“The wise copywriter anticipates unspoken objections and answers them before they can be voiced.” – Jerry Buchanan
If there is an almost universally made error that I see in sales it is this: leaving questions and objections CERTAIN to be in the mind of the prospect unanswered – as if the boogie man can’t hurt us as long as we don’t look under the bed.
Here is a big difference between selling in person and selling in print; when selling in person, the prospect participates by asking question and putting stalls and objections onto the table. This gives the skilled, confident sales person both the luxury of not having to answer every possible question and objection AND the opportunity to customize the presentation for each individual. In effect, the prospect assists in the sales process. Of course, fearful, wimpy or inexperience salespeople pray that the prospect will be quiet as a churchmouse. But real pros welcome the prospect’s active involvement.
Obviously when selling in print (actual print, online, via automated message or video sales letter) the prospect still talks back, but we cannot hear them to respond to them. They are left to talk to themselves. This is why we must leave NO question unanswered, no objection ignored, no stone unturned!
Selling in print requires courage AND the understanding of the prospects to bring up every obstacle to moving forward and take care of it.
By the way, this is an area where some copywriters and consultants (and sales trainers) differ with me. I can tell you though, that testing, empirical evidence and experience has absolutely convinced me that the “everything on the table approach” works best the overwhelming majority of the time.
Here are the 18 Chief Reason Prospects Do NOT Respond or Buy
- They do not understand the proposition – Confused consumers do nothing. People are easily confused. The hazard for the marketer, copywriter and sales person is their own familiarity with their products, services, offers, terminology, so they presume knowledge and understanding in their customers that just isn’t there.
- The do not believe the proposition – This is actually, relatively rare. Actually, most people are far too gullible and far too quick to accept a proposition that satisfies their need or desire thus the millions of dollars spent on diet pills sold with outrageous, even idiotic claims. Or the number of people who blithely poured money into Enron stock but who couldn’t explain Enron’s business on a bet. But if the proposition does strain credibility, massive effort should be invested in making the incredible credible, the unbelievable believable.
- They do not trust the marketer/sales person – Again, not often the problem. ‘Credibility’ is of decreasing importance. People gamble at invisible casinos online and deposit money in invisible banks. Still, you should always address the issue anyway with whatever reassurance exists that the person or entity behind the proposition is real, established, will be around tomorrow, and has expertise in the field.
- Do not believe they can do it – Here is one of the biggest factors, often neglected by the marketer. A person may believe a proposition and believe others can do it but lack belief in his own ability to do it. He may, for example, believe you can get rock-hard abs by rocking back and forth on a doohickey for 20 minutes three times a week but doubt he will have the discipline to do the rocking. A business owner may buy the proposition that sending a monthly newsletter out to his customers will increase business but “know” he lacks the time, organized thought, or discipline to get it prepared and into the mail. In most cases people privately acknowledge that they lack discipline, self-motivation, persistence, willpower – whether you’re selling to CEO or broom pusher. You NEED to address this.
- Do not believe the value represented. Typically in presenting price, you will be striving to establish (a perception of) high vale, then discounting from that established value to your actual selling price, with a variety of rationalizations and explanations for the discount(s). This works because everybody loves bargins, nobody likes paying retail – except in rare cases where their ego is fed by bragging about over-paying. However it cannot work if the value isn’t accepted and believed. This requires care, comparison, stories about the difficulty of making the thing or rarity of it’s own ingredients, and use of many other value-building devices taught throughout my works.
- Unwilling to pay the price – Regardless of value, the prospect may simply be unwilling to pay the price. You can, in fact, price yourself out of a market (although it is much more common to err in the opposite direction). If this problem affects you, it is usually repairable not just through copy or sales method, but via more adept selection and targeting of the appropriate customer. For example, I have a Gold+ VIP member who is a top DUI attorney, and is now charging significantly higher fees than his peers in his city. The marketing answer to this has less to do with ad copy or personal salesmanship than with targeting and attracting individuals for whom DUI is of gigantic economic impact. The factory worker who loses his license has one set of problems which translates to a certain willingness to pay “x”; but the long haul truck driver may be willing to pay “x+”, and the entrepreneur “x++”.
- Unable to pay the price – This is why we sell on installment terms. And even rich buy that way. If you are selling anything even slightly “pricey” for your market, you will always boost sales by offering financing options.
- Cannot justify purchase to others – to boss, to co-workers, to spouse etc… In some cases, a person must justify it, in other cases he only feels a compulsion to do so – but just about every customer has the FEAR that he will be confronted, called on to defend his buying decision, and criticized or made fun of it he is unable to justify it. Better give him the ammo.
- Competition – Can have a real effect in two scenarios – one, where there is an established vendor relationship or source; two, where the thing being sold is perceived as a commodity and/or is easily comparison shopped. The second scenario can be short-circuited by packaging products and services together to thwart apples-apples comparisons and/or by highlighting provider expertise, an exceptional guarantee or some other non-commoditized element. The best approach is to design your entire marketing process to lead to selling in a competitive vacuum. When you must deal with visible competition, your challenge is to “match and surpass” everything they offer OR carve out and focus on things they can’t or won’t do.
