“Overcome their objections.”
“Establish a relationship.”
These phrases are the lingua franca of marketing and sales. And they are rude! Offensive to the very people they are referring to – the very buyers who are considered “the target market.” And they are a symbol of all that is wrong with marketing and selling right now.
Let’s take off our selling and marketing hats for a moment and look at these words from the buyer’s perspective.
Objections. I don’t have objections. I have valid concerns because of negative experiences with sellers. I’ve heard all the promises before. When I’ve believed the promises and bought, I’ve discovered how they were lying to me.
It’s no big deal when the disappointment involves small, inexpensive decisions. But it is a very big deal when my career or my business or my family’s financial future is on the line. That’s why I have learned not to trust the fancy promises. I have learned to doubt, and to question, and to talk to my friends (or working peers). It’s easier than ever to talk to other buyers or read what they’ve written online; I can gather a lot of data from talking to them before I ever talk to a salesperson, visit a website, or even go to a search engine.
I want answers. That’s all, just honest, accurate answers. But often salespeople focus on manipulation rather than knowledge and helpfulness. They treat me like an idiot who doesn’t know what I’m talking about. It’s tiresome, insulting, and it drives me away. I just don’t trust them.
Relationships. I’m not buying a relationship. I have plenty of relationships. I’m trying to buy a product or a service that meets a need. I just want that product or service to do what it is supposed to do. If it doesn’t, I won’t stick around.
Target market. Excuse me, but I am not a target. I know you like to think of me that way, because I may be interested in your product or service. But don’t treat me like a target. I am an individual with needs, and I’m hoping someone can meet those needs. Thinking of me as a target doesn’t make you think of me as an individual. It just makes it easier for you to insult or injure me.
Convert them. Nobody wants to be “converted.” If we see someone coming to convert us, we run as fast as we can in the other direction. What if I’m already sold on the idea of buying from you, before I even contact you? What if I’m already “converted” in my mind, in the sense that I have pictured finding, buying, and using your product, and I know exactly how I want it to go? What if the only thing keeping me from carrying out this scenario is you – because you’re not making it easy for me to find you, get my questions answered, trust you, and buy from you?
Personas. What if I went to a restaurant, and the waiter never came over to take my order. Instead, he took a look at me and decided, based on what I was wearing, what I would want to order. This is what personas remind me of. You may think you know who I am. Does that mean that you know what I want to buy and how I want to buy it? Not necessarily. [Too many marketers build personas without ever personally interviewing their customers.]
Push. Pull. Both of these words are insulting. I’m not a donkey. I’m your customer. I’m the source of your revenue. I’m going to pay for your retirement or your kid’s college education. Don’t push me. Don’t pull me. Get to know me, and then help me.
You can easily find out what future customers want from you, and how they want to buy it, IF you interview current customers after the sale, by phone, and ask open-ended questions. (Yes, I teach you exactly how in my book.)
Their answers will help you start treating your customers like human beings.
Future customers will see that you “get it” and are able to help them. They will literally go out of their way to do business with you.