Guide to Overcoming Buyer Resistance

Mark Donnigan

Let’s be honest. No one likes being sold to. It seems as if there is always some form of resistance in a prospective buyer’s mind that prevents a successful sale from happening. As a founder, communicating with your potential clients to overcome this barrier is just as important as product development. After all, what use is a product if it is not being sold?

In order to overcome these barriers, of course, you must know your customers’ motivations and their desires. What are they looking for? What do they want to achieve? And if your messaging does not fit with their aspirations and needs, you will be having a hard time signing up new customers, much less having them stay and browse through your website.

Here are some useful tips that I have learned in my years of helping startups through their growth stages.

1. Review your marketing content.

In my article Mindsets for Today’s Marketer, I emphasized that today’s B2B marketing teams must optimize for speed, collaboration, and customer focus. Take a look at your marketing materials and tell me who you are writing for. Are you extolling the virtues of your product hoping your customer will be impressed? Is your website full of sales copy without other useful content? If you answered yes, then sadly, you are writing for yourself and not for your customer.

The days of the ‘hard sell’ are over. Now it’s about giving value first before expecting something in return. The most valuable resource today is time. And your customer will not waste his time by giving you attention if he finds no value in your message.

2. Provide value to your customers even before they buy from you.

Business owners need a lot of things aside from the solution that you can offer. Knowing your industry ecosystem will give you an idea of the things your customer might find valuable. Think of what you can offer. Nowadays, digital content is relatively easy to produce and will go a long way in providing value to your customer.

Leverage your expertise to create short informative videos, white papers, articles, podcasts, and anything that would be useful to your prospective clients. 

An added benefit is that you are establishing your credibility as an authority in your field, making it easier to build trust when your customer is ready to start the buying process. 

3. Establish regular communications with your prospects.

More often than not, a customer may not buy from you at the first instance. They may not be ready to make a commitment, they want to shop around first, or they want to evaluate whether they really need your solution. Whatever the reason is, use this time to establish a line of communication with them. At the least, the most important thing is to get their email address so you can send them follow-up messages. However, many people are averse to giving out their email addresses because of the fear of spam. This will not be a problem if you have established yourself as someone who has something valuable to say. 

One way I have found useful in getting email addresses is by providing something free – a free report, ebook, or any piece of content that is useful to the buyer. They know they will be getting something of value in return for giving up part of their time.

You must understand the buyer’s journey well to craft appropriate messages that advance your relationship with the customer.

When you get their email address, you must have a planned set of messages to be delivered at each stage of the process. Take care not to overdo this, as sending too many messages too often might be counterproductive. Strike a good balance between being intrusive and being uninvolved.

4. Become a mentor to your prospects.

Education can be a valuable selling tool. Nobody wants to be sold to, but almost everyone is open to learning something new. Provide various learning opportunities in your content offerings. Doing so not only provides value to your customers, it establishes you as a partner and not just someone who is out to make a sale. It deepens your engagement and leads to longer-lasting relationships with your customers. 

As with my previous point, educating your customer also establishes you as an authority, and they will most likely believe what you have to say. When they are ready to buy a product or a solution, who do you think they will approach first? So invest in learning opportunities for your customers. It may not result in a quick sale but would likely lead to a higher customer lifetime value.

Once you understand the values and motivations that drive your customers, creating messaging that will help you connect with them and achieve your revenue objectives is relatively easy. As a startup in an earlier phase, it is vital to have your customer acquisition process nailed.

In the video below, I provide actionable tips for how to build credibility and rapport with the market.

Add value to customers as someone who can bring thoughtful insights to the industry - that’s the open door in the modern sales landscape. Watch this video to learn more on how to build Build Credibilty & Rapport.


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