Why People Delay or Simply Don’t Buy - Think Like a Fish

Why People Delay or Simply Don’t Buy

Recently I bought a new Laptop. I’ve needed one since the last one was stolen in the burglary before Christmas.

But it wasn’t the one I originally thought I would get. More on that later.

Surely with the world revolving around the internet and needing to work, I’d have bought a new laptop ages ago right?!

Is This a Chink in Apple’s Marketing Armour? 

I’ve not been without access to a computer, so whilst it was an inconvenience, it wasn’t a ‘burning bridge’ problem.

I could still work. I could use my wife’s iPad for internet at home. My work desktop worked just fine.

That’s just one reason though.

The main reason is actually an example of a potential issue with Apple’s marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple are masters at this. However, at times it doesn’t always work for everyone.

You see, I really like the new Macbook.

Small, light, looks cool. But I knew it was a first generation model. I could have got a great deal on a Macbook Air, but they’re at the end of their lifecycle.

As I know history to be a great teacher, I also know that Apple have big launches where they introduce new products or upgraded versions of existing models.

So what did I do? Same thing your customers do…

  • I visited the Apple store, multiple times
  • I looked online at reviews
  • I asked a few people that had them
  • I Googled ‘Macbook launch 2016’ & ‘Macbook Air 2016’

All this left me with the feeling that buying either machine represented a dual risk.

  1. If I bought the Macbook (at well over a grand), I’d be risking all the bugs that historically come with first model Apple products (think iPod, iPad and the Apple Watch). Basically, I’m not the pioneer when it comes to tech. I don’t want to be the one with arrows in his back.
  1. If I bought the Macbook Air, despite the great deals around, I’d be risking it becoming out dated or unable to keep pace with new developments. Plus it doesn’t have Retina Display. (That’s good marketing by the way. I don’t even know what it means, but I want it!).

The Chink in Apple’s Marketing Armour

Basically, now that Apple has a history of launch cycles people have caught on to that.

Towards the end of an existing product cycle, the message that is being communicated with special offers like the Macbook Air (Apple don’t discount my ar@e!) is that the current product is inferior. Same goes for first generation products. Yes, some people will not care and snap up a ‘bargain’. Many others won’t.

This opens the door to competition. If I were in the same market, I’d be building a few of my campaigns around Apple’s launches.

Not to go head to head. I’d run them on a contrarian cycle focusing on that space between to catch people like me who are on the fence. At the same time continuing to produce more evergreen content and information intended to inform and educate the market.

No doubt the next series of Launches will be incredibly successful, maybe break records and see Apple continue to prosper. But as I consider my own behaviour, I do see a time when it becomes less and less effective as people tire of it and competition smartens up.

What did I do?

I decided I could wait until the new versions were revealed. Heck, I was doing fine without I thought.

Then something changed.

Due to challenging stock market conditions, falling revenue and the need for cost cutting, I lost my job.

Suddenly I had a ‘burning bridge’.

I couldn’t use the desktop at work any longer. I needed a laptop. The iPad is great, but I can’t type very well on it.

But now I’m more nervous of spending over £1,000 on a laptop. Even £700 feels like a lot after a blow like this.

So I start searching for potential alternatives.

  • I Google ‘Macbook alternatives 2016’

Then after going through some of the pages, I notice a number of people saying how they replaced a Macbook with a Chromebook.

I’d never heard of a Chromebook.

So I do more digging. I repeat the above process that I did with the Macbook. What did I find?

  • Plenty of ex-Macbook users are very happy with a Chromebook
  • They don’t use Windows (a big no for me)
  • I could do most things on it I needed to do
  • I could pick one up for £160

In my new predicament, the last point was the clincher.

So I bought a Chromebook. And you know what?

It’s brilliant.

I can get everything I need to do done on it. I wrote and posted this blog on it.

I’d originally thought I’ll get this for the short term, then get a Macbook when they’re released and I’ve sorted my cashflow issue, then sell the Chromebook on eBay.

