Risky business: Customer beliefs that are derailing your sales

Lisa D'Andrea
Aug 12, 2019
Marketing

Recently, we replaced our dog Harley’s lumpy old $20 Kmart bed with what I’m pretty sure is the Porche of dog beds. Let me tell you, this luxe, memory foam cloud is quite the upgrade. Hell, I’m pretty sure it’s better than our bed.

I’d been thinking about getting her a new bed for a while, but this fancy-pants edition wasn’t cheap as far as dog beds go, so I spent some time browsing their website and reading reviews and looking at other beds.

Was as good as they said? Would lose its shape like her current sad excuse for a bed? Would she claim it as her new chew toy? Was it worth the money? For every single one of my questions, there were answers, testimonials and videos. I couldn’t fault it. So I bought it.

For every purchasing decision, we all wrestle with this balancing act of gains vs losses. 

Because consciously or not, we all wonder—

  • Will it perform as well as they say it will?
  • Will it bring me joy?
  • Will it increase or decrease my social status?
  • Will I get a return on investment or lose money?
  • Will I be able to successfully integrate this into my existing way of life?
  • Do other people like me use this product/service?

As business owners, we need to be intimately aware of any perceived risk or objections our customers have. Because, when we tackle objections head-on, we have a much better chance of winning the sale than when we leave them uncontested.

Does your website address customer objections and concerns? If not, you could be missing an important piece of the puzzle in achieving your conversion goals. So today, let’s chat about what’s making your customers pause instead of pulling the trigger.

Identifying your customer’s beliefs

I’ve found that there are usually 4 big types of beliefs that derail sales.

1. Your brand

The big question here is ‘do my customers trust that I can deliver?’. If they’re not convinced that you have the experience and skills necessary, or if they’re worried they're not going to get the level of service or professionalism they expect, they’ll be hesitant to buy. This is something that can affect new businesses specifically because often they don’t have the portfolio, client list, testimonials or proven track record to prove that they’re trustworthy.

How to overcome this hesitation:

  • Highlight any credentials and experience that you do have, even if it is experience gained from working elsewhere.
  • While you work on gathering customer testimonials, highlight testimonials from past colleagues or mentors that attest to your personal character and worth ethic.
  • Be sure to explain and show off the service experience on your website to help manage expectations.
  • Give away free value in the form of short resources, guides, or videos that highlight your expertise and show you know what you’re talking about. 
  • Invest in a visual identity and website that looks consistent, polished and professional. 
  • Offer a trial that’s free or reduced cost, or offer a less expensive starter/introductory service that requires less time and money outlay to prove that you can be trusted.

2. Your offer

The next big question is, ‘do my customers trust that my product or service will do what it says?’ If they’re not sure why your product or service is valuable to them, or aren’t convinced that they’ll see the results they want, they’re not going to buy. These objections can be related to past experiences with similar products or services that failed in some way.

Humans are a risk-averse bunch. Research has shown that when given the choice, we’d rather avoid failure than experience success. So, if your offer is something your customer has tried in the past that didn’t work, they’re going to avoid that pain at all costs.

How to overcome this hesitation:

  • Make sure you’re clear on how your offer is new and different. Explain what other similar products or services are missing or why they don’t work as well.
  • Focus on gathering customer testimonials and building case studies that prove that your product or service works for others like them.
  • Offer a trial that’s free or reduced cost, or offer a less expensive starter/introductory service that requires less time and money outlay to prove that your method works.  
  • Include a live chat or FAQs section on your website to address any nitty-gritty details that your customer might be wondering about.

3. Their capabilities

The next question is ‘do my customers believe that they have the capability to achieve success?’ These are the limiting beliefs that your potential customers have about their own abilities, skills and talents. Even if they believe in your brand and in your offer, your customers can be hesitant in buying due to their own perceived limitations. For example, believing they don’t have the technical skills, the body-type, the creativity, the dedication, the intelligence or the people-skills to succeed.

How to overcome this hesitation:

  • Show them proof of others with the same limitations. While you can’t control someone else’s beliefs, you can give them examples of people who had similar beliefs and overcame them to see results.
  • Tell them what’s not needed. People might wrongly assume they need certain skills or abilities unless you tell them otherwise. 
  • Give them support. If you know your customers seem to all struggle with a similar belief, consider offering specific support or customer service in this area. If you already offer support, be sure to highlight it on your website.  

4. External forces

The final question is ‘do my customers think that they can’t be successful due to some external limitation?’ These are forces deemed outside of the control of the person, for example, the economy, their salary, time restraints, or commitments (caring for kids or parents). Even if they believe in your brand, your offer and their own abilities, your customers can be hesitant in buying due to limitations they perceive as unavoidable and uncontrollable. 

How to overcome this hesitation:

  • Show them proof of others with the same limitations. Give them examples of people who were limited by similar external forces who overcame them to see results.
  • Ask them to question how much this external force really limits them.
  • Find ways for them to work around their limitations. For example, if they’re worried about not having time, you could show them how they could commit with a very small amount of time each day. Or, if they don’t have the money, consider offering a payment plan. 

As you get more familiar with your customers, you’ll also get a better feel for the fears, hesitations and beliefs that hold them back from buying. But, the bottom line is this—no one is going to buy if their questions and concerns go unanswered. So, don’t be afraid to tackle your customer’s concerns head-on.

So, tell me— did you uncover any hidden customer objections that you’d like to start addressing on your website? What will you do to help them overcome their hesitations? Let me know in the comments! And, if you liked this article, I’d be so grateful it if you shared it, even if it’s just with one other person.

Share