Welcome to episode 36 of Write with Influence. This week I want to talk about what to do when your customers reject your offer.
Rejection can be difficult to take and often leads business owners to assume that there’s something wrong with their product or service, but this is not always the case.
Today I want to talk about why you shouldn’t take rejection personally and I’ll be giving you some quick tips to help you discover the themes that are important to your consumers and how to align your marketing message to appeal to your target audience.
Listen to discover:
- Why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions if someone rejects your offer.
- How to shift your messaging to what is front and center of your customer’s mind.
- Three simple questions you can ask to give you three effective marketing messages.
This week’s sketched include:
- Climbing Everest “because it’s there” and what happens when George Mallory’s wife adopts his famous three-word philosophy for a three-day bender in Blackpool.
- Smashing vases – the right and wrong way to handle rejection on a market stall selling a load of s***.
We tend to be very good at giving up after rejection but sometimes it is just a matter of changing your message or finding a new audience. There’s also a lot to be said for just sticking at it, persevering, trying new things and not giving up. The more you produce work, the more visible you are, the more exposure you get and the more likely it is that people will notice what you do. So, if you believe in your business, if you know what you have is valuable and if you really care about the positive change that your product/service can provide for your customers then don’t give up. Listen to this episode to learn how to experiment with different messaging for your products and services so that you get the attention of your audience and make more sales.
EP 36: WHAT TO DO IF PEOPLE DON’T BUY YOUR PRODUCT JUST “BECAUSE IT’S THERE”
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Write with Influence. This week, I want to talk about what to do when your customers reject your offer. Rejection can be very difficult. I’m sure growing up you may have experienced rejection before, whether it’s a friend that no longer wants to hang out with you or a date that turns you down and stops taking your calls, or it may be a rejection letter from a school, college or job interview, rejections can hurt because it can feel personal. We can feel like when people are rejecting something that we’re putting forward, like ourselves for a job interview or a date, if they say no, they are rejecting us. And we may even feel like they’re rejecting us because there’s something wrong with us. So, I’m not surprised that when clients make an offer to customers and it doesn’t go well, they end up with this feeling that there’s something wrong with their product, or there’s something wrong with their business. However, this may not be the case. In fact, there are so many variables as to why an offer may be rejected and if you jump to the conclusion that people just don’t want what it is that you have, you could be missing an opportunity. So, today I want to talk about why we tend to jump to these conclusions, why you shouldn’t take rejection personally, and also some quick tips that you can use to look for alternative marketing angles in case it’s your message that’s missing the mark.
First of all, why do we jump to the conclusion that if someone rejects our offer it means they don’t want what we have? It’s partly down to that field of dreams mentality, you know, that Kevin Costner film where he receives the message that if you build it, they will come, so he builds a baseball field where people end up coming to watch ghosts play or something?! It’s been a while since I saw the film, but I remember I really liked it, and the premise was, there was no plan to market or promote this baseball field, he just had the message that if you build it, they will come. So, sometimes we feel we’ve got a great idea for a product and if we just put it out there, people will find it and buy it. Now, I also call this the George Mallory approach. Now, if you’re not familiar with George Mallory, he was a British mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Everest, and during an interview a reporter asked him what his motivation was to keep trying to climb this bloody big mountain and his pithy and profound response was, “Because it’s there.” This went down really well with the reporters, in fact, it’s since been called the most famous three words in mountaineering. And whenever I hear this story, I always try to imagine what his wife would have thought about that response.
[NEW SCENE – George Mallory Press Conference]
Reporter: George, George, over here.
George Mallory: One more question. Yes, you?
Reporter: George, 1922 was your second expedition to Everest and you say that you’re already planning your third. Why do you want to climb it?
George Mallory: Because it’s there.
[New Scene – Later – George At Home]
George Mallory: Oh, you should have seen them Ruth, so admiring, so complimentary.
Ruth: Sorry, what was the press conference for?
George Mallory: My upcoming trip to Everest.
