People are Exhausted. Here's How to Inspire Them to Buy Your Product.

The past year has resulted in a level of mental exhaustion that is unknown territory for modern companies - and selling in the face of that can be very challenging. Here are four strategies that can help.

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By David Partain

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a lot of businesses, leaders head into introducing their products or services assuming that people are in a great frame of mind to buy. The mantra goes that all they have to do is cut through the noise, grab the customer's attention and everything will be perfect.

But this is a myth. Between work, children, education and other responsibilities, buyers are often mentally exhausted — and the pandemic has brought their exhaustion to levels that modern companies have never dealt with before. Amid the pandemic, sellers need proactive steps to keep buyers motivated to complete transactions and remain engaged.

Related: Best Practices for Marketing During and After COVID-19

1. Keep it simple

People make purchase decisions largely based on how they feel in the moment — otherwise buyer's remorse wouldn't be a thing. They rationalize more thoroughly after the fact. And the last thing people want when they're overwhelmed is to feel like buying is a complex process, so diminish anything that makes the transaction difficult or overly bloated.

This process applies through the entire customer journey. For example, you might present customers with one or two additional recommended products after an interaction instead of slamming them with an entire page of options. Or, you might dig your customer service chat button out of the weeds and put it in a more prominent position on your site.

One good example here is Amazon. Their site is easy to navigate, but they also offer options like subscriptions on items you buy a lot. You can use connected tools (like their smart devices) to order with voice commands. This signals to customers that their purchase is going to be easy and won't interfere with other things they have to do. Their user experience is marked by convenience and transparency in price, shipping times and the like.

2. Make them feel included

When people are mentally exhausted, they often try to take comfort in what's familiar. They look to what others are doing to orient themselves on what to do. If you can help them see that other people like them are buying, then you'll give them a sense of belonging, safety and direction. Which means more buying for them, too.

One way to help people focus better on "their" crowd is to build custom audiences on your social media platforms. It's easy to deliver targeted messages to specific demographics this way. Plus, you'll give people an interactive tool they can use to get feedback, recommendations, basic product information and camaraderie.

3. Acknowledge the climate instead of trying to sell it

There's no hiding from the current climate. Today, that means the pandemic is on everyone's minds — but the climate could read entirely differently a year from now. The best example being used today is the dots or squares companies are putting on their store floors to remind people about social distancing. There's no hiding from this unprecedented crisis, and it's a responsible move for companies to acknowledge it instead of hiding away from it.

For quite a while now, customers have been demanding transparency, authenticity and truth. Unfortunately, with so many changes going on, this practice can come off as intentionally transferring the current climate onto buyers. It's like they're trying to sell their protocols as part of the service. In reality, it's not a service at all. It's just the way life is right now, and shoppers won't tolerate being manipulated or having their basic reality ignored.

Instead of trying to sell the climate or pretending you can transform it into something the shoppers need, just talk about it. Acknowledge that everybody is in the same boat: tired and frustrated. Customers will respond far more to that empathetic admission than they will to having one more thing thrust in front of them.

4. Use some humor

Even when times are easy, humor goes a long way to creating a fun, memorable experience customers can enjoy. And when things are tough, humor can help buyers see your empathy in a more personal kind of way. It builds relationships and can remind your audience that there are good things yet to come and enjoy. And if they can stay a little more positive, then buying for a bright future that has real goals makes a heck of a lot more sense. Not only that, but humor can disarm tensions. So if customers have any kind of customer service problems, it can diffuse the situation so people don't leave the transaction with a bad taste in their mouth.

Related: 3 Ways to Succeed in Marketing in the Modern Era

Contrary to what you might hear in a lot of business circles, the motivation for consumers to buy isn't static, and it's not always sky high — it naturally ebbs and flows. However, it's possible to keep the fluctuation somewhat controlled. Offering humor, helping customers relate to others, acknowledging the reality people are experiencing — instead of constantly selling and simplifying things — can all create a transparent business, which will encourage buyers to follow through with their purchases. Try any of these techniques to help inspire buyers and meet your sales goals now and into the future.

David Partain

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CMO of FlexShares

David Partain is SVP of Northern Trust and CMO of their subsidiary, FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds. He has over 15 years of marketing, sales and finance expertise and was named one of the "20 Rising Stars in Finance" by the Gramercy Institute.

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