- Bad timing – The only difference between salad and garbage is timing. If we could control timing, marketing would be ridiculously easy. Sometimes, an irresistible offer, easy payment terms and other factors can overcome bad timing: a company may buy a new piece of capital equipment 6 months sooner or even before it had even occurred to them, if the right offer and incentives are put forward; a person might buy a new couch “early” for the same reasons. In some cases, bad timing is really a reflection of reaching the wrong segment of a list – for example, many in the newsletter business have much better results mailing another publication’s recent expires than its newest subscribers. Often, though, the only answer is continuously, constantly, repetitively, frequently being in front of the same (well-selected) prospects day in, day out, week in, week out until you are there at the right time. this is a basic premise of my entire MAGNETIC MARKETING SYSTEM – (a) you must somehow compile your own list of target prospects (a “farm”), and (b) you must “work your farm”, and know that harvest season follows three investment seasons.
- Inadequate urgency – Keep the picture of a somnambulant sloth in mind. Moving people to action isn’t easy. (Look at what I go through to move you.) Procrastination is the overwhelmingly favored human behavior. Is your offer so strong and reason(s) to act instantly so compelling that – as had to happen in “the old days” – your prospect would immediately fill out an order form, write a check, put a stamp on the envelope, bundle up, go out in a blizzard, and drive 10 miles on dangerously slippery roads to get it in the mail before midnight to beat the postmark deadline (like people do on April 15th with their taxes)???? If so, you might get him to click order now with their computer.
- Fear of loss or dissatisfaction – Everybody owns things they bought that failed to live up to promises and expectation, that never got returned, and money was wasted on. they are around the house or business as a constant reminder. No one likes peeing away money or feeling ripped off. Strong assurances are required. And in some cases, open acknowledgement of previous disappointments are appropriate in copy. For example, over the year, I have bought and experimented with over 50 different kinds of advertised, hyped gloves to keep hands warm outside in bitter cold (for me, while driving in harness races.) None are worth squat. The catalog copy that got me to buy the last pair I bought included the following:”You have undoubtedly bought, tried and been disappointed by other gloves claiming to keep your fingers toasty warm even in sub-zero temperatures. Promises made but promises NOT kept. But these gloves are different…”
- Ego in way – If a person has to admit, even privately, to himself, that he is in any way “inadequate”, that he needs advice, help etc…especially from a peer, look-out – especially men. After all, real men do not read instruction or ask for directions. As Titanium Member Ron LeGrand says, “We have testosterone.” In peer marketing within niche industries or professions, where I do a lot of work, this is especially significant. But it comes into play at all levels – say, selling a DVD course on gardening to people who pride themselves in having “green thumbs.” You have to get past their egos to make a sale.
- Not emotionally involved or motivated. Often, marketers get caught up trying to sell people what they should want, need or ought to have (vs. what they really want), and it’s always a losing battle. If the prospect is not emotionally involved in the subject before you arrive, you are operating in a very frigid selling climate. This is why the richest marketers start with the “starving crowd” and work backwards with product and offer development. It’s also why Lead Generation is so powerful, and why response rates sending the same offer to people who requested it from a lead generation ad are so much higher than if sending the very same offer to the very same people “cold.” Many marketers never fully grasp this.
- A resistible offer. Most advertising makes no offer at all. Most of the advertising that does makes very ordinary “plain vanilla” offers. Watch Ron Popeil sell his food dehydrator on TV; he could not sell it purely presenting it, its price, and a discount. He must create a series of discounts, pile on bonuses, have a ticking click deadline, etc.
- Difficulty of purchasing – Here we must juggle doing business to fit our preferences with making it easy for customers to buy, and offering them as many options for doing so as possible. I think the cell phone business is among the most competitive, yet the other day, after 25 minutes in a cell phone store, I was unable to buy because the process was so complicated, choices too confusing, salespeople inept. Many businesses have a strong, thriving Sales PREVENTION Department.
- Weak Close By Seller – Whether in copy, in print, face-to-face or from the platform, timidity in closing the sale is a huge downfall for the majority. I increasingly see, counsel, struggle to fix sissified, scaredy-cat “closers”. Zig’s quote – “Timid salesman have skinny kids” – applies. (Suggested reading and reference: Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig; The CLOSERS.)
- Seller’s bad Reputation – Quite often, as a consultant, I have been assured by clients that their customers love them and/or that they have a powerful brand identity in their market, only to find out that the exact opposite is reality. Disappointing response is OFTEN caused by the seller’s poor reputation or relationship with his customers, and disappointing response should be an alarm bell to objectively investigate.
This list was originally published as a part of GKIC’s No B.S. Marketing Letter Exclusively for Gold Members. If you’d like to get this type of money-making information delivered to you each and every month…click here now to get $633.91 of Money-Making Marketing Information, Free Tickets to an Upcoming GKIC Fast Implementation Bootcamp ($497 for non-members) and Two Full Months of the No B.S. Marketing Letter.