If you’ve ever done door-to-door or cold-call sales, you know that people on average are more ready to say “no” to buying something, joining a group, or doing whatever it is you want than “yes.” It’s not even close. It doesn’t matter how ideal the prospect is, how perfect the product is for them, we’re hardwired to say “no” first.
Now obviously, sales is a numbers game, and you can make the numbers work in your favor by going after the right kind of people for your offer, being a friendly and effective salesperson, and other factors that boil down to working smarter, not harder. But I won’t be going into that this time.
Today, let’s talk about objections.
Specifically, the 5 most common, universal objections or doubts people will have to your offer, whether that’s buying your product, accepting your free gift in exchange for their email, or even clicking your pay-per-click ad.
I strongly recommend you memorize these objections and write down ways to specifically use what your business has to offer, and the niche you work in, to overcome that resistance and get more customers.
And I’ll show you how. 😉
This isn’t just about selling in person or over the phone, by the way. These concepts are universal to sales and marketing, regardless of business type, and should be implemented in all of your advertising, outreach, content production, or whatever you’re using to get customers and make money.
Let’s crack open this oyster.
Doubt #1: No Time/Too Busy
It sounds good. I’m just really busy. I don’t think I have the time to commit to it right now.
If you’re an entrepreneur pitching something and the prospect says they have no time, tack on “for this” to the end. That’s the truth. Unless someone is living in an action movie, most people in the free world have the time to do something, or the opportunity to shuffle their schedule and create the time. But people are hesitant to make time for new things. They don’t want to feel busier than they already do.
Now, often, people just overestimate the time something will take, so all you have to do is convince the person that it won’t take very much time, right?
Wrong. You cannot dissolve a doubt or objection by directly defying it.
“This’ll take me too much time.”
“No, it won’t because XYZ.”
Would that work on you? No, I’ll give you something much better.
People may not have the time for the thing you really want out of them, such as to buy your product, training course, etc. But for the right advertising, they’ll make time. That’s because it’s not really about having time or not having it. It’s about feeling busy. So distract them from feeling busy by giving value in your marketing.
This, by the way, is how we have a supposed crisis of entrepreneurs with too little time on their hands, while at the same time TV streaming service usage numbers are higher than ever. Streaming TV shows takes priority, because it dissolves the feeling of being too busy.
This is a good rule to follow in all e-commerce, and why content marketing works so well. Your advertising should be giving value that cuts past people’s sense of “how much time will this take?”
This is tricky to offer examples for, because it’s so broad. But here’s a few:
- Excellent copywriting made to tell a story and drive emotions, rather than employ logic and statistics to bore the reader into submission. First get their rapt attention, then they’ll agree with you.
- Superb site design and user experience, plus convenient content. For example, most sales pages these days don’t just have text, but also a video, because most people prefer to watch a video than read something. In general, your site’s text should be big, easily scrollable, and full of highlighting, size variances, and pictures to keep the visitor’s attention. Don’t leave it all static and bland, like a research paper.
- Lead in with pure value instead of a sales angle. I got onto Jason Capital’s email list from the lead page for his book, which had ONLY a video, no text, and spent 10 minutes with him in a hot tub talking about the theory of being wealthy and what entrepreneurs don’t understand. It was very interesting, because it both appealed to me and wasn’t obviously selling anything yet. Later, he talked about his book, and I signed up because I wanted to hear more about what he had been explaining.
Entertain people, educate them, inspire them, whatever they’re most looking for, provide some at the outset. Don’t sell them too quickly or too brazenly. Be the opposite of a timeshare seller, hooking people into an hour-long seminar. Lead with the giving hand. People always have time for something they want or need. You can ask for something from them later, once they’re invested.
Doubt #2: Seen It
This is nothing new. This is old-hat. This doesn’t work as well as it once did. This is outdated.
Provided you really aren’t selling something obsolete, of course, the key to solving this doubt is to create promises that your audience believes in. How do you do that?
