opinion

Overcoming NEW Objections in a Downturn Economy

Joe D
Everywhere you go people are talking about the economy; you can't escape it. How deep we are in recession and how it will run its course is still up for debate, but for those who work in sales, marketing and advertising, the reality or perception of a downturn economy brings up a whole new realm of objections to overcome in order to make that sale.

Just flipping on the radio during a commute recently I heard three different “economic tips” telling consumers to halt credit card spending and reduce expenses. The Internet entrepreneur inside me just kept screaming, “No! Don’t tell them that! They just finally felt safe whipping out that credit card!” As a result of such advice, in-store sales are dropping to all new lows – and, this just in, online shoppers have even begun to abandon their virtual shopping carts and cancel memberships.

So what can you do? How do you overcome an objection as big as a “recession” that most are calling the biggest economic hurdle since the Great Depression? When people had money, your psychological approach was different – more options, more variety, encouragement to get the biggest and the best – everyone, it seemed, was competing with the Joneses.

When people don’t have money – or are scared about not having money, job security, layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts and other worries – it becomes a whole new ballgame. Combine that with credit line reductions and limit and rate changes, and the heretofore dependable recurring credit card model is springing some leaks. People are looking for deals – discount offers, multiple products or site access at a single rate and BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals. Unfortunately, people are also looking hard at their buying habits to find areas where they can cut back, defer to future spending or eliminate completely. The phrase “I could live without that” has become their new mantra.

More than ever before, the return customer is key to your business survival. One way to get old customers to come back is to send them discount codes via e-mail mailers. Forget the hard sell – send them a “heads up” that you are giving discounts to return customers. Deals such as a straight up 5-10% off, or a $5 discount off a $30 purchase for product sales are a great way to get their attention.

For virtual sales such as membership site access accounts, try giving bonus site access to additional content – don’t just throw it in as a package; let the consumer choose from several options so he/she feels as if they are getting a customized deal made just for them. Send a special discount code embedded in the e-mail, or make it a part of the “click here” link so that the discount deal will show up automatically in their shopping cart and give them the discount immediately.

Whatever creative ways you have to overcome these top sales objections and attract new customers while renewing the interest of past customers, make sure you think it out and do it effectively. Many times, a poorly constructed marketing plan is more damaging to your site’s credibility than if you had done nothing at all.

Make your customers feel safe and secure, but also let them know that they are getting a good deal on a solid product or program. It will take a bit of finesse and you will definitely need to change your approach, but you will begin to see the results of your hard work through increased sales and consumer confidence – it’s worth every effort, and all the time you can spare to put into it.

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