buy, than not to buy. Even better than that, the first guy did all the hard work for his competitor, which became a matter of just being there for the second guy.

If you’re not raising levels of certainty around the Product, on Yourself AND the Company then you’re doing the heavy lifting for someone else. In other words, your customer WILL buy – just not from you.

Your job in a successful presentation or conversation is to elegantly talk to each of these three pillars of certainty. We call this process “looping”.

The sales team in our New York office (selling solar panels) will often say things like:

“The best thing about these solar panels is that they are 100% American made and are the highest quality panels on the market right now, which means for you that they’ll produce more energy than the competitor products (PRODUCT). Over the past 6 years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed some big changes in the technology and really makes a difference (YOU). As far as our company goes, we only work with the best suppliers that have been in this market since the 50s and we’ll be here every step of the way to make sure your install goes smoothly (COMPANY).”

Get it?

This is something that you should learn to do systematically – P -> Y -> C – on loop.

Remember, we don’t just go from a level of 0 to a level of 10 in certainty about something in one go around, so if it’s a significant investment, it may take two or even three loops before someone is ready to buy.

Have a try. When we train this in small groups, we invariably see immediate lifts in the sales teams results, and it’s a great tool to teach your teams too.

Once someone is at a level of 10/10 in certainty around the Product, You AND the Company – it’s like finding out that eating chocolate ice cream makes you lose weight and increases brain function. It no longer makes any sense not do it.

So now that the mood is set, the timing is right – we just need to elegantly ask for the business.

Have fun with this one!

(NOTE: Want to become a master at handling buyer resistance? Download our Ultimate Guide to Handling Objections and learn how to uncover the real reason they’re resisting so you can design your conversation to speak to their fears, desires and reasons to buy now. Download it here.)

Learn how to handle customer objections elegantly and with integrity

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Discover Coaching Coaching Programs are tailored to each individual and align tactical, strategic and visionary leadership styles to reach both Professional and Personal milestones. DC is fully certified for the use of both proprietary (Neuro Linguistic Programming, TimeLine Therapy ®, Straight Line System) and authored custom programs (How to Boil an Egg, Million Dollar Sales Pitch, Mass Persuasion – Complete Sales Mastery, Coaches Collection).

David Cervelli is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach with the ABNLP and ABH.

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