It’s a problem as old as time: you create a product, but people aren’t buying. Even if you have plenty of traffic, your visitors aren’t converting.
Your first reaction is: “There must be something wrong with my product.” Motivated to get more sales, you invest all of your time reworking and retooling. You use up all of your energy making your product better.
It’s a common reaction, but it’s dead wrong.
In most cases, the problem isn’t your product. It’s your positioning.
You don’t have to change your product to get more sales. (Unless there’s something horribly wrong with it, which there probably isn’t.)
Instead, you have to overcome customers’ objections, showing them that your product is exactly what they need. You have to help them get to the yes.
Let’s talk about the top three objections most people have, and what you can say to help them overcome those objections and say yes to making a purchase.
OBJECTION #1: “I’m a special case. This product probably isn’t right for my unique needs.”
This objection is so commonplace, it’s almost funny. What happens is, customers view their own situation as “special” and worry that your product won’t work for them. Even if their situation isn’t really special at all, the belief is still there, standing in the way of buying your product.
We call this the Unique Unicorn Complex.
Sometimes people’s situations really are unique. For example, our Co-Founder Keith was looking for a good budget tracking software that could handle both dollars and yen, because he live in Japan and has clients in both Japan and the U.S. Most software didn’t have the capabilities to handle his special situation.
But for most people, the Unique Unicorn Complex is an illusion, and it can be solved with just a little bit of assurance from you.
A great example of this would be someone who wants to learn to play poker better, but doesn’t often go to Vegas. They want to learn, but they think their situation (rarely going to Vegas) puts them at a disadvantage for taking your Play Poker Better course.
THE SOLUTION: Super-targeted testimonials and FAQ
Nothing helps someone overcome their Unique Unicorn Complex like hearing from a satisfied customer who is in their exact same situation. In the poker example, you’d include a testimonial from a customer who rarely goes to Vegas but still got a lot of value out of your course.
Here’s another example.
Let’s say you sell an introduction to Spanish course. Some people aren’t buying because they are absolute beginners with no previous Spanish-language experience, and they’re worried your course might be too advanced.
What do you do? Put up a testimonial from a student who had no previous Spanish-language experience, and found your course easy to use and super effective.
Also use your FAQ page to overcome these objections. Add a question to your page that says something like: “I’m an absolute beginner with no Spanish-language background. Will this course work for me?”
The answer is: “Yes! This introductory course is specially designed to be easy to follow for people who have no experience speaking Spanish.”
OBJECTION #2: “This product is too expensive.”
The “price” objection is a tricky one, because anyone who says “price” is the problem isn’t telling you the whole truth.
People will pay—and pay a lot—for just about anything they deem valuable. People buy cars, appliances, vacations, clothes and entertainment without a blink of an eye if they think it’s worth their money.
But if they see something that doesn’t seem worth their money, they won’t buy it, no matter how low the price. You could lower your price to five cents, but if someone doesn’t think it’s going to pay off, they won’t waste their nickel.
This is sometimes referred to as the Cost-Performance Ratio (CPR): “a product’s ability to deliver performance for its price.”
So, when someone says your product is too expensive, what they really mean is they don’t think it’s going to deliver enough value for the price. And that means you haven’t sufficiently explained why your product is worth it.
SOLUTION: Keep the price where it is, and prove value
The solution is not necessarily to lower the price. Unless you’re selling your product for 5 million bucks, lowering your price will rarely solve the real problem. And there will always be naysayers at any price, so don’t sweat it.
What you have to focus on is showing why your product absolutely will deliver value.
Here’s a good example: We were working with a client on selling his eBook that teaches people how to get free airline flights. We sold it for the standard $37 eBook price, and we also did a one-time sale for $25.
Yet, some people were still complaining it was too expensive!
One way to overcome those objections was to offer a 6-month guarantee. If customers didn’t get at least one free flight in the first 6 months, they would get a 100% refund, no questions asked. At that point, the product was basically free. You either got yourself a free flight, which would be somewhere around $300, or you got a full refund and lost no money.
This was really helpful for winning over some buyers, but it still didn’t win over everyone. Remember, there are always naysayers at any price. We were offering them what was basically a risk-free, no-cost product with the potential of getting a free $300 flight, and it was still “too expensive” to some.
