"Serious buyers only"

29 replies
This is a phrase some salespeople use that always turns me off right away.

"Email me with any questions... SERIOUS BUYER'S ONLY."

I know they're trying to save themselves some time, but it seems like a very rude way of handling things. Sure, it's annoying as a seller to get a bunch of the same question but just assume that if somebody is going to bother taking the time to inquire, that they are at least somewhat interested and not going out of their own way to waste their own time, right?

I just saw a page that somebody had linked in their signature that said "Serious people only, NO TIRE KICKERS...", caused me to close the window on something I may have otherwise pursued.

Why not accept inquiries from ANY potential customer? If they aren't serious yet, MAKE them serious.

Now, with anything, I'm sure this phrase won't bother others at all, so what ARE some common marketing buzzwords that you see all the time that REALLY turn you off?

This thread could be useful to marketers to get an idea how customers respond (or don't) to their choices of words.

Now, I feel like a disclaimer may be necessary, I'm not trying to put anyone on blast here. This is just an example of a phrase that bothers ME, your mileage will vary, either take heed to the responses from the thread or don't. Let's count how many people don't read this.
#serious buyers only
  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    I know what you mean.

    It's like the ones that start "here's why you're struggling" and I think "I'm not struggling" so just delete it.
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    • Profile picture of the author mounds
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      I know what you mean.

      It's like the ones that start "here's why you're struggling" and I think "I'm not struggling" so just delete it.
      I think certain buzz phrases can be useful, if used properly. If one were to send an e-mail titled, "Here's why you're struggling" to someone who really is having a difficult time, it could build some rapport. Sending that phrase to someone who is doing well is going to be an instant mismatch, hence your dislike of that phrase.

      There's a good book, Words That Change Minds by Shelle Rose Chavert, that delves into this. Useful for structuring your language in a way that appeals to certain people.

      As for the "Serious Buyers Only" phrase... that does seem kind of silly.
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      • Profile picture of the author moonzombie
        Originally Posted by mounds View Post

        I think certain buzz phrases can be useful, if used properly. If one were to send an e-mail titled, "Here's why you're struggling" to someone who really is having a difficult time, it could build some rapport. Sending that phrase to someone who is doing well is going to be an instant mismatch, hence your dislike of that phrase.

        There's a good book, Words That Change Minds by Shelle Rose Chavert, that delves into this. Useful for structuring your language in a way that appeals to certain people.

        As for the "Serious Buyers Only" phrase... that does seem kind of silly.
        I'll have to take a look at that book, sounds useful.

        P.S have I encountered a fellow Manitoban on here??
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        • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
          Putting up something for sale and stating "serious buyers only" is about as effective as leaving your front door open and putting up a sign saying "no burglers"

          Neither will actually affect the targeted demographic

          and your right..it does seem a little rude
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        • Profile picture of the author mounds
          Originally Posted by moonzombie View Post

          I'll have to take a look at that book, sounds useful.

          P.S have I encountered a fellow Manitoban on here??
          Yep Where abouts are you from?
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      I know what you mean.

      It's like the ones that start "here's why you're struggling" and I think "I'm not struggling" so just delete it.
      I would suppose that you're not the target market, then.

      Just another way to pre-qualify prospects, really. If it's a newbie product and you're not struggilng, it's probably not for you... so nothing is lost when you click away.

      But it will make all the newbies go, "Holy crap... this is TOTALLY for me!"

      Of course, positioning etc is another issue altogether... but there's nothing wrong with targeting your market squarely.

      -Daniel
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve McBride
        Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

        I would suppose that you're not the target market, then.

        Just another way to pre-qualify prospects, really. If it's a newbie product and you're not struggilng, it's probably not for you... so nothing is lost when you click away.

        But it will make all the newbies go, "Holy crap... this is TOTALLY for me!"

        Of course, positioning etc is another issue altogether... but there's nothing wrong with targeting your market squarely.

        -Daniel
        I agree. Don't get me wrong, I see certain phrases as well and they annoy me. But I'm not likely their target demographic, which is just fine.

        For example, I do a lot of product creation in multiple niches. I personally always find it more beneficial to me to create products that target beginners/newbies in each niche. This especially goes for any free products that I create for list building purposes. Newbies, for me at least, tend to be longer lasting customers. If I can help them right from the beginning, they will be grateful, and more likely to buy future, more expensive products when they get to the intermediate or advanced level. So in my sales copy for the free products/low cost products that I use to attract new customers, I often use words to target only them. Things like "simple, step by step, newbie friendly, beginner's guide, no more struggling" etc.

