I was on the phone with him, selling him an IT training package…
This goes back a few years, when I worked for an IT training publisher in Oregon.
You could tell he wanted to buy.
He’d looked at other companies’ training, but was on the phone with me.
He’d studied the instructor’s bio, and knew the guy had credibility.
He knew the training had been designed from the ground up to meet the exam objectives, to help him study for getting certified.
Everything seemed to line up, but he still wasn’t buying…
Him: “You say you’ve sold a lot of these?”
Me: “Yeah, we’re selling them every day.”
Him: “And people are using them to get certified?”
Me: “Absolutely, we have stories and testimonials on our website, and I talk to people all the time who are buying the next training after they just used ours to get certified.”
Me: “So, are you ready to get your order in, so we can send this out to you?”
Him: “… I don’t think so, not yet.”
Me: “Well, what’s going on? What’s holding you back?”
Him: “I just don’t know if I can do it.”
Me: “I don’t understand. Do what?”
Him: “Pass the exam.”
This was the final objection…
It didn’t matter if a thousand or a million people had come before him.
They were them. He was him. And he wasn’t sure if he would be able to achieve what our product promised to help him achieve.
And that was all that mattered.
Remember: We’re all f-cked up, broken, and insecure.
We see everybody else from the outside in, and are convinced that they are somehow better human beings than us.
We see ourselves from the inside out, and know all our flaws and failures.
And so we can believe that even the most foolproof system for achieving our goals is destined to fail once we get our hands on it.
We can see the results. We can see the proof.
We can even be fully convinced that it’s not only possible but probable this product helps people attain whatever it promises…
And still, we’ll think we can’t do it.
We doubt our personal ability to succeed…
We doubt that we personally will be able to benefit from it. We doubt that we personally will be a good fit for it.
Maybe our situation isn’t right. Or we’re not skilled enough yet. Or we won’t be able to keep up and learn what we need to learn. Or…
We insert a million excuses, based in doubt and shame and feeling insignificant.
And it doesn’t matter if they’re irrational. It doesn’t matter if we’re flat-out wrong. It doesn’t matter if we’re being illogical in the face of overwhelming proof.
All these feelings are real.
And as long as these feelings remain, there will be no sale…
As a marketer or salesperson, this is the final challenge.
It’s not enough to provide all the proof and credibility and believability our prospect needs.
We have to make all of that personally relevant to them.
We have to make them believe that they personally will find success with what we offer.
We have to make them believe that yes, they can do it.
First, you must accept the feelings of personal inadequacy…
This seems counterintuitive, but stick with me.
Make sure you don’t try to shut down or stifle these feelings.
Make sure you honor them and accept them, and recognize them as real.
There’s no quicker way to lose trust than to tell someone they’re wrong to feel this feeling. Rather, you can get on their side by telling them that the feelings are real and right and valid things to feel, because they want to make sure.
If they feel like a failure because everything they’ve tried so far hasn’t worked, tell them you understand. And that it’s not their fault, because those different approaches were invalid or incomplete, or somehow wrong for them, not the other way around.
Then show how your product is designed to overcome those others’ design flaws, to make success easier and more automatic for everyone, including them.
Second, reverse the risk…
When I was selling IT training, I HATED that the owner of the company wouldn’t guarantee his products, and I told him so.
That’s the easiest strategy to implement to overcome this important objection.
Simply guarantee results.
Tell them that if they don’t get the result you promise, they’re out nothing. That you’ll refund them in full. And perhaps offer some extra token as a thank you for them giving you a try.
That puts the onus on you and your product, and takes the pressure off them.
They don’t have to worry if they fail, because if they do, it’s your fault and not theirs. And you’ll stand behind that with a guarantee on your product.
Third, show them how others like them have succeeded…
Here you get into customer stories. Preferably ones where someone in worse shape than this prospect was able to succeed.
And the closer your successful customer looked to where your prospect is now, the better.
If you’re selling moneymaking opportunities to high school dropouts, you better have good stories of high school dropouts who struck it rich.
If you’re selling weight loss programs for people who weight 300 pounds or more, your success stories better show people who started at that weight.
… And so on.
Even better if those stories have an emotional component where the customer that eventually succeeded felt completely down and out, like they’d never be able to achieve this goal. And then, with your product, they did.
Finally, hinge it all on how your product is different…
Most buyers in a market have tried quite a few different products or solutions that have promised the same results.
And, they’ve failed with them.
Which is a big part of why they feel like a failure.
If your product comes across as another me-too version of what they’ve tried, it’s easy for them to say, “I won’t succeed with that, either.”
But if your product has a clear differentiator, that can be the mechanism they grab on to as the reason why they can expect that this time is different.
Pile that on top of everything above, and you’re likely to get through this last objection and onto the sale…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,