Have you ever had a customer tell you they can get whatever you’re selling for free elsewhere?
Worse – were they right??
I used to sell social media training – perhaps one of the most readily-available free topics on the internet. But despite the abundance of free information, I was still very successful at selling my $1,000 training program.
How did I do it?
That’s what I’m going to teach you today.
But a word of warning before we get started: this isn’t an article you can breeze through in 2 minutes.
The information below is advanced stuff, and I go in-depth into how to make it work for you in your business. It’s so meaty, it could honestly be a full-day workshop. It could also be the basis of a full month of private coaching with me.
For now, go ahead and make yourself a beverage, grab a pen and paper, and get ready to learn something.
If you’ve ever had a potential customer tell you, “This sounds great, but I think I can get it cheaper – or even free – somewhere else,” you know how demoralizing that statement can be.
Because on the one hand – they’re right! Cheap and even free information is available everywhere; and even physical products are available for lower and lower prices all the time. It can sometimes seem like it’s impossible for you to compete.
But on the other hand, you know that what you offer is MUCH BETTER than whatever they can get for free or cheap somewhere else. And it makes you mad that they can’t see that!
But unfortunately, getting mad isn’t going to solve the problem for you.
What DOES solve the problem is a carefully thought-out game plan for how to respond when customers tell you they’re just going to go look for it cheaper somewhere else.
When you have a game plan for what to say, you’ll watch as customer after customer “magically” says yes – even when they know they have cheaper options.
They go from saying, “I think I can get this cheaper somewhere else,” to suddenly nodding their head, rubbing their chin and saying …
… “I can see that the cheap or free option really won’t work for me; and what you’re selling is actually a fantastic value. Let’s do it – I’m ready to buy!”
Wanna know how to create this “magic shift” in your business? Great!
This blog post shows you how.
But Wait – Isn’t This Whole Thing Kinda Sleazy?
You might be thinking at this point that I’m about to show you the WORST kind of sleazy salesmanship …
… slick techniques so malevolently powerful that innocent people forked over a THOUSAND dollars for something they could have gotten for free, if only they hadn’t fallen prey to this evil menace. LOL
If that was true, it would be very sleazy indeed. And as the author of the Amazon bestseller, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sleaze-Free Selling,” I would sure be talking out of both sides of my mouth if I did that!
To show you how this isn’t sleazy at all, let me remind you of the 3-Step Sleaze-Free Sales Formula I described at length in my book:
- Awaken Your Customer to the Fact That They Have a Problem
- Demonstrate That Your Solution is the Best Solution for the Customer’s Problem
- Make it Easy for Them to Say Yes to Buying From You
The relevant step for today’s blog post is Step #2 – because it assumes that your solution is in factthe best solution to your customer’s problem.
So let’s pause and ask ourselves – is what you’re selling better & more helpful to the customer than whatever they can get for free elsewhere?
Yes? Great. My $1,000 training program was too.
But if it isn’t – if your potential customer can completely solve their problem with some free stuff they found on the internet – then it would be very sleazy indeed to try and charge them money for it.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way …
We’ve established that:
- Your product or service is, in fact, the best solution to your customer’s problem
- While they could maybe get something like it for free or cheap elsewhere, the free solution wouldn’t be nearly as valuable to them as your product or service
- It’s therefore your responsibility to DEMONSTRATE that they won’t get the solution they’re after if they go with anything other than your product or service
So now let’s break down how you do it.
The 4-minute video clip that I’ve based this blog post around (see video below) is an excerpt from a stage presentation I used to do several years ago.
On this particular occasion, I was speaking in front of about 150 small business owners, and my goal was to sell copies of my $1,000 home study course, “Fast Track to Social Media Success.” (which is no longer available for sale, by the way)
If there’s anything that the internet has a lot of free information about, it’s social media – right?
So if I was going to succeed in selling MY information for $1,000, I really had to do a good job at demonstrating why it was in fact worth it, even when there was so much similar information available for free.
Remember that a lot of people were sitting in the audience thinking, “I don’t have to buy her $1,000 course, I’ll just go find this information for free online.”
And as long as they were thinking that, there’s no way they were going to buy.
So I had to get them to understand that the free information available online and elsewhere would NOT solve their problem; and that the best solution to their problem was in fact to buy my course.
What I Could Have Done – That Wouldn’t Have Worked
Of course I could have just said all that.
I could have explained that “you get what you pay for”
I could have made the argument that a lot of the free information online was no good, and/or was targeted toward a different kind of social media user, with totally different needs than the entrepreneurs sitting in the audience.
I could have pointed out that the task of wading through all that free information would take hours, days or even weeks … and that therefore, investing a bit of money in my course would actually be the less expensive route.
But that would have just been a lot of boring words.
My audience would have glazed over and started checking email on their phones under the desk.
Have you ever tried that approach?
Have you tried explaining to your customer, using rational and data-driven arguments, that the free and low-cost options aren’t as valuable as what you offer?
If you have, you’ve probably noticed the same glazed-over look in their eyes. And worse – it doesn’t work, right?
The alternative to spewing a bunch of words your potential customer won’t hear anyway is to capture their attention in some creative way – like what I did in the video.
What I Actually Did – And Why It Worked
I overcame this key objection – “I’m sure I can go find the same information somewhere else for free or cheap” – with a fun & interactive segment that was far more engaging and persuasive than any verbal explanation would have been.
It worked for a number of reasons, that go deep into the psychology of sales. So strap on your seatbelt – I’m about to get ninja here for a minute.