        Of course the reverse is true when I'm creating products for my advanced customers. I don't want newbies to buy those products. If they did, I would have an incredibly high refund rate, and a lot of unhappy customers. So I will use words like "advanced, take it to the next level, how the pro's do it" etc.

        I actually like to plan my product releases in niches that way. From beginner to intermediate to advanced and so on. I see a lot of repeat customers this way, especially if I deliver on high quality content that has been useful to them.

        Basically, if you're creating products and writing your sales copy for EVERYONE to buy it, you're going to have problems. Conversion rates will probably be low, refunds will be high, not to mention complaints.

        If you narrow down on targeted customers, things will generally go smoother and leave you with more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    I figure that until you have kicked the tires, how do you know if you really want to buy or not. There have been times when I was only slightly interested in something, but after asking questions and finding out more about it, I ended up buying. And many times I have been really interested in something only to find out more about it and end up not interested.

    So in my opinion, that statement is pretty stupid and may drive away a likely buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Redlinger
    Putting up something for sale with "serious buyers only" in the advertisement is an eye catcher and, at the very least, will make life interesting
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    I personally would never email him no matter how much I am interested in that product, I probably move to another product if he is the only seller.

    The statement speak for itself. That seller is lousy.

    It remind of car dealers, they try to abuse you emotionally and pressure you to buy a car from them (they technique never worked with me). I actually wasted many good deals because the seller seems as a vampire looking for my money than a seller who interested in showing what he can offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Coptech
      I have to put in a good word here for the person who writes that.

      In trying to market his product, he is trying to appeal to the "buyer" side in people. When you see serious buyer only, normal people will think of him as rude. However, interested parties will see it as "Yeah I am a serious buyer!" which makes him more likely to want to buy it as it shows that the seller really wants to serve the interested parties as best as he can.

      Therefore, I agree it might come across as rude sometimes, however, most(I think) of the time, all the buyer is trying to do is to not only creating a situation of scacity but also to show he is dadicated to serve only those who are really interested.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        The phrase is used offline frequently and when you are selling high end items (real estate, for example) it means "if you can't qualify for a loan, don't call". In cases like that, it's not rude as it's to protect the property seller from those who want to looky-loo through their home out of curiosity.

        Selling an expensive car is the same - the seller isn't interested in standing around chatting with someone who can't afford to buy.

        It's probably useless in IM and I seldom see it used. If I were serious about buying, it wouldn't put me off at all.

        kay
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    I guess if people were very serious about buying then it would NOT put them off... it wouldn't put me off. The fact you closed the page and moved along tells me you didn't want that product badly enough.

    I don't think you would have purchased whether he had that statement or not. If you REALLY DESPERATELY wanted the product then I DO think you would have purchased whether he had that statement or not.

    Is it rude? Meh, depends on the context and situation but I really don't think it would scare off the serious buyers.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I knee-jerk delete those.

    It reminds me of MLMers, and I don't play in that sandbox.
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  • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
    You could say "serious buyers only" without saying it THAT way but whether you say it tactfully or just say it, I believe there's a lot of good sense in it.

    That is, the idea of "firing" your worst customers (or prospective customers) and focusing on the ones who understand the value that you're offering them and can easily ask for a refund if they turn out disappointed.

    Whether you offer a product or a service, you always have that small handful of annoying people whose hands you have to hold and whose countless emails you have to answer before they even buy your product or service. That's their right and I'm all for it, but do you need that $27 so bad that you're willing to trade a bunch of your time and sanity for it? Meanwhile, you have a bunch of no-fuss buyers on hand.

    When I get an email that's two pages long asking me about my products or services, that are explained in agonizing detail on my no BS salespages, I point them to said page. If they hit me up again with the same nonsense, I ignore it and go on a date or something!
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      We all have our little hot buttons on thing like this, but what surprises me is how many people will actually allow a personal like/dislike to drive their decision making process.
      I build my likes and dislikes on personal experience so if something rubs me up the wrong way then I just won't touch it - but I have my reasons whether right or wrong. If the initial emotional response gets your back up then I think it is going to be hard to look at the product with an open mind and any benefits may be lost regardless of its quality.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        I think this is yet another example of people copying something without understanding why it appeared in the original.

        Kay had one of the reasons. Real estate people want to spend their time talking to possible buyers, not people who can't afford a show so they go open-house hopping.

        It also means that the person placing the ad wants to speak with prospective buyers, not other agents, salespeople for landscaping and other services, etc.

        There's a variant used in the job market, too. It means the advertiser wants to hear from job seekers, not head hunters, employment agency reps, etc.
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        • In my world, "serious buyers only" means the seller is in a position of weakness. He wants to see how much you know about the property in question -- because he has no real idea how much it's worth and is terrified of selling for too little.

