Would you agree that people are ... of any ... or business owner? And that this ... is part of the ... problems we all face?The reality of America in the new ... is t
Would you agree that people are skeptical of any salesperson or business owner? And that this skepticism is part of the marketing problems we all face?
The reality of America in the new millennium is that no one believes in anything the way they used to! They are extremely skeptical.
Does this describe your prospects, or what?
Well, let’s look at their psychology to see what’s in there. They still want something very important to them.
They want someone who truly cares about them. Who has empathy and compassion for them. Who wants to make their life better.
So, if they want this very badly, and they don’t believe anything any more, how do we bridge this gap? Let's take a look at some surefire skepticism beaters.
1. Avoid going for the kill too soon.
We still see and hear this all the time. You know what I mean. “So, Mr. Haney, I would like to stop by and present my ideas on how I can help you with your carpet cleaning needs. You should learn how a professional cleaner would help you do what you can't do yourself. Would Friday at seven, or Sunday...”
Yes, people do this horrible stuff. Now, let’s think about it for a second. You pick up the phone, and some sales person says he would like to come over and tell you that you are stupid for trying to buy something by yourself. That you need him for your own good.
All you hear is someone trying make a buck off of you. Do you think this breeds skepticism?
If you are going to do cold marketing, you sure better build a slow and steady empathic connection with your prospective customer. Take the time to let them see you are really interested in them before you ask for the sale!
The right time to go for what you want comes around when the person’s defenses have been stripped because you were careful not to rush them.
And, yes, relationships can and do occur when prospecting. A relationship starts with your initiative, and it only has a chance to continue if you show people you have walked a mile in their shoes. That you are really interested in them.
2. Avoid making claims.
Everybody, and I mean everybody, hates claims. You know, a claim is some sort of statement that tells the listener that:
Your Whatever Is The Best Whatever, And That You Are The Best Person To Deliver The Best Whatever, Because Your Company Is Best At Making The Best Whatever, Because It Has More Experience And It Has A Bigger Office!
Believe me when I tell you, though, that this stuff falls on the deafest ears!
Read my type: No one is listening, and no one cares!
Your prospect is thinking, “You guys don’t impress me! I don’t want to hear how good you are. I don’t want to listen to more hype. I want you to...HELP ME!"
What a concept!
See, if your prospective customer senses a true desire in you to want to help them, they will be very likely to keep talking. If you pound your chest and brag about yourself and your company, they get nauseous.
3. Don’t talk about it, show it!
This is basically, “I’m from Missouri, so don’t tell me, show me!” An example:
In a postcard to a homeowner, the typical furnace guy says, “We have worked with hundreds of homeowners like yourself and we know you need to act right now...”
Instead, what if you came to a prospect and said something like, “~ . .Are you really sure you want to get a new furnace right now? I’d hate to have you make a decision in haste. Don’t you think you’d be better off waiting and sleeping on it? I know how worried you are, but a new furnace is a really big decision. You’ve got your other bills and everything How about if I call you in a couple of days, and see if you still feel the same way?”
Anyway, you get the idea. We are not telling the prospect we understand them, and care about them more than ourselves...We are showing them!
Any customer would immediately know that you have been there. That you know exactly what their life is like. That you have a deep sense of empathy. That you are one with them. That you are into their psychology.
Now, when you communicate empathy for their life like this, do you really need to start bragging? Haven’t you beaten all the skepticism away? Aren’t you proving your case without displaying all your credentials?
If you’ve entered into someone’s life the right way, it doesn't matter about all your years of providing the highest level of integrity, trust and service. Or, your company’s 100-year-old reputation for being the best.
Talk is cheap. And, everybody is so busy laying out all the cheap talk, they are missing the invaluable success that comes from having empathy.
Sure, people like to know that you and the company are for real. Of course they don’t want to write checks to “Fly-By-Night Company.” But, you must get this message. Since everyone is so busy bragging, the prospects don’t pay any attention to it. All your degrees and background will be a “nice to have”…later.
But, if you don’t ever get a chance to meet with them in the first place, what difference does all your test-passing make?
Isn’t prospecting the art of getting in front of people who are interested in what you can do to help them? So, save all that professional stuff for later, after you have some interested party across the table.
4. Get testimonials and references.
Another way to show people what you can do for them is to have other satisfied customers tell them for you. Either in writing or on the phone. People will be much less skeptical if they see that other folks have found you, in fact, to be the legend you are in your own mind!
The very best testimonials to overcome skepticism are the ones that say how they didn’t believe you at first, and were so pleasantly surprised after they used you. By agreeing with the prospects’ natural skepticism—and then blowing it away—the whole thing becomes much more believable and real!
5. There’s comfort in crowds.
Some of you have rely on things like Customer Dinners or Customer Appreciation Days. These are events that bring groups to you, with referrals in hand. Think of the beauty of having a referral come to a function, of seeing a whole bunch of happy campers. The “safety in numbers” syndrome will alleviate all of the skepticism they may have brought with them, I assure you. People will correctly assume that if all these others like you, then you must be legit.
6. Get the objections out of the way, right away.
There is a very common, but erroneous, assumption in marketing that you should never bring up anything that’s negative. That you must always be “perfect.” Well, I've got some bad news for you. You aren’t, and your prospects know it!
Therefore, one of the best things to do in any marketing piece is to admit your faults and explain why they will not be a problem. Let’s look at an example:
The “professional” thing to say about an independent, smaller company is usually, “We offer the highest level professional service, in a personal way.”
Instead, how about admitting that being small has some drawbacks, but that the benefits outweigh the weaknesses? Like, “Yes, we are small, and we might not have the resources of a huge company, but we can look at the very small tasks, while taking care of you in a personal way that no big company could ever do!”
See the difference? By admitting to your fault, you make prospects feel that you are legitimate, and not full of typical hot air. Do you think this type of admission will help reduce skepticism? It does!
This is very important, because believability equals trust. And trust equals money.
7. Give people a guarantee. (If you can, of course!)
When a person is on the fence, a guarantee can do the trick. You may be concerned that if you guarantee end results, people will take your ideas and suggestions, and then run and do business with someone else!
Well, let me assure you that while there is a chance of that happening, it happens very rarely, if ever. Why? Because most people who turn to you for help are not looking to rip you off. And, even if they were, the small amount of trouble is overcome by all the fence sitters who did business with you because of a guarantee. If you are willing to back up your product or service 100% and tell people they have nothing to lose, you will eliminate skepticism big time.
Those are the 7 secrets. There is nothing more powerful than demonstrating genuine empathy. Nothing. People are always attracted to others who empathize with them and their lives.
If, on the other hand, you “sell” instead, you’ll bang your head against the wall!
Why not make things easy and show empathy? It shows you want to help and want to share information that people are interested in.
Without all the sales hype, you really can penetrate the skepticism barrier.
See if you can think of other ways to build empathy, and then see if you can keep track of all your new sales (and profits)!
Steve Robichaud and Andrew Wroblewski have been involved in direct sales and direct marketing since Moby Dick was a minnow. http://www2.direct-response-marketing.net email: firstname.lastname@example.org To learn the 11 Secrets of Direct Response Marketing, send a blank email to mailto:email@example.com