How to handle 3 common objections to selling content services

Bill CosbyThe astute reader will realize that no, this is not the blog post that I said would run this week on My Big-Ass Blog Pivot™ . 

Why? I’m an opportunist, and a lazy one at that… I wrote most of the material below in preparation for a sales call and realized — in the time-honored tradition of doing as little work as possible — if I shared it here I’d have to write less.

 As for my Big-Ass Blog Pivot (All Rights Reserved, Patent Pending, Hands-Off-Keep-Out-No-Haters-Allowed®), let’s leave it at this: I know I owe you an explanation about where I’m heading and why… For the time being, here’s a post on objections. Brought to you by Bill Cosby, apparently. I promise it’s at least tangentially related to what’s to come.

Ah, objections. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t escape ‘em.

I don’t know about you, but I usually do OK when buyers raise objections. I have the gift of gab, though, which means I’m usually able (quite successfully) to bullshit my way through most of them.

Which, in a way, does me more harm than good. The business experts say I need to be writing this stuff down, so at the very least I can bullshit the same way every time.

Hence, this blog post.

But there’s another reason I wanted to document some of my stock answers… Keeping them to myself doesn’t really help you either, does it?

<Cosby>Because you can learn from reading what I say to the clients, doncha know.</Cosby>

So in the spirit of teaching (and also to avoid any more horrific Bill Cosby impressions), here’s how I address three typical objections to my attempts to sell content. If you have any designs on reselling my writing services — and by all means, I encourage the practice — read on to learn how to handle them yourself.

“We’re going to stick with the status quo”

I often hear this or one of its cousins — “Our content is fine,” or “We’re  just going to get our Marketing Manager to write it” — from prospects.

It can be tempting for a buyer to carry on with business as usual, but if you’re getting status quo resistance, you need to help your that prospect learn that buying behaviour has changed radically over the past five to 10 years. Buyers are more confident and in control than ever — and, for the most part, now do their research on vendors before they even pick up the phone.

That means that good website content is even more important than it’s ever been — your prospects’ prospects will be studying it intently. To get over the status quo objection, help them see they need to change their content now if they have any hope of connecting with buyers over the next 18-24 months.

“Now’s just not a good time… We have to do X first”

We’re all busy. I appreciate that. But don’t discount suggesting to your sales prospect that the longer they wait, the worse things are going to get for their marketing effectiveness.

Let’s pretend you were trying to make a content sale this week. If you and your prospect moved quickly, you could probably still have a writer get new text in place by the end of the month. That means your prospect would still have a full six months to make something of their 2014 numbers. And with six months of foundation down, think what an incredible 2015 they’d have?

2014, 2015… The dates are interchangeable here — the point is there’s no time like the present to start doing marketing better. In a world where 72 hours of video are added to YouTube every minute, your prospects just can’t afford to dawdle anymore — or their competitors will eat them for lunch.

If they still put up a fuss about needing to launch some other project first, remind them that outsourcing their marketing writing will free up capacity… They don’t have to do one project or the other — they can do both.

“We tried getting someone to write our content once and it didn’t work out”

You know, it’s remarkable the number of clients I’ve had who have said the same thing — “We were nervous about hiring you because we had this writer once who sucked.”

It’s one of the reasons I developed what I call my No-Fee Guarantee — I tell people they’ll be happy with my work or they won’t pay. I’ve found that the guarantee tends to restore trust to the point where clients are willing to take a chance again.

But to get to that point I like to use a line you can borrow.

Go ahead… Ask them if they’re married. If they say yes, ask them how long and then ask if they broke up with anyone before they found The One. They’ll probably cut you off before you get the words out of your mouth — the analogy makes the point that clearly.

And no, you’re not courting disaster if it turns out they’re unmarried, or they’re divorced or celibate. “Do you have faith you’ll meet somebody? Well, when it comes to writing, this is like that… I’m pretty sure I’m the one.”

(Now if they say they like goats or something, I can’t help you.)

The truth is I like this objection the best, both because it’s so easy to counter and because the results of handling it are so rewarding. The clients who’ve been the most scared are almost always the same ones who come to me after delivery and say, “It’s like I spoke these words myself. I never believed an outside writer could get it so… right.”

I could go on, but I’m rambling already. Expect more on this subject next time. (And if you’re really dying to know about where this blog’s going, drop me a line.)

< Cosby>Jell-o Puddin’.</Cosby>

Photo credit: Bernie Levine

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  1. DIG_creative says:

    Very nicely done there. Thanks Aaron!

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