As you’ll see in the video, what I did was I gave away a bunch of books written by other people about how to do social media. This was fun and captivating – every single person in the room was paying attention to what was happening, and was in a state of peak excitement.
After bringing them into this peak state of positive emotion, I then “crashed” them. I popped their bubble – first emotionally and then logically. And then I perfectly timed the emotional wave I’d set in motion so that it had maximum impact when I began my close.
In case I lost you in that last paragraph, don’t worry – I’m going to explain it all in detail after you watch the video.
I warned you this wasn’t going to be intro stuff, didn’t I?
Take a moment now to watch the video below, then keep reading for an in-depth explanation of why each part of what I did was essential.
Step 1. Create An Experience
The over-arching reason why this technique worked is because throughout this video clip, I created an experience for my prospective customers, I didn’t just talk at them. This ensured that I had their attention – an absolutely essential first ingredient in any sales process!
Have you ever walked into a meeting with a customer, flipped open your PowerPoint and watched their eyes glaze over almost immediately? Then you understand how important it is to captivate their attention.
Instead of just using words to logically explain to them why free stuff wouldn’t solve their problem (as I detailed in the previous section), I DEMONSTRATED it.
There was action, there was motion, there was fun and laughter, there was even a bit of competition … All of which is far more engaging than a steady stream of words would have been.
In short, I got them to pay attention to me, rather than tune me out.
Step 2. Empower Them to Make Their Own Decision
When a customer chooses to buy, it is far more powerful than when you, the salesperson, tries to talk them into a sale. In order for this to happen, the customer has to start thinking actively about how to solve their own problem.
Before that can happen, of course, they have to acknowledge that they even HAVE a problem.
In my case, that was already pretty well taken care of. I had made a compelling argument earlier in the presentation that convinced them that their current social media setup was sub-par and they needed to do SOMETHING to change it.
But having your customer simply acknowledge the problem isn’t enough. They have to get into committed action toward solving the problem.
In my case, it wouldn’t have worked to just get them thinking, “Yeah, my social media sucks. I need to do something about that,” and then let the thought go flitting out of their head as soon as they went to lunch.
I needed to get them thinking, “This is a problem – what can I do about it? And what can I do that I will actually DO, rather than just think about?”
In my case on the video, I got them thinking about the solution to their problem by giving away some books.
The books I chose to give away had great titles. So each time I read one aloud, the audience members thought to themselves, “That book sounds perfect! It sounds like the exact solution to my social media problems. And I can go buy it for just $15, if I don’t get the free one she’s giving away.”
In other words, I got them thinking about taking the action of going out and buying a book, as a way of solving their problem.
This is critical, so let me repeat it. I got them into action (mentally) to solve their problem.
But keep in mind that I didn’t it do it by haranguing them and nagging them – I did it by leveraging their brain’s own natural propensity to get into action solving problems.
Step 3. Bring Their Objection into Full Color – So You Can Thoroughly Tarnish It!
At this point I’ve gotten their full attention, and they’re already mentally taking action to solve the problem I’ve laid out for them.
BUT … they’re still thinking to themselves that there’s a cheap, easy solution – the books I’m telling them about. As long as they think that, they’re never going to buy my $1,000 solution.
So before I turn the tables on them in the “crash” – the point where I tell them that no, the free and cheap stuff won’t work for you after all – I want to make sure they’re really, really WANT a solution to their problem.
That’s why I gave away FOUR books, not 1 or 2 or 3.
The variety of different books made sure to catch the interest of as many audience members as possible; plus, it extended the length of time that the whole thing took.
This allowed the fantasy to really take shape in their minds – imagining themselves leaving the seminar and getting started solving their social media problems … feeling so clever because they’d gotten everything they needed in a $15 book and didn’t “waste” their money on my $1,000 course.
Step 4. The Big Reveal
Just when their emotions were at the most peak state, I burst their bubble.
First I delivered a joke that got a big laugh; but then I went on to explain how each one of the books I’d just given them for free would not in fact solve any of their problems.
So I took them from a peak of enthusiasm – “Yeah, yeah, that’s a great free resource that will totally help me!!” – to a valley of dejection – “Rats. I guess that won’t work after all.”
And I was very careful to do it emotionally FIRST, then followed it up with logic.
Because that’s how all humans make decisions. They decide that they want something; then they use logic to justify how they’re going to get it.
Another fact of human psychology is that once a person has started working on solving a problem, it’s hard to make them stop. I’d gotten their brains fired up about how to solve their social media problem; and when they realized their first solution wasn’t going to work – the free books – their brains started looking for an alternate solution. Conveniently, I provided one to them – my $1,000 course.
Step 5. Transition Smoothly Into Your Offer
All this provided a terrific segue into my pitch. Instead of the audience quietly groaning and rolling their eyes when I started to sell, I got a huge laugh.
And because of how I’d carefully planned out exactly what I said, I got very, very good sales results
Step 6. Go Do This In Your Own Business!
I hope that by watching the video and re-reading my explanation above of why it worked, that you’ll be inspired to create a game plan of your own.
So the next time a customer starts to think they might be able to find a cheaper solution someplace else, you’ll be prepared to create an experience for them that convinces them otherwise.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you in fact providing a better solution than what they can find for free someplace else?
- How can you get your prospective customer thinking about a solution to their problem, without you having to spell it out for them?
- How can you demonstrate that your solution is the best one?
To get personalized, individual help with answering these questions, you can set up a free Breakthrough Call with me. On the hour-long call, we’ll discuss how you can apply the lessons of this tutorial to your business.
And, if you think the help I give you on the free call is terrific and you want more of it, we can talk about the options I offer for private coaching and consulting.