Imagine this… 

You’re on a sales call with a lucrative, extremely qualified prospect. And it’s going great! 

You’re on fire. You ask strategic, no-nonsense questions. You listen to their story with the patience of a therapist, or a lifelong best friend. And you present what might be the strongest pitch you’ve ever done for your offer. 

Not to be overly optimistic, but this feels like a done deal! 

You’re already visualizing the payment notification popping up in your bank account…

And then your prospect asks you a question. 

A simple one. A question you should have been prepared for. And you are! 

…Or so you think. 

You respond the best you can — but something in your delivery or in your argument feels ever-so-slightly off to your potential buyer.

So they choose not to invest in your offer. Or worse — they thank you for your time and tell you need to sleep on it. They’ll get in touch.

(You both know they won’t.)

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.

We’ve all had a sale slip away because a prospect threw us a curveball question. And today, I want to teach you how to handle some of the toughest — yet most common! — customer and client questions.

For each, I will share with you how that question usually sounds, what your prospects really mean when they ask it, and how you want to respond in a way that makes you look good…

…and boosts your chances to close the deal.

This week’s article will be especially useful if you sell via sales calls, but you can adapt these responses into copy on sales page FAQs, live chat messages, emails, DMs, etc.

So, today you will learn:

  • How to elevate your offer above all competition — with effortless grace and class
  • The #1 way to cure a prospect’s fear of failure and risk, guaranteed
  • 3 perfect counters to the weirdest excuses you might hear from customers
  • What to tell a skeptic who thinks they can “do it on their own” for free

Sound good? Then buckle up and let’s begin!

Aaand we start with a doozy right out of the gate…

Pictured: gameshow-style environment where a mustachioed host in a gray suit with a blue tie is asking customer questions of the three contestants: white guy with brown hair in a black collared shirt; white man with a black beard and stache wearing a dark green jacket and a pastel green shirt; and a white woman with chestnut hair not quite shoulder length, wearing a turquoise pantsuit

 

“Why should I choose you instead of [competitor]?”

What they actually mean: “I want to go with the best option for my needs and goals. The idea that I might miss out on something better is upsetting, and enough to make me not decide at all. Please show me why your product / service is the best fit for MY situation specifically.”

Oof. Having to compare your brand against a competitor in front of a prospect is one sticky situation. Especially if said competitor is bigger and more recognized than you!

Do you take the high road — and risk losing a valuable buyer, because you didn’t advocate for your business hard enough?

OR…

Do you choose brutal honesty — and still risk losing a buyer, because bad mouthing the competition is a bad look (as I’m told the kids say these days)?

Well, pop the champagne and prance a merry jig, because you don’t have to do either!

As you can see above, your prospects don’t care if your business / offer is objectively better than any of your competitors. They only want to know if you’re the better fit for them — for their unique challenges, needs, goals, and background.

So that’s where you want to focus! 

When you hear this question, structure your response like so:

  1. Remind your prospect what they need / want out of your working relationship. Reference what they’ve told you earlier — or if they haven’t, use this opportunity to find out.
  2. Honestly state how you can help them achieve those wants and needs. Then, contrast and compare it with your competitor’s capabilities.

Trust me when I say: there’s always a USP or a competitive edge you can emphasize.

Going up against a giant corporation? Your prospect will get the kind of bespoke attention working with you that they’ll never get from them.

Your competitor has much more to offer? Well, you specialize in doing a select few things exceptionally — not doing everything under the sun in a passable fashion!

Is your product more expensive? That’s because it’s uniquely suited to meeting your customers’ needs, and you prioritize quality and fit over cutting corners.

You get the idea.

Your response should be: “I hear you. Of course, you want to make sure you’re choosing the best option for your needs — just as I wanna make sure it’s a perfect fit before we proceed.

“Now, you’ve told me that you’d like to achieve X, Y, Z results by [DATE]. Here’s how our solution will help: [permission to brag about your offer]. You could go with [Competitor’s Name], for sure — however, [compare and contrast].

“If these results are what you want, then I believe we are the better fit for you, specifically, than [Competitor’s Name]. What do you think?”

 

“What if your solution doesn’t work?”

What they actually mean: “Any buying decision is a risk, and I feel understandably scared and anxious about it. Can you reassure me that you have my back, and I’m not about to make a big mistake?”

Don’t take this one personally. 

Even if you were a literal wish-granting Genie with unlimited cosmic power to make all their dreams come true… your prospect would still be asking this question.

And with a real-world offer that, by definition, isn’t perfect? Of course the fear of risk and fear of failure are a factor! That’s a good sign, though; it means your potential customer / client is seriously considering what you’re putting down. 

Now, you can’t convince them that your product or service will never, ever fail. But:

You can guarantee that, if it does, you will protect them — by assuming most (or all of) the risk.

I am using the word “guarantee” here literally. Your offer needs a compelling and (ideally) creative guarantee behind it to pull your prospect into decisive action.

This could be:

  • A simple money-back guarantee, with or without conditions: e.g. no questions asked within 30 days.
  • A “value-added” guarantee that leaves the buyer better than you’ve found them. E.g. “money back + we’ll pay you $XXX to hire a replacement.”
  • A results guarantee, where you actually say “if you do the work but don’t achieve X result by a certain time, we will be obligated to refund you.”