Which, of course, was a bogus accusation.
But it does prove that lowering the price is a losing game. The solution is to show how people will get value in specific, concrete ways (like a free $300 flight).
OBJECTION #3: “I think you’re sugar-coating things. What are you not telling me?”
Sometimes, when everything on your sales page is all sunshine and roses, people get suspicious for no reason.
Unbounce explains why, using this study of Amazon user reviews:
While the star ratings themselves didn’t influence sales, the variability in star ratings positively influenced sales.
In other words, if a visitor sees nothing but 5 star reviews, they get suspicious.
Keep in mind that this is on Amazon, a trusted brand where the default assumption is that the customer reviews are real. This skepticism can only get worse if the user reviews are on a platform they’ve never seen before.
In short, while a plethora of negative reviews is going to sink your product, a collection of excessively happy customer reviews will have your visitors crying “Fake!”
Not only that…
Amazon once did a study where they actually promoted negative reviews for more people to see. The results were not what you’d expect. Instead of buying less, people bought more.
The truth is, when people can see all aspects of a product—both positive and negative—they ultimately feel more comfortable making a decision to buy.
Most of us like to evaluate the content of negative reviews ourselves. A review might talk about one specific drawback, but if that drawback is not a big deal to us, we’ll buy anyway. And we’ll feel even better about buying, because we know the whole story and have made our own independent decision.
SOLUTION: Be honest about the negatives
You see this on sales pages all the time:
“Don’t buy this product if you’re X, Y or Z.”
“If you want a product that does X, Y, Z, this is not the product for you.”
Or something along those lines. For example: “Don’t buy this Spanish-language course if you’re already a native speaker. You will NOT learn anything you don’t already know, and it will be a waste of your money.”
Turning customers away goes against standard sales logic, but it’s very effective. It shows that you’re not trying to trick anyone into buying something that’s not right for them. It also makes you more trustworthy.
Basically, you’re using the same “negative review psychology” that Amazon uses, without having to put negative reviews on your own sales page.
Here’s another interesting way to modify this technique:
Let’s say you’re selling an advanced Spanish language course. You could put something like this on your FAQ:
Question: “I took high school Spanish, but I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Is this course right for me?”
Answer: “This course is probably not the best choice for you. You should start with a beginner course, like my Intro to Spanish course. If you don’t do that, this could be a really difficult course for you. If you go the extra mile, though, you may be able to catch up.”
Notice how you didn’t say “NO, this is NOT for you!” You left the door open.
Notice how you also referred them to another one of your products as a better choice.
Notice how you put the students’ success on their shoulders. You made it really clear that their outcome depends on how hard they’re willing to work.
If they don’t buy, it’s no big deal, because the product isn’t aimed at them and you told them that honestly. If they do buy, and they succeed, it’s like a bonus.
And if they buy and the course is just too hard, and they ask for a refund, they know they were warned in advance. Their failure is their fault, not yours.
Before we finish up here, take a peek at our of my favorite comics. Isn’t this how we all look at reviews?
(This is why we always tell people to write 4-star reviews.)
We’ve covered three common customer objections and their solutions. Now it’s time to put these techniques into practice!
Two things for you to do:
- The next time you hear from a customer about why they aren’t ready to buy, approach it with the above ideas in mind. Don’t think of it as a negative thing—look at it as an opportunity to make a positive change and help a customer overcome their objections. Remember, it’s not a problem with your product, it’s a problem with your positioning.
- Make a spreadsheet! (No, really, this is going to be fun.) Go through all of the emails you’ve gotten from prospective customers. Create three columns: name, reason for not buying, and REAL reason for not buying. For example, if someone says, “I’m a teacher, and I’m not sure your product will work for me,” the REAL reason is “Unique Unicorn Syndrome: Occupation.” See if you notice a pattern in the real reasons people aren’t buying. Then, make a change in your marketing materials to address that problem.
We encourage you to go the extra mile to identify people’s real objections, not just the things they say on the surface. Always fix your positioning before you try to fix (non-existent) problems with your product.
You’ll have customers saying “Yes!” in no time.