Ruth: George, we’ve got three kids, they’re all under the age of 10 and you’ve been there twice. Why on earth do you want to go again?
George Mallory: Because it’s there.
Ruth: That is the dumbest reason I’ve ever heard.
George Mallory: Oh, darling, you’ve already started packing my bags. I thought you were suffering from female histrionics before, you silly little thing. I nearly called the doctor.
Ruth: I wish you had; the treatment’s supposed to be great.
George Mallory: What?
Ruth: Nothing. These aren’t your bags, they’re mine. I’m going to Blackpool.
George Mallory: Blackpool?
Ruth: I sent a telegram to some of the girls. We’re going to go on a three-day bender. Nelly is sorting out a cheap BNB, Sally’s bringing some gin and Mary thinks she can get her hands on some mescaline.
George Mallory: This is madness. What about the children? And Blackpool … why on earth would you want to go to Blackpool?
Ruth: Because it’s there. The kids are at your mother’s and I’ll see you Sunday.
So, the George Mallory approach to offers is a little bit like the field of dreams approach, the assumption that people will do something or accept your offer just because it’s there, just because it’s available. And obviously we know it doesn’t happen like that. We know that you’ve got to invest in building a message about your product – you’ve got to market it and promote it so that people not only know that it’s there, but you’re highlighting the reasons why they want it. So, what if you do this and still nobody takes you up on your offer? Well, it might be a misalignment of the message. I was thinking about this this morning as I was listening to an interview with Phillip Stutts from Win Big Media. Now, his marketing agency dives deep into data and analytics and what they do is, they study to see what themes are important to consumers today, and then work to align the marketing messages of clients to those themes. So, a quick example is, one of his clients was a pest control company and previously they’d relied heavily on discounting to make sales and grow their business, and that had been working. However, last year, Phillip’s company worked with an analytics firm to survey customers, consumer behavior and their thoughts during the pandemic, and they found that safety was a really key concern, not surprising given the situation that a lot of people were thinking about safety. So, what they did is, they shifted the advertising messages for the pest control company to emphasize safety and protection, instead of just general pest control messaging. They referenced self-isolation and being home because of COVID-19, and one of their headlines was “Protect your home and family from destructive and disease carrying pests”. So, they were really leaning into that safety concern while still also making it relevant to the product and as a result, their adverts that focused on safety performed two to four times better than the adverts that simply focused on general pest control. So, sometimes you just need to shift your messaging into what is front and center in your customer’s mind at the moment. But what if you don’t have a budget to do a highly targeted consumer research survey with thousands and thousands of participants in order to sell your product? Well, you can go a little closer to home and talk to previous customers. I mean, I’m assuming that you will have sold some of what you offer. I would find a handful of customers to talk to, and I’d ask three simple questions to give you three simple variations of marketing messages that you could run. And what’s nice about just asking these three simple questions is that it’s not a huge time investment on the part of your customer, it’s a short chat and something that they’re more likely to say yes to, because you’re not asking for a massive investment of their time. And by just focusing on three simple questions, you’re also not going to get overwhelmed by multiple different marketing messages that you could explore. So, of the three questions, the first that I’d ask would be the trigger – what caused your customer to buy? And I really want to find out what was that tipping point that made them want to make a buying decision there and then? Don’t feel bad if you don’t know this information and don’t feel bad for asking this question, because just last week I was talking to a financial services company that was trying to figure out the answer to this very question. They weren’t always certain why customers eventually decided to buy. Now, with business-to-business sales the process is often more complex, and it involves multiple people so it’s a little harder to sometimes discern what that specific tipping point was, but you might have the benefit of being able to talk to the one customer who made that buying decision and who can tell you what happened and why they thought, “You know what? I can’t take it anymore, I want/need this product”. For example, was it an unbearable backache that made them look for a new mattress? Was it nosy neighbors that made them seek out a fence or shrubs? If you can tap into that trigger, it can help you think about ways to build messaging around those triggers to see if it gets the attention of other people in that situation.
