What The ’3-Yes-No’ Test Can Teach You About Buying

By Welly Mulia | Business

Have you bought something only to regret or second thought your purchase later?

If you’ve never experienced this, you’re probably not human.

All kidding aside, a way to overcome this ‘regret’ is not to buy in the first place. The problem is… we can’t not buy anything, can we?

But we can always save money by utilizing free tools in our business, and only upgrade to the paid/premium versions when we have outgrown their free version counterparts.

Today, I’d like to talk about saving even more of your money by introducing you to something I call ‘Just In Time’ Buying or JIT Buying.

This is different than ‘JIT Purchasing’ used in accounting. JIT Purchasing is a cost-saving strategy used to meet customer demand, from the company’s perspective.

JIT Buying is also a cost-saving strategy, but it’s used to meet our own demand from our perspective. Essentially, it’s about only buying things when you absolutely need them now.

Later down the post, I’ll give you the JIT Buying ‘3-Yes-No’ test to help you decide whether you should buy something or not.

How This ‘JIT Buying’ Came About

I’m inspired to write this post because of a WhatsApp conversation with a business friend of mine last week. Basically, the gist of the conversation was how both of us (and I’m sure many others) bought products/services that we haven’t used or don’t use at all — or if we have used them, we haven’t maximized our usage of them.

And some of these products/services are not cheap — ranging from a few hundred to a thousand dollars.

I know right? How stupid of me to commit such a foolish act when I’ve been preaching about the importance of bootstrapping.

Off the top of my head, here are a few products I bought last year:

The Effective Entrepreneur by Taylor Pearson (course) — $1,000

Virtual Summit Mastery by Navid Moazzez (course) — $600

WebinarNinja (software tool) — $49

(note: I would have linked to the Effective Entrepreneur and Virtual Summit Mastery — but both courses are not open for enrollment as of this writing)

Out of the 3, I’ve only consumed The Effective Entrepreneur — a course about personal productivity for entrepreneurs. The course was offered with 3 different plans. I took the highest plan, which includes the main course, group coaching via webinars, 3 months of 1-on-1 email coaching, plus a one 1-on-1 call.

Can you guess which ones I’ve actually used out of the many benefits offered?

If you’re like me, you can probably guess that I’ve only consumed the main course. Yep — didn’t take advantage of the group nor personal 1-on-1 coaching. In hindsight, I could have saved about $700 if I just bought the basic plan — which includes only the course. But even at $1,000 for the course only, it’s money well spent for me.

The course itself is great and I’ve taken some golden nuggets out of it and applied them to my business, especially the planning part. I now have a much clearer picture of who I want to be, what I want to achieve, and how to plan my daily tasks.

I know it’s my own fault for not taking advantage of the coaching benefits. Taylor (the course creator) even personally emailed me asking why I didn’t show up for the first group webinar. So I can only blame myself.

Next is the Virtual Summit Mastery course. As the name suggests, it’s a course showing you how to run your own virtual summit to build/grow your list, network with people, and make some nice money in the process.

Even though I’ve purchased this in late 2016, I’ve only just logged in to the members area last week (yes, literally last week) after my WhatsApp conversation with my friend. And no, since last week up till now, I still haven’t consumed a single module of the course.

For this course, I bought only the basic plan — which includes only the course materials without any bells and whistles (coaching, more advanced materials, etc.)

I know hosting my own virtual summit in my industry is going to be beneficial to my business, that’s why I bought the course. It’s just that I haven’t had the time to study it. Now that I’ve said it, I really need to MAKE time to study and implement it, instead of always making excuses like ‘yeah I’ll come to it later when I find the time’.

Truth is, I’ll never find time unless I MAKE it. And I’ll never make time unless my intention is strong.

Next is WebinarNinja. This is a SaaS tool for running webinars. The reason I bought it was because at that time it was being offered as a one-time fee for only $49 at AppSumo, and I figured I would need it sometime in the near future.

Though the one-time fee is only for WebinarNinja’s lowest plan — it’s still good at 100 attendees, and the regular pricing at that time was $30-ish/month (if I’m not mistaken). So it would have paid itself off in 2 months.

The JIT Buying ‘3-Yes-No’ Test

The 3-Yes-No Test

Before buying anything, ask yourself:

(1) Do you really really need this?
(2) Are you absolutely certain your existing resources can’t do this (without spending too much time)?
(3) Do you need it now?

Here’s how it works:

  • You ask yourself these questions in the exact order above.
  • If the answer to any question is ‘yes’, continue to the next question.
  • If the answer to any question is ‘no’, don’t continue to the next question. The game is over, and the conclusion is ‘don’t buy’.
  • If the answer to all questions is ‘yes’, you can go ahead and buy.

Let’s break down each question in more detail. We’ll use the 3 products I mentioned above as examples.

The Effective Entrepreneur

(1) Do you really really need this?

I purchased this in late 2016. At that time, yes I really needed this because I know I had a lot of work to do to improve my productivity.

(2) Are you absolutely certain your existing resources can’t do this (without spending too much time)?