Now I’m not so sure I need to…

Most people are looking for reasons NOT to buy something

Ok, if you’ve stayed with me this long, you’re probably thinking “Yeah great, but what does this mean for me?”. I’ll tell you.

Buying represents a risk to your prospects…

…to their wallet, their ego, their status, their relationships.

The less attention you pay to removing that risk, the more likely they will come up with objections. That’s what delays buying or stops it all together.

Just because they have objections doesn’t remove the need or want in your customers, but it does open the doors to competitors that invest in a strategy to removes this perceived risk in a better way.

This is especially the case for bigger ticket items such as my laptop example. Though even smaller ticket ones will have the same risk factors in someone’s mind.

If you’re considering buying a can of Coke there’s plenty of objections. You risk a sugar crash. You will get fat if you do it too often. You’re sending a message to the world about your values. People will judge you (at least in your head they will).

If that’s the narrative going on inside your head when you walk into a shop, you’re more likely to walk out with a fruit juice, smoothie or bottle of water.

So how do you get round this?

It’s not always simple, but the most important thing you MUST do is get to know your customer.

Have a clear understanding of who they are. Get into their head. Talk to them and ask questions. Find out what their resistance is, not just from what they say but also from what they do.

Then put all this back into your marketing. And do it across multiple touch points.

For example, I follow what I call “The Think Like a Fish Process of Marketing” that:

“Informs and educates” your ideal target customer with the strategic intention of turning “informing and educating” into “selling and buying”.

What does this do? It makes the path for moving someone from initial awareness to advocate a very simple process.

As you can see from just my story above, I made my decision without talking to anyone at either company. I armed myself with information that was relevant to me. I used social proof. I looked at multiple sources.

Your BEST customers will need to get to know and trust you over time

Understand this, and position your business and message where your customer is.

Your messages must fit your Ideal Customer Profile (you do have one right?). 

Ultimately your marketing should convey confidence and reassurance to your market that you ‘get them’, you have their best interests in mind and that buying or doing business with you is not a risk.

Then put your message in as many places as you can.


  • Multiple media channels (social and other)
  • Video and written content
  • Emails (daily or at least regularly)
  • Use social proof/communities/referrals
  • Phone calls/meeting you in person
  • Direct mail

Fish in the pond with the most fish

Rich Schefren from Strategic Profits shows the importance of showing up in multiple places at multiple times in his Marketplace Pyramid.

Here he shows that out of 100 people in your market, only 3% of people are ever ready to buy right now. Meaning only 3% of people have a ‘burning bridge’ problem.

The rest?

They’re either are open to it (and your competition), not thinking about it now, don’t think they’re interested or know they’re not interested.

That group is about 97% of your potential market.

Where do you think most business focus their efforts?

How to catch more fish

You see, most businesses don’t actually market themselves.

Instead they compensate by selling harder and more aggressively. That’s hard and expensive.

Consider it this way. If you only go straight for the 3% it’s like asking for marriage on the first date.

Maybe you’ll find the odd ‘crazy’ to say yes, but is that the ideal start to a long term relationship?

Instead, date your prospects in the 97%.

Show them a good time. Make them feel good about themselves and your business. Show them how great their lives would be with you in in. Make yourself so valuable they think of you more than they admit they want to.

Then, only when they’re ready, bring out the ring…

I expound on this concept in this post on How Ryan Deiss Broke My Heart and taught me a valuable lesson on “proposing” at the right time.

Your task?

Put some thought into how to ensure you’re the first solution that pops into your markets head when they find themselves in the middle of their own ‘burning bridge’.

To help you, I’ve created a simple step by step process and done for you worksheets that you can download for free by entering your details in the box below:

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Adam King

Adam King is Captain of Think Like a Fish, host of The Client Catching Podcast. Today, Adam’s passion is helping service businesses, Advisors & Experts to build their own “Client Catching Ecosystem” that removes you from up to 90% of your marketing and sales process, instantly boosts your authority, while at the same time increases the quality of leads, appointments and clients that you attract and catch… All without spending a penny on advertising or adding more hours to your week!