I heard an ad on the radio the other day from a fellow selling a real estate investment program. One of the things that really stood out was how he emphasized just before giving the 1-800 number to call, “You can make big money in rental property, and you don’t have to be a handyman.” This is undoubtedly counter to the frequent “Yeah, but if you own rental property you have to get up and go fix the tenant’s toilet at 2 A.M.” or “You’ll go broke doing all the repairs that come with rental property” objections that accompany this type of investment.
Typically, the best time to address an issue, concern, or objection in the marketing or selling process is when it arises. However, if we know in advance that there is an ongoing concern, or that the customer’s perceptions of our brand are based on inaccurate information, and that a specific objection is likely, it’s not a bad idea to bring those to the forefront and address them before they are even raised. In come cases, this gets the objection out of the way so our relationship with the customer can begin.
In fact, sometimes handling a “negative” up front can be turned into a benefit! In the classic The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, the authors praised Avis Car Rental for their “We’re #2, So We Try Harder” campaign. After striving to be number one, they realized they weren’t going to get there, so they said, “You know what, forget about being number one in the market, let’s be number one with our customers. Let’s focus on what we can ultimately do value-wise for the customer, not on what we want to achieve.” The campaign immediately struck a chord and their sales increased. No, they never took the #1 spot away from Hertz, but they increased their profits incredibly. Listerine enjoyed similar success with its “The Taste You Hate Twice A Day” campaign which is also showcased in the book.
If you have a good rebuttal to a negative (objection), and we KNOW (because we did our RESEARCH) that it’s going to come up, don’t be shy about using it. Experiment with using it in your copy or presentation BEFORE the target audience raises the concern and see how that works. By getting your “bad news” now, you may be surprised at how much sooner profits show up!