          "Serious buyers only" is supposed to keep out those parties who know even less than he does, because they are of no use to him.

          Inevitably this seller has placed a ludicrously high imaginary value on the property that would elicit giggles if he came out and stated it as his asking price.

          fLufF
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          • Profile picture of the author Azarna
            Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

            In my world, "serious buyers only" means the seller is in a position of weakness. He wants to see how much you know about the property in question -- because he has no real idea how much it's worth and is terrified of selling for too little.

            "Serious buyers only" is supposed to keep out those parties who know even less than he does, because they are of no use to him.

            Inevitably this seller has placed a ludicrously high imaginary value on the property that would elicit giggles if he came out and stated it as his asking price.

            fLufF
            --
            I think you hit the nail on the head there.

            Its funny how many eBay sellers have these words on their car adverts... yet manage to miss off the mileage, or mentioning the fact that the car has been resprayed (badges not correctly replaced is a tip off, heh). They usually have an inability to use the shift key too, interestingly. Its either all in capital letters, or there are not capitals at all, hehe.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

            Inevitably this seller has placed a ludicrously high imaginary value on the property that would elicit giggles if he came out and stated it as his asking price.

            fLufF
            --
            And become horribly offended when you do giggle...

            I remember talking to more than a few of those when we were looking to buy down here, even if it was just before the bubble peaked.
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  • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
    We all have our little hot buttons on thing like this, but what surprises me is how many people will actually allow a personal like/dislike to drive their decision making process.
    Totally. Objectivity isn't as cool as it used to be. Emotions have their place in decision making but have to work in harmony with reason, not stage a coup on it!
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  • Profile picture of the author moonzombie
    Excellent responses, I'm glad this topic achieved some interest.

    There are some interesting points of view that I hadn't considered, and I suppose context has a lot to do with it as well.

    "Firing" their worst customers is a good way to put it!
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    It's called INTIMIDATION. It's just a sales strategy
    to help qualify the prospect. If you are offended
    by that statement then you are not a potential
    customer.

    All good sales messages aggravate the majority
    of prospects. That's what makes the sales message
    effective. And that's why most people don't buy.

    A conversion rate of 15% means that 85% didn't buy.

    Maybe they were offended?

    A sales message that pleases everyone will sell to no one.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author supershoesclub
    I thik no one want to lose the buyers indeed.the phrase "Serious buyers only" is only used to prevent the spammers or cheaters only.If someone is total interested in somening and have a question about discount,payment or shiping,they will ask a question in any way.and seller will be glad to answer it. If the person is no intention to buy just asking.I think most seller will try to introduce more details to persude the one to buy. But no reason for spamming and advertising only to send the message.It is annoying to see so many ads when i open the email inbox.
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  • Profile picture of the author triojobss
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    I don't have the phrase 'serious buyers only' used on my sales page but I have it used on my free review page, But I say serious customers only.

    Does this change anything or do you feel the same way?
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    • Profile picture of the author Azarna
      Originally Posted by triojobss View Post

      I don't have the phrase 'serious buyers only' used on my sales page but I have it used on my free review page, But I say serious customers only.

      Does this change anything or do you feel the same way?
      Do you assume that someone might want to waste your time (and their's) asking pointless questions? And surely, if your product is good, and you answer them politely and informatively, there is a chance they could be swayed to become a customer.

      Who exactly ARE these non-serious customers and what is it they do that you want them to be warned off of doing?

      Why alienate genuinely interested people, is it REALLY that big a problem that it is worth the risk? If it is, then perhaps your copy doesn't clarify the product properly in the first place.
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      • Profile picture of the author triojobss
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Azarna View Post

        Do you assume that someone might want to waste your time (and their's) asking pointless questions? And surely, if your product is good, and you answer them politely and informatively, there is a chance they could be swayed to become a customer.

        Who exactly ARE these non-serious customers and what is it they do that you want them to be warned off of doing?

        Why alienate genuinely interested people, is it REALLY that big a problem that it is worth the risk? If it is, then perhaps your copy doesn't clarify the product properly in the first place.
        True, there isn't really much of a reason for it I suppose...

        I will remove it, thanks for the interesting thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author Gavori
    I feel the same way, whenever I see a thread with 'Serious buyers only' , I tend to exit the thread and find somewhere else.
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  • Profile picture of the author Manny Derek
    If a buyer is really serious about the product, then he/she will probably go on clicking. But let's face it, not all will not be interested with this kind of buzz. But i know there are many sellers you really put that buzz that way to avoid buglers.
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