Overcoming Buyer’s Procrastination

From the Farnam Street Sunday email.


  1. The biggest generator of long term results is learning to do things when you don’t feel like doing them.
  2. If you let excuses or emotion drive behavior, you’re cheating yourself.
  3. Put aside the excuses and start doing what you need to do.

You need to subscribe. Do it here

You can control how you behave but you need a client to subscribe to the action agenda too.

The other side of that problem

Not every prospect or client you meet with is willing to do things when they don’t feel like doing them. How do you cope with that?

People procrastinate when they fear failure or if they have a fear of picking a solution that will turn out not to have been the best even it works.

You can make them more at ease if the problem they are addressing is more clearly attached to their emotional needs. Safety, security, ease of application, things like that. When they understand the problem in terms of their visions and they understand how the solution attaches tightly to those, they are more willing to act. Seldom demanding to act, but at least not fighting you.

Flexibility is a key value.

Flexibility is the ability to change your mind. There are few change your mind situations that are cost free, but if the potential loss is knowable and the potential gain to not quit is clear, many people will trade a small potential short term loss for a large long term gain.

For example, how much could you lose in the short term choosing a participating life insurance plan versus your bond fund? Compare that to the estate gain at and beyond life expectancy. It’s a simple comparison ending with two questions.

  1. If you choose to quit the insurance plan can you afford the loss?
  2. If you choose the bond fund, would your estate miss the extra liquidity the insurance would have provided? Especially if you die too soon.

It’s what decision makers call a binary decision set. You implicitly choose one or the other.

There is no free lunch, but at the same time there is little risk in a reversible decision if you can afford the loss.

The takeaway

Clients usually need help with the decision. If the plan attaches to their visions, matches their budget and provides value when they need it, it must be presented so they can see the binary nature of their decision.

Comfort is in knowing they have a gain because of tax factors, investment yields on investments similar to what they own now, low operating costs (near zero), no reinvestment decisions, an enormous advantage should they die too soon, and a clear advantage at life expectancy and beyond.

For that they must accept a smaller return of capital should they quit and that decision is entirely within their control. The insurer cannot make them quit.

Be sure they understand that they will not spend everything they own so some must end up in their estate. Best to use assets designed to end up there.

It is really simple enough when you see it.

I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

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