I don’t have a course about productivity, but I could go online and spend days or weeks scouring for free articles and videos related to productivity and ‘patch’ them all together.

The problem with this is two-fold:

One, it would take me too much time to patch together everything.

Two, I would get conflicting advice from different experts, which would confuse me as to which one to listen to.

So for this question, the answer is ‘yes’, which leads us to…

(3) Do you need it now?

I was really in need of help at that time because my productivity and track record of getting things done within the allotted time frame was… let’s just say… not good.

Conclusion after running the JIT Buying test:

Yes, I can go ahead and buy The Effective Entrepreneur course.

Which I did, and totally happy and satisfied… even though I could have gotten more out of it by attending the group coaching calls and asking questions via the personal email and call coaching provided.


Virtual Summit Mastery

(1) Do you really really need this?

I was intrigued by Navid Moazzez’s ability of running a virtual summit successfully… inviting top names in the industry to speak at his event for free (read: not getting paid), building his list, all while making a handsome sum of money in the backend.

Since I run a cart and email SaaS business (Zaxaa), I felt running a virtual summit would help increase our exposure, gain us some nice leads, plus bring in some good revenue as well.

(2) Are you absolutely certain your existing resources can’t do this (without spending too much time)?

Same thing as The Effective Entrepreneur above… I could have spent weeks after weeks patching together free content from different sources, but it would take up too much of my time.

(3) Do you need it now?

At that time (also late 2016), I don’t really need it. It can wait till later when I have time to go through the course and implement.

So the answer to this question is ‘no’.

Conclusion after running the JIT Buying test:

No, don’t buy this.

But the reality is I went ahead and purchased it at that time.

This is because I’m human after all… and as you probably already know, we humans don’t buy based on logic. We buy based on emotions. While the JIT Buying test can help you decide whether you should buy something or not… ultimately the decision lies in the hands of the heart — your feelings.

Nevertheless, the course received a lot of rave reviews and produced tons of success stories. Having been in Navid’s FB group and list myself, I can see that he puts out solid content and takes care of his customers. So I’m sure his flagship course is no different, which I’m going to dive into this year!


WebinarNinja

(1) Do you really really need this?

Yes, I do need a webinar platform to host webinars. In the past, I’ve been using GoToWebinar and WebinarJam. GoToWebinar is too expensive for my needs as I don’t do webinars on a regular basis. It’s more like an ad-hoc/seasonal thing.

WebinarJam is run on the Google Hangout platform and one major negative is there is a ’10 seconds’ lag between the speaker and attendees. For example, if I ask a question “Where are you from?”, attendees won’t hear it until about 10 seconds later. Not good.

I wanted something more affordable that doesn’t lag, but like I said above I don’t do webinars regularly, so if you ask me “do I really really need this”, the answer is ‘no’.

Because it’s a ‘no’, we don’t have to continue on with the other 2 questions.

Conclusion after running the JIT Buying test:

No, don’t buy this.

But, again, I bought it anyway. I know… sometimes I still fall prey to this buying frenzy thing and need to constantly remind myself.

Save More With SaaS Products

This applies to SaaS products more than anything else.

Most SaaS products offer a free trial.

Sometimes you get really pumped up about a SaaS product. One that you really like. You might be tempted to go for the yearly plan or to a more ‘advanced’ plan rather than the free trial plan.

My advice is do NOT sign up for anything other than the free plan, even when the yearly or more advanced plan is attached with a discount.

(Yes, this applies to Zaxaa as well. I probably get less paid signups via the sales page after writing this, but anyhow…)

Why?

Because you can always upgrade later IF you like what you see on the inside. IF the workflow of the app is suitable for your business needs. IF the app is user-friendly enough to use so that you don’t waste too much time trying to learn how to use it.

Side note: there is always a learning curve when you use a new software. The question is how big the learning curve is. The bigger the learning curve, the longer the time it will take you to get up to speed.

IF you like it, you can always upgrade to the yearly or more advanced plan. 99% of the time, you can still enjoy the same discount as when you first saw it on the pricing page.

How To Apply This To Your Business & Personal Life

Next time you want to buy something (anything, whether it’s for business or personal reasons), run the JIT Buying ‘3-Yes-No’ test first.

Only buy if you pass the test.

Ladies, you can thank me later when you realized you’ve saved so much on (handbags, shoes, clothes, fill __ in __ the __ blank, etc.)

Guys (who pay for your spouses’ expenses), please share this post to them so that they can help you save SIGNIFICANTLY!

Let me know your thoughts below…

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About the Author

Welly Mulia is a growth enthusiast, but not yet considered a maniac. He loves traveling, Formula 1, and the internet.

  • Michael

    I like the idea of answering 3 questions before making final decision to buy or not to buy. The only problem is we are buying with emotions and justify later with our mind / logic. If the product you are about to buy has really strong “emotional component” you might be lying to yourself by answering all 3 questions with YES (if you even remember to ask yourself) :)))

    • http://constantgrowth.co Welly Mulia

      True. That’s what happened to me as well. I still believe the 3 questions would help in eliminating some purchases though. It’s not perfect, but it helps.