As marketers we like to talk about all the good stuff while hoping prospects don’t think about or see the ‘bad’ stuff.
You know… things like cost, problems, competition and lousy reviews.
And yet, if we get up the guts to have these conversations with our prospects, we get to take control of the situation and more often than not we can make sales that otherwise never would have happened.
Lousy Reviews: Let’s say your prospect is on the verge of buying but still has a little bit of hesitation. They decide to check your reviews, and lo and behold there’s a negative one left by a hideous troll intent on ruining your business.
Okay, maybe the troll was sincere in what they said, which of course is even worse.
Your ‘almost customer’ reads the review and marvels at how close they came to making a mistake by buying your product, and you’re out a sale.
But what if you had done two things prior to this point in the sales process? What if you had taken care of that upset customer, made whatever was wrong, right again, and turned them into one of your best advocates? If an angry customer is sincere in their disgruntlement and not just playing you, then this is your chance to go above and beyond and turn them into your best friend, or at least someone who removes negative reviews and brags about your stellar customer service.
Once you’ve accomplished that, here’s what you do next: Write about it. From start to finish, from bad to good, tell the story of what happened that made the customer unhappy and how you fixed it. Yes, this is uncomfortable, but it also shows prospects that when something goes wrong, you make it right.
That prospect who would otherwise have found the negative review now finds a review extolling how you fix problems or she reads your post on what happened. Either way, you’ve saved an untold number of future sales.
Cost: Your product costs twice as much as anything else on the market. As soon as prospects comparison shop, you’re dead in the water unless you take action before this happens.
The best option is to position your product in such a way that you have NO competition. You are in a class of your very own and there is nothing else out there that compares.
If you can’t do this, then at least write a post or two on why your product is light years better than anything else.
The point is to deal with the price issue head on. Do not hope upon hope that your prospects will never look around to see what other options they might have. If you stick your head in the sand on the price issue, you will miss out of sales.
Competition: Setting price aside, there’s also the comparison of your product versus your competitor’s product. Instinct might tell you to either NEVER talk about the competition, or to trash them if you do. Both options are wrong and will cost you sales.
Instead, praise your competition whenever possible while making it clear that as good as they are – and they are good – you and your product are even better for ‘X’ number of reasons. A great way to illustrate this is a chart showing everything that you provide versus what the competition provides.
If you can’t make a chart that shows how you provide far more value than anything else on the market, it might be time to rethink your product. If you can’t add features and benefits, maybe you can focus on targeting one certain market and doing it incredibly well. For example, your competition helps small business owners with marketing. You, on the other hand, are THE expert on flooding restaurants with new and repeat business. They’re the ‘every business’ guy, and you’re the restaurant guy. Who is a restaurant owner going to trust more? And for that matter, who will the restaurant owner pay more for their services, the restaurant expert or the jack of all businesses?
Problems: I guarantee there are not just problems you solve, but also problems you create.
I’m sure you’re already talking about the customer’s problems and how your product solves those problems. That’s marketing 101. But you also need to address the problems of your product as well.
Let’s say you’ve got a terrific software program that does everything the customer could possibly want, but the interface looks completely outdated and clunky. Yes, that is the next thing on your list to update, but you’re afraid that if you show prospects a demo of your software, they will think your entire system is outdated based on appearance.
This is something you need to talk about right up front. Go ahead and tell them that yours is the best software out there with the ugliest interface because you have spent all your time and resources where it counts and not on window dressing.
Let them know you’ll be jazzing up the interface in the next quarter, and once you do, new subscribers will be paying more for it. But when they subscribe to the software now they get the BEST solution to fix their problems at a discount just because it hasn’t gone through its beautification cycle yet.
Not covering these uncomfortable topics can erode trust and bite into your sales. But speaking openly and upfront about things like price, competition, poor reviews and challenges can save your sales and make you the provider people like and trust.