Imagine you trip and badly hurt your ankle. You get a cast and crutches, but it doesn’t seem to be getting much better after several weeks. Finally, you go to the doctor, and then get redirected to a podiatrist (foot and ankle doctor), someone specialized to understand your problem. After hearing you out and doing an exam, they tell you the exact damage you’ve received, along with why it hasn’t been healing right, and it corresponds accurately to what you’ve been feeling.
The podiatrist tells you to do a certain exercise twice a day, and your foot will heal in a week. They promise that it’ll work. They’ve seen this problem and fixed it countless times with what they’re suggesting you do.
Would you trust that person’s advice or prognosis on what to do to heal your foot? Probably, because they accurately diagnosed your problem in a time when you didn’t know what was wrong. They know the problem better than you do.
Things online take more time to become obsolete than most people assume, but that’s not the real point. When people say that they’ve seen or heard something you’re selling already, they may be right or they may not, but you need to preempt or circumvent that reaction by first diagnosing a problem of theirs. Then, present the product you’re selling as the solution.
Notice how, again, we’re not contradicting or defying what the customer says, because that doesn’t work. whether they’re right or wrong, whether the information is old or not, whether the information even loses value by being old or not, NONE of that matters.
Information is only relevant to the right person at the right time. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, was published in 1936, and it’s still a top recommendation by modern entrepreneurs because it teaches universally important concepts and is written in an accessible, skilled way. If someone has a problem with their social life, I’m recommending them that book. But I’ll make it clear I’m offering it because it helps people with their problem. It did when it came out, and it continues to do so.
When you do this right, you are basically saying “Yes, this might not be new, and that’s good. It has stood the test of time and helped a lot of people. Most importantly, it has the best chance out of anything to help YOU.”
It doesn’t matter how old antivenom is. If you’re bitten by a rattlesnake, you probably want to get some, quickly.
Doubt #3: Not Interested
It’s just not my kind of thing, sorry.
This one’s easy. Anything can be interesting if it pertains to an urgent problem. Similar to doubt #2, you need to diagnose a problem the person is dealing with and then agitate that problem. Remind them of what a bother that problem is.
Let me share with you a little conspiracy theory of mine.
You know how when you go to the dentist, or any doctor, for something that’s causing you pain, they have you express that pain on a 1-10 scale with a little chart? I don’t think they do that just for their own records.
When you make the customer quantify “I am suffering this much.” even if the amount is something low, like a 4, expressing it makes it more conscious in their mind. Remembering pain or irritation just makes it worse, until finally we can’t take it. We want it fixed, we want it gone, whatever it takes, as soon as possible.
And nothing is more interesting than the solution to a long-held, agitating problem.
Doubt #4 Yeah Right
I don’t believe you. This is a scam. I bet this will drain my bank account, make me sick, and embarrass me in front of my friends, all at once. And you won’t care, because you’ll have my money and you’ll be long gone!
The only way to defeat pure skepticism is with proof, and there are three kinds for our purposes. Social proof, demonstrations, and credibility.
1: Social proof is anything that suggests the approval of other people. Testimonials from happy customers, a high number of positive reviews on platforms like Google Business and Amazon, you name it. Just starting out? Suggest social proof in your copy. Talk about the important people you deal with or talk to, people whom knowing would impress your target customers.
2: Demonstrations are self-explanatory. If you’ve watched any informercial, like for Flex Tape or the Slap Chop, seeing the product in use, in various, sometimes wacky or surprising situations, is pure demonstration gold. They don’t just have to be for physical products, though. You can demonstrate digital products by showing the results they got for you, or for others. It’s similar to testimonials only instead of a detailed story, it’s the key takeaway. For example, One Minute Free Traffic advertises itself by showing the crazy traffic numbers and earnings the Rhodes Brothers and others have made with their free traffic method.
3: Credibility is the hardest form of proof to get, but very powerful in exchange. You don’t have to be a PhD or anything. If you reach out to experts in relevant fields and get their positive takes and approval on what you’re doing, that goes a long way. You don’t even need to go that far with it. Chase Amante, a dating coach, stands out by backing up his statements with boatloads of quoted segments of psychology and human behavior studies. He didn’t have to reach out to them for their statement. He just looked up studies on what he was talking about and used stats that proved his ideas.