The next question I’d ask is, why did they choose you? And the answer might surprise you. It may not be that you were the cheapest, it may be that you had the most information on your site or someone had recommended you, maybe they just liked your approach, or they liked the video that you did, or they saw you on a particular site or podcast, et cetera, et cetera. This can tell you a handful of things. It can tell you about what is happening in your current marketing messages that is working, in which case, beef those up, multiply them, and have more ads running on those messages. It can also tell you what channels are working for you and where buyers are seeing you so that you can decide whether to try to reach out and feature on more podcasts or increase the frequency of how often you post videos, et cetera, et cetera.
The final question I’d ask is about the before and after picture – what changed in their life? What results did they see? What problems went away? What could they do that they couldn’t do before? Because people pay for something to change. We don’t buy something for our lives to stay exactly the same. So, find out about that before and after picture.
This will give you three possible areas to start kicking around ideas for your marketing copy based on what someone was thinking when they bought and enjoyed your product.
- What was the trigger?
- Why did they choose you?
- What was the transformation?
Now, the final part of this story is that you have to be prepared to find out that your offer just isn’t what people want, and that’s okay. What I’m saying is, don’t jump to that conclusion. We tend to be really good at giving up after rejection and sometimes it is just the message that needs to change, or it’s a new audience that you need to find. But often there’s a lot to be said for just sticking at it, persevering, trying new things and not giving up. Last week I attended an online event with Robert Webb, an actor and a writer who was in Peep Show with David Mitchell. He also wrote sketches and a lot of shows with Mitchell, they’ve been writing together since the early nineties. And someone in the Q and A section asked him how he approached or handled the fear of rejection, and I loved his take on it, which was, “You just keep going, because if you believe in what you’re doing and you are productive long enough, you will get an opportunity. There will be an opening.” Now, that’s not a guarantee of success, but the more you produce work, the more visible you are, the more exposure you get, the more likely it is that people will notice what you do, and it’s the same with marketing. If you believe in your business, if you know what you have is valuable, if you really care about the change that you have on your customers, put pen to paper, don’t give up, experiment with different messaging for your products and services, and finally, if someone does reject your offer, don’t take it too personally because things can get messy.
[New Scene – London Market]
Amy: Looking for anything in particular love?
Customer: No, just browsing.
Amy: 15% of everything today. All handmade. That rock that’s painted like a lady bird, I found that on the railway lines, I painted it while I had the flu, that’s why the lines are a little erratic and it’s only got one eye and two legs, but I think it’s a bit of a statement piece.
Customer: It’s very nice.
Amy: Would you like to buy it?
Customer: Oh no. I’m only browsing.
Amy: I’ll do you a special deal. You can get that and the homemade taxidermy badger for £15.00 instead of £20.00.
Customer: Um, no thank you.
Amy: But . . .
Customer: Thank you for the offer.
Amy: Why didn’t she take my offer? Hang on a minute, what’s she doing it Barbara’s store? She’s about to buy something. Excuse me.
Amy: What you doing?
Customer: I was just about to buy this vase.
Amy: But you said no to my stuff. What’s wrong with my stuff?
Barbara: Oh, not this again Amy, leave it out.
Amy: This doesn’t concern you, Barbara.
Barbara: Well, it does because this is my stall and look, the lady just wants to buy the vase.
Amy: Was it the price? I’ll knock another fiver off the badger?
Amy: I get it, you want something a little extra? Well, I’ll give you the ladybird rock, the taxidermy badger, and I’ll throw in this collage made from pasta shells for free.
Customer: No, thank you.
Amy: Well then, you’re not buying this vase.
Customer: I beg your pardon?
Amy: If you’re not buying from me, you’re not buying from anyone. I don’t handle rejection very well. In fact, no one’s having it.
Customer: This is ridiculous. I’m leaving. It’s not like this at Spitalfields.
Barbara: You’ve got to stop this, Amy.
Amy: I just don’t know why she didn’t want my offer.
Barbara: Because it’s S***. All of your stuff is absolute S***.