Thursday, October 29, 2009


"Are you people total idiots, or what?"

Oh yeah, she'll be back.

Controlling Customer Objections On Line:

It Ain't Like Main Street

If you work in the world of commerce (you do, that's why you're reading this) you most certainly encounter customer objections - reasons the customer or client gives for NOT buying your products or services.

Now, in the 3-D, Main Street world, you hear these objections and address them as they arise. Face to face. That's what sales and marketing are all about. But, if you own a web-based business, there's no face time. So how do you address customer objections?

Anticipation. Preparation. Transparency. Trust. Your site text, the design, the look and feel - all of these should be targeted to address anticipated customer objections. The "push-back" as it's sometimes called on car lots. (Lots of face time, there.)

So, get ready for 'NO, THANKS' and a bounce rate high enough to cause a nose bleed. How do you handle the objections of site visitors? Well, if you know what you're doing, if you know your buyers' needs and expectations, it's not rocket science.

Check it out.

If you’ve built a career in sales you know all about customer objections. Objections are the reasons prospective customers give for NOT buying a product or service. It’s too expensive. It’s too complicated. I don’t really need it. These are common customer objections whether we’re talking about buying a new car or whatever it is you sell on your web site.

Even if you sell the best products or provide A-1 services, and even if you have the lowest prices on the entire web, you’ll encounter objections. Problem is, you won’t encounter them face to face in the world of e-commerce, which means you won’t have the opportunity to address objections face to face. Therefore, controlling objections must take place in the content of your website.

Additionally, in the real world, managing objections is reactive. The customer objects. The salesperson reacts with a counter to the objection. In the impersonal marketplace of the W3, managing customer objections must be proactive. Assume you will encounter objections and address them before the visitor clicks off to another site.

What Objections Will You Get?

Depending on what you’re selling, objections will differ. For example, most customers won’t be concerned with a long-term warranty on a $15 calculator. If it dies, buy a new one. On the other hand, if you’re selling $2,000 laptops, your customers are going to be looking at your warranties, guaranties, return policies – anything and everything that protects them from being ripped off.

And as a good citizen of the web community, you should have no problem posting warranties and return policies where they can be easily found and easily read! (Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on the guy who invented fine print?)

So what objections are you likely to encounter?

It costs too much money.

I saw it for a lower price.

I don’t have the money right now.

My old one is good enough.

It looks confusing.

I don’t understand how it works.

I don’t understand the guaranty.

I don’t (really) need it.

My (insert relation’s name here) would kill me.

Maybe another time.

There are plenty more. I’ve already got one; I want something with more features or fewer features (usually not the same consumer, btw); I don’t like the color, shape, size, design, feng shui or some other aspect of the product. The list is as varied as the customers who visit your web site.

And you better know what objections visitors will raise and proactively address them in your site’s content.

How Do I Address A Customer Objection?

Once you’ve determined which objections you’ll most likely encounter from site visitors you develop a strategy to address the objection before it even becomes an objection.

Example #1: It’s too complicated.

Okay, take a look at this 3-minute Flash demo that’ll show you how to assemble the (whatever it is you sell). You’re not addressing the objection with a long body of text explaining how to assemble your gizmo. You’re providing a clip that actually shows each step of assembly with text burns identifying key steps and just where Tab A is.

Example #2: It’s too expensive.

How will the product improve productivity or quality of life? Let’s say you’re selling hot tubs. You point out the benefits to the consumer. Forget product features. The “too-expensive” buyer must see personal benefit(s) in order for you to manage the objection.

“You come home from a stressful day, hop into the heated, soothing water, turn on the relaxing massage jets and feel the cares of the day melt away.” The buyer who believes “it’s” too expensive doesn’t care about the 15hp motor, the 18 water jets and the automated chlor-tab release. S/he needs to see personal benefit. Once that’s established, move on to features in you sales copy.

Example #3: I saw it for less at

If you can’t beat the competition on price – and many times you won’t be able to compete with big box store prices – time to highlight the quality of your service, your easy return policy and the fact that there’s no re-stocking fee. (Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on the guy who invented the restocking fee?)

Some sites offer a “Beat any legitimate price” guarantee. You can, too. Even if your price is a bit higher, most visitors won’t take the time to find the lowest of the low and if they do, you’ve lost a few bucks but have a happy customer – one who’ll be back to buy the accessories.

Example #4: I don’t want to buy a (fill in the blank) on the web.

Would you buy a $4,000 diamond engagement ring online? From a site you never heard of? Not many people would. Too many risks. For all the buyer knows, you’re selling “diamacroids” as real diamonds. And if you’re half way around the world, the buyer has no recourse.

Establish trust be establishing verifiable credentials. Member of the online BBB, certified by the Diamond Sellers Association of the World, graduate of the School of Gemology, 140 years in business, etc. You’d buy a diamond online from Tiffany’s because the trust factor is built in. Not so for – no matter how low Bill’s prices.

You get the idea. To successfully convert a visitor into a buyer requires that all objections be addressed in site content using a variety of media to get the job done. A Flash demo, an audio clip and picture of you, a picture of your factory, a virtual 360° tour, a step-by-step, idiot-proof assembly guide, 24-hour tech support – whatever works best to counter the objection.

All kinds of people will stop by your web site and each will come with his or her own expectations and objections. Meet those expectations and counter those objections right from the start. It’ll do wonders for your conversion ratio.

It’ll also keep your repeat buyer list growing. Why? No objections.

Call me.

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