We have a funny connection that we make in our minds, as human beings. We are obsessed with the impression of proof and certainty.
Take a minute to zoom out of the Matrix and think about this. Why do we consider things like social proof, which is mere popularity, so important in determining whether something is a scam or not? Why do we trust people more easily just because they’re in a position of power or authority? People abuse authority all the time. Why do we assume a product will be good just because of positive reviews? Everyone has stories of not liking something the majority liked.
I don’t want to disenfranchise you from reality, but it helps to see this from the widest perspective. The desire to see “proof” that someone is trustworthy is barely relevant at best. Someone brand new with no reputation could be totally on the level, and a doctor with decades of experience could be committing fraud. You never know. Sure, the proof provides peace of mind and makes it easier to avoid the really obvious scams, but that’s about it. Proof is for peace of mind first and foremost.
Give people peace of mind and present yourself and your business as credible, using the three forms of proof, and as much of them as you can. Even a little is better than nothing.
Doubt #5: Later
I don’t need to buy this right now. I’m not ready. Can I check it out sometime later?
Later is never, that’s the truth in internet marketing, because it’s also true about most things that intimidate people. When I hear “I’ll think about it. ” or “I’ll look at this later”, in the context of selling, I generally interpret them as opposites. “I won’t think about it.” “I won’t look at this later.”
The desire to wait something out and put if off from the present moment comes from a sense that things are not as they seem. It’s similar to doubt 4, but more subtle.
Dean Jackson, brilliant marketer and writer, once wrote on the concept of cheese and whiskers. It makes for a very good metaphor on this objection.
Imagine your customer as a mouse. The mouse has two objectives: to avoid cats and to get cheese. In that order. If the mouse sees cheese, but it sees even a hint of whiskers anywhere nearby, will the mouse risk it and go for the cheese? Absolutely not.
People really are like this. They put things off and freeze up at the slightest hint that waiting is safer. If you want to circumvent that doubt, you need to create a perfectly clear path. All cheese, no whiskers. To do that, you need three things:
1: High Value: Under-promise, over-deliver. Your customer needs to be so impressed with what you’re offering, they need to think “This is too good to be true. What’s in this for you?”
2: Confession of Desire: You admit to your customer exactly what you want from them.
“I’m offering this free course so that later, down the line, you might be interested in some of the higher-level paid courses I sell. That’s what I’m aiming for, and it’s fine if you decide you don’t need anything besides the free one. I’m also happy to offer that service and help people with it. But I want more students to my paid courses. That’s why I’m offering the course for free, full disclosure.”
Once someone clearly understands what you want, what you get out of them saying yes, and it makes sense, their tension vanishes.
3: Urgency: The cheese is tasty, what looked like whiskers was just strands from a broom, now what? Now it’s time for the mouse to hear the cat coming downstairs. It’s not here yet, but it will be soon.
Now’s the time. Create urgency for your customers with countdown deals, special offers that expire, and the sense that the deal won’t be so good next time.
The easiest way to do this in internet marketing is to just tell people “I will raise the price on this soon.” Then actually do it. It sounds a bit harsh, but show people you mean business, that you don’t offer unfairly beneficial deals all day, every day, to people without the nerve to take a little risk and grab them in time.
If I had to put this down to 4 key things you can do, to circumvent all 5 of these doubts, it would be:
1: Provide value in your interactions with the customer, especially in advertising. Make people feel something legitimate when they encounter your brand.
2: Diagnose an urgent problem that your product can solve.
3: Establish proof that makes the customer trust your position to diagnose their problem.
4: Agitate that problem and emphasize urgency and limited time.
You’ll face off against these doubts in all of your marketing adventures, but if you’re prepared, you’ll see that more people were prepared to buy from you after all than you first thought.
Now then, I could use a pot of coffee. Have a good day! 🙂