Etc.

A mouth-watering guarantee that feels outrageously good to your prospects can be a powerful driver of sales. But even a simple promise of “30/60/90 days or your money back” goes a long way to persuade potential buyers to invest in your offer!

Your response should be: “I’m really glad you asked that. I believe that our company should get to succeed only if YOU succeed. That’s why we have our guarantee in place… [describe the guarantee].”

 

“Will this work for me if [insert weirdly specific excuse here]?”

What they actually mean: “I’m trying to talk myself out of saying yes, but I have zero legitimate reasons to say no. That’s why I’m reaching for implausible excuses. Please give me a reality check, so I can feel confident moving forward.”

The truth about buying decisions is — even the best and highest-motivated prospects can, and often will, look for a reason not to commit.

Even if that reason is so superficial it crumbles apart the moment you examine it closely.

And why would they do that?

Well, to your potential buyers, the comforting complacency of remaining just as they are often outweighs the potential discomfort of making a change. Loss aversion is a powerful thing.

But at the same time, they want to say yes so bad! And it’s only out of that reflexive fear that they reach for unlikely excuses like:

  • “Does this course work for people outside of the US?”
  • “Is your career advice book relevant if I’m happy with my job?”
  • “What if I’m in the X industry, will your product work for me?”

And so on. Honestly, the exact phrasing doesn’t matter — it could be literally anything!

But the common thing hiding behind all these questions is the need for reassurance. The need to be called out (gently), and nudged towards a yes. 

How? Well, it depends. Let’s take a look…

Your response should be: unlike before, I can’t give you a script for this. Just know that there are three ways you can tackle this type of question.

  1. Counter with the right success story. If you have helped someone similar to your prospect: living outside the US, speaking English as a second language, 40+ years old, working in a niche industry, etc etc… Share that story with them. It doesn’t have to be 100% identical — just similar enough. Nothing motivates people like hearing about the runaway results achieved by others like them!
  2. Speak to the diversity of your past + current clients and customers. Dazzle your prospect with just how many different kinds of people you’ve helped. Tell them that’s what makes you so confident that you can help them, too.
  3. If #1 and #2 aren’t an option because you’re brand new to the market — re-focus on the problem and the goal they want to achieve. Reassure them that you have the right solution that works across a wide range of circumstances… and if they face any additional challenges, you will work with them extra hard to adapt the process to their needs.

 

“Can’t I just do this on my own for free / buy [alternative] for cheaper?”

What they actually mean: “I have not thought this through, so I feel totally unjustified optimism about the quality of cheap alternatives / my ability to figure stuff out by trial and error / the amount of time and energy I have available to throw at the problem. P.S. Also, I haven’t factored in opportunity costs AT ALL.”

Don’t you just feel warm and fuzzy inside when a prospect carefully considers your product or service — your baby, your life’s work, the thing you’ve invested countless hours, dollars, and smarts into…

…and then they go: ayup, pretty sure I could get the same quality and results myself for free / buy from someone else for 10% of the price?

It’s so nice to have your offer valued appropriately. 

*holds up a 6-foot neon sign that says “SARCASM” *

OK, let’s not be mean. Like I said, your prospects are only thinking this way because their basis for comparison is all out of whack.

They are weighing up the pain and inconvenience of spending money — a.k.a. investing in your offer — with the imagined perfect scenario of getting the same benefits for free or on the cheap, with no downside.

But there is a downside!

For example, there’s the opportunity cost of spending years learning everything they need by themselves, through painful trial and error, piecing things together from freely available information…

Or the risk of buying a subpar product just because it was cheap — and then coming back to you after all when it breaks 3 weeks later…

Or the danger of hiring a cheap replacement for your expert services — and losing thousands of dollars because of shoddy work, missed deadlines, and reputational damage…

I could go on.

To counter this question, you want to remind potential buyers about those not-so-obvious costs, risks, and uncertainties — gently, but firmly. And then your offer will seem like a no-brainer by comparison (which it is)!

Your response should be: “I get where you’re coming from. I encourage you to consider all the options available. I want this to be the perfect fit both for you and for us — so we should only go ahead if you truly believe we can help you achieve [recap the goals and results your prospect cares about].

“I’m here to support you in making an empowered decision. So let’s examine those alternative options and see how they compare in terms of money, time, and energy investment, risks, and ROI… [explore other options together]”

 

Remember what they REALLY want to hear

And finally, before we wrap up, I want to leave you with one key mindset that should guide your responses to questions like these…

9 times out of 10, when a prospect asks you a question, they aren’t looking for information. Not really.

In fact, you can’t counter these questions with information alone — most of them are too subjective, too hypothetical, or both!

So… what are your potential buyers actually looking for, then? 

What do they want and need to hear from you?

That’s simple. They want you to:

  • Acknowledge their concerns as valid, no matter how far-fetched they seem.
  • Reassure them that you have their best interests at heart, and a plan.
  • Validate their power to decide what’s right for them, even if they don’t buy.
  • Remind them of those goals and needs they desperately want to achieve.

If you can do that with your responses, you’ll be able to turn even the most scaredy-cat prospect into a decisive and eager buyer. Remember that.

And now… go get ‘em!

 

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