The problem with marketing to skeptics
What’s the one thing all science and technology companies have in common?
You guessed it, they all exist to generate revenue by providing instrumentation or equipment to the scientific research community.
The problem is they have to do this by marketing to some pretty skeptical folk.
Now, we’re all skeptical to some degree when making a purchase.
But business buyers need to be more cautious because they have to justify the expense to others.
And scientists are the ultimate skeptics.
Because they’ve years of academic training under their belt. Academic research involves scrutiny at the highest levels. It’s their job to be skeptical of each other’s work. The peer-review process of most scientific journals is testament to this.
Bottom line: you have your work cