“Smart Buying is less about comparing price and features
than it is about value assessment.” – CC
You are only human. Therefore, you’ve probably made more than one impulsive, disappointing and wasteful purchase. It could be a product that broke one day after the warranty expired or a product that you didn’t need or a service that didn’t pan out, that you bought because it looked good on television.
On the extreme side, maybe you’ve made so many bad purchases that you have become gun-shy about any purchase over $20. While your fear of wasting money can protect you from making stupid purchases, it can also steer you away from smart, life-changing ones.
Every purchase has its risks, which means we are likely to face fear whenever we face buying decisions. The problem is that fear can be either the voice of conscience or a powerful excuse-maker. The key to managing fear and making effective buying decisions is to ask good questions. Here are a few assessment questions that will help you define a better context and make wiser decisions:
- If I buy ‘X’, what’s the WORST CASE OUTCOME?
Example: I got nothing of value and the money and time invested were totally wasted. Furthermore, I am frustrated and don’t believe any such product/service can benefit me.
- If I buy ‘X’, what’s the BEST CASE OUTCOME?
Example: I feel great about my purchase. All my expectations were met and then some! The value so far exceeded my original expectations that I’ve experienced transformation beyond my imagination.
- Somewhere between worst case and best case is the MOST LIKELY OUTCOME. Visualize it, define it, then ask yourself, “What would this MOST LIKELY OUTCOME mean to me physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, professionally and/or relationally? Then, decide how much you are willing to pay to own it.
- The remaining questions are about the price. For higher-priced items we typically ask ourselves, “Can I afford it?” That’s fair, but the smart buyer will also ask, “What will it cost me to NOT buy it?” and then compare the two answers before making the decision – a better decision than one that is fixated solely on “How much is it?”
I’ll close with a challenge for sellers. Please make it easier for us buyers to see the value in your products and services. Benefits are not expressed by reciting a list of features. Benefits are favored outcomes. Ask us questions like this: “What would this product/service mean to you, or your family, or your colleagues, or…?