Turn Customer Objections Into Useful Tips
If you own your own business, you’ve probably heard many reasons why a prospective customer hasn’t bought your product or service. You could brush the objection aside or assume there’s no hope…or you could view it another way: free advice!
No doubt you did a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) assessment as you created your business strategy roadmap. But that’s an exercise that can—and should—be done more than once for your business. Ideally, you’ll complete a SWOT analysis at least once a year,including the information you pick up from your prospective customers (which can be invaluable.)
Think of it this way —unhappy customers or hesitant prospects can give you far more information than happy ones.
Tips to Get the Information You Need
When you do hear some negative feedback about your business, take a deep breath and follow these tips to elicit the most information for your business:
- Check your emotions at the door. No one likes to hear negative feedback, but it’s important not to react emotionally if you are going to gather information to use. Resist the temptation to argue.
- Listen—really listen—to what the customer is saying. Use those active listening skills: ask for more details and repeat the potential problem,as you understand it, back to the prospect. Often that can bring out new details.
- Ask open-ended questions. Questions that only elicit a “yes,” or “no” response won’t get you very far. Make sure to use questioning that encourages the prospect to give you more insightful information. For example, instead of asking, “Is our price too high for you?” try“Why do you think the price is too high?”
- Try to figure out what the real problem is. Sometimes what a potential customer says is a problem isn’t the actual issue.. So, when you’re asking your open-ended questions and talking with your prospect, you may find out that their original objection isn’t at all what’s stopping the sale.
Using the Weakness as an Opportunity
If the prospect doesn’t understand the benefit of your product, take a look at your marketing efforts. It may be that the material you have developed isn’t doing an adequate job of helping prospective customers understand your business. If so, you need to improve your marketing message or materials. Listening to the objections of the customer will give you a better idea of what you need to improve.
If the prospect tells you that a competitor is cheaper or better, you’ve been given a gift! You have the chance to find an overlooked opportunity to promote your business. This might even allow you to brainstorm some new ideas that you hadn’t considered before.
Or, the customer might tell you that they don’t need your product or service. If you feel that this prospect seems to fit your services, then you haven’t done a good job of selling your value. Maybe you haven’t explored all the angles or ways to sell your product. By pointing out these weaknesses, the customer has helped you find additional selling points. There may be many that you may not have even thought of.
Keep track of the problems or objections that are brought up to you and try to notice any patterns or trends. One complaint about high prices, for example, may not indicate a problem. But several complaints may indicate that you need to do some more work in establishing the value of your product or service.
Time to SWOT
You don’t have to wait for a full year from your last assessment to do another SWOT analysis of your business. If you’ve been gathering information and you see that you are stuck or not moving forward as fast as you think you should be, it’s time to reassess.
You may find that by using the new information gleaned from some of your reluctant prospective customers, you’ll uncover some opportunities that you never considered. Stepping back and considering potential opportunities and threats contributes to understanding any impacts on the success of your business and the direction you take — your marketing roadmap.
We’ve created a SWOT template for you to download and use as you begin your own journey. Having a visual way to organize your work is incredibly helpful. It’s a great way to communicate your findings to others.
If you would like to find out more about how strong your marketing foundation really is, take our free quiz and get your score (in four different areas) from one of our strategic experts. And, if you want to take the conversation a bit further, schedule a free, 15-minute call to discuss those findings. We can help you get started down the right road.
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.