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Today we’re tackling the third in our “three ways to make it easier for your prospects to take action” series – we’re talking about objection reversal. If you haven’t heard them already, also check out the previous two episodes, on scarcity and urgency. Ok? Ok.
Let's take it from the top.
Transcript & Shownotes
Welcome back to Naomi Explains Marketing, the show where I help coaches, consultants, experts, authors, and other associated nerds, geeks and misfits sell the contents of their brains for cash money. I am your host, Naomi, and today we’re tackling the third in our “three ways to make it easier for your prospects to take action” series – we’re talking about objection reversal. If you haven’t heard them already, also check out the previous two episodes, on scarcity and urgency. Ok? Ok.
Let’s do this.
When we first try our hand at selling stuff, we tend to focus on features, benefits, and outcomes. This is because jerks like me keep yelling at you to talk about features, benefits, and outcomes.
Those aren’t the only things that matter. We don’t just buy everything that sounds cool. Because if all we cared about was features, benefits, and outcomes, we would buy literally everything that had anything going for it. Like,
“Holy crap, that house has a roof! Snap that baby up quick!”
“But… you have a house.”
“Who cares? Stop quibbling and get me a pen!”
If the features, benefits, and outcomes are the pros of a product or service, then the drawbacks, downsides, or deal-breakers are the potential cons. The prospect reads our lovingly crafted sales copy outlining all the snazzy pros our thing has, and then they come to the only reasonable next question, which is “okay, what about the cons?”
Their unique, individual objections are their cons.
So, your new coaching program, say it comes with weekly accountability sessions and dedicated text support, and it will help me achieve my goals faster. Awesome. I believe you. But we’re not just done. I don’t just whip out my credit card.
Now we move onto my potential issues. I can’t pay the whole thing up front. My schedule is erratic. Do I have to learn some new tech on some new app? Because I do NOT want one more goddamn inbox.
These are this prospect’s objections. And you can have all the weekly accountability and text support that you want, but I’m not buying if you can’t intuit that these other things might matter to me.
However! If we can do a reasonable job of being empathetic and speaking to their concerns, we clear the obstacles between “maybe” and “hell yes”.
So, what do you need to know about objection reversal? A few things…
First, keep your explicit reversals to a minimum. An explicit reversal is if the seller comes right out and addresses that you’re concerned about something. Like, “Worried about the price? We’ve got you covered”, and then they go on to pitch you on their awesome payment plan. Explicit reversal a valid sales tactic, but if you do it too much, you look like an infomercial or like you’re selling used cars. It has a slickness to it that isn’t on brand for many experts, coaches, healers, and the like.
Now, used sparingly, explicit reversal can communicate a lot very quickly, so you don’t want to dismiss the technique entirely. But too many and you’re starting to sound defensive.
The alternative you want to use more frequently is implicit reversal. You’re going to work out what their concerns are, and you’re simply going to preempt them in your features and benefits section. Like, you’re hosting a weeklong retreat and instead of just talking about the curriculum and the teachers and the food and the primal movement sessions at dawn, you also let them know you have cabins for families and activities for kids. It sorta resolves the “ok, but what the hell do I do about my kids?” issue before it comes up. In implicit reversal, you don’t say, “I know your kids are important to you, and you’re wondering, ‘how could I possibly get away?’” No, you just say you have family cabins and daycare and trust they’re clever enough to make the connection.
Next, although you’ll sometimes hear them used interchangeably, objections are not the same as doubts. Doubts happen when they don’t totally believe your claim, or they don’t believe your thing will work for them. Objections come when they absolutely believe your claim, but there’s something standing in their way. Doubt is “I’m not sure your course is as gamechangimg as you say it is”. Objection is “I don’t know if I can make the live calls.” Doubts are, “I’m not sold”. Objections are, “I’m sold, but…”.
Many times, we inadvertently try to reverse objections by reassuring doubts, and this just sounds like defensiveness. You see this in sales pages all the time. In some section on pricing, they reference the price or “investment” and instead of engaging on facts, which is the confident approach, they just start laying on more sales copy. “This is an investment in your future.” “Think of how awesome it’ll feel.” “What’s it worth to you to have blah blah blah?” This isn’t addressing the price, or payment options, or logistics. It’s trying to spin the prospect into not minding the price. It feels evasive, and that erodes trust. So when we’re reversing objections, resist the urge to start defending your offer’s value. I know it’s good. You know it’s good. You don’t have to defend it.
(One exception on the “more sales copy” front: some good copywriters will weave legitimate objection reversal into what looks like slick sales copy. If a potential objection is “I’m already behind on four courses right now!”, addressing a pricing concern with “remember, you get access to all four modules for life” is actually subtly addressing that. It can spark thoughts of, “well, I guess I can pause this and come back when I’m less busy” and it can be very effective. Just make sure you’re addressing real concerns here and not just restating a few random features.)
Next, and this one matters: Given the audience you’re targeting, don’t stereotype or oversimplify your objections. People buying coaching, healing, mentorship, growth workshops, personal and professional education and development – these people are not the masses. They are much less likely to self-identify with cliches and stereotypes like “busy parents don’t have time” or “broke students have no money”. If you are going to explicitly reverse an objection, try for some nuance and inclusivity in your copy. Consider the following copy:
“I get it. With everything going on in the world, not everyone has the same schedule as they used to. We’ve all had to make adjustments, to allow ourselves the grace to be more flexible. With that in mind, we’ve made some changes to our scheduling policy to make our workshop more accessible to a diverse community of attendees”.
It has a little more je ne sais quoi than “I know you’re a busy entrepreneur”. So don’t be afraid of going deeper with these people. They can take it.
Last, we’ll end on a trippy note.
When attempting to empathize with our prospects, *we tend to project our issues and insecurities on to them.* We have money issues, we assume our prospects are broke. We’re disorganized and never have any time, we assume our prospects have no time. We’re exhausted, we assume they’re exhausted.
When we’re too biased in our attempts at empathy, we end up addressing issues they don’t have… and NOT addressing issues they DO have. Like, you were broke as a joke and haven’t really healed from that. Now you’re charging $47 for a little course and you’re terrified other people will think that’s too high a price. So you spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about price, which your prospect doesn’t care about, and you never talk about whatever thing they do care about. So if you notice that the objections you’re trying to reverse just so happen to perfectly mirror your own insecurities, it might be a good idea to get an unbiased opinion from someone who maybe has a different temperament than your own.
With that, I leave you to write some glittering sales copy and/or watch DS9 reruns. Be excellent to each other, and have a wonderful day.
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