9 Ways to Persuade Skeptical Prospects to Buy
by Mike J. Agugliaro
Your leads and prospective customers are skeptical.
It’s not your fault, nor is it their fault – rather, it’s because they are very protective of their homes and their hard-earned money. They want to invest in a safe and comfortable home and they don’t want to waste their money.
And truth be told, you might be the most ethical service business in your market but that means your customers have encountered many other unethical ones who cut corners, rip off customers, or deliver terrible service.
Not only that, but skeptical prospects are sold to every single day. Everywhere they turn, there’s another pitch. So people have become skeptical and defensive.
Your prospects may be skeptical but they still need to buy the services you provide, so what can you do to persuade them to buy from you?
Here are 9 ways to overcome that skepticism and help them buy from you.
1. Explain Everything Clearly, Simply, and Professionally
You might spend your entire day thinking about the technical aspects of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems but your customers do not. They want to understand enough to help them make a decision without becoming overwhelmed with the details. Help your customers understand how their home’s systems work and what you’ll be doing – but don’t be condescending as you talk to them. The more clarity you provide, the more likely your prospect will buy.
Bonus tip: This is true not just during an in-home consultation but also with marketing, website content, and more. Always inform your prospects! Turn marketing pieces into “special reports”, and blog regularly about information that your prospects can use. They may not read it all but the fact that it’s available to them will have a significant impact on the level of trust they have for you.
2. Share Testimonials
Testimonials are the most effective, evergreen way to convince customers to buy. Ask every customer for a testimonial. Although you may not always have control over the content of the testimonial, the ideal testimonial has a “before” and an “after” with measurable information. The best testimonials are videos, second-best have a picture of the homeowner, the least effective are text-only. Post these testimonials everywhere and make sure your team can access these while on an in-home visit (for example, they should carry printed versions of text-based testimonials, and they should have a link to a collection of video testimonials on the laptop, tablet, or phone they carry.
3. Use Illustrations
In some situations, especially when it comes to preventive maintenance, customers may be skeptical about the need for service. Illustrations and examples can help. One of the most effective for duct-cleaning, for example, is to wear a white glove and reach into the customer’s vents. When you pull out the glove, it will be filthy! There are good illustrations like this for many different services that the home service industry provides.
4. Get A Celebrity Spokesperson
Your customer doesn’t know who you are but they know and respect celebrities. The more famous your celebrity, the better, but don’t feel that you have to contact Arnold Schwarzenegger’s agent or pay his huge fees to advertise for you. You can probably get a local celebrity – including your local news or weather broadcaster or a radio DJ – to endorse you.
5. Share Photos of Installations
Every successful project should include a picture of the finished project. You might be wondering what the value is of having a picture of a new HVAC system you’ve installed. Well, there might not be value in one system, but there might be value in hundreds of pictures with your team members standing by the systems they just installed. It’s just a visual reminder that your company does this over and over and over and over.
6. Bring In Science
There are plenty of studies done on topics related to the work we do in the home service industry. For example, a recent study by Harvard about an alarming level of toxins in drinking water became a useful email blast that linked to a water filtration offer for my company. Do some research on studies that pertain to the tradelines you offer, and use those studies regularly. Be sure to reach out to your vendors and suppliers because they’ll likely have some valuable scientific studies that might already be packaged in a marketing-friendly way.
7. Give A Guarantee
A guarantee is a powerful tool to help you convince skeptical prospects to hire your company. Your guarantee should be easy-to-understand, easy-to-use, and powerful. The fewer clarifications and clauses the better because prospects will naturally wonder what you’re trying to avoid if your guarantee is complicated.
8. Share Your Story
This one might surprise you but customers want to know the history of your company. There are two reasons for this: first, it can help to humanize you and your company (and that will help to create trust), plus it also demonstrates that you’ve been around for a long time – you’re not a fly-by-night company but you’ll be around for years to help them and to honor your guarantee.
9. Proactively Address Objections
If a prospect has too many questions, they’ll start to get worried: they’ll wonder what they don’t understand, or even what you’re hiding! List all of the most common objections you hear over and over during a consultation and then proactively answer them and weave those answers into your presentation.
Which Strategies Should You Use?
You might read this list and think, “okay, which one or two should I use?” The answer is: use them all. Overwhelm your prospect with trust-building (have many testimonials, multiple celebrity endorsements, etc.) and you will overcome nearly all skepticism. Sure, you might not need every one of these strategies every single time, but if you show up to a prospect’s house armed with a multitude of this information then you’ll be able to address any skepticism they have.
Additionally, some customers might respond to one strategy over another. You might have some customers who watch the news regularly and trust the local meteorologist so they’ll respond to an endorsement from that celebrity more than someone else who never watches the news but is interested in data and science-based proof.
Prospects are naturally skeptical and that’s okay. Don’t get frustrated by it. Instead, build a massive notebook of skepticism-destroying strategies that you can use with each and every customer, and train your team to become adept at pulling out this notebook every time they visit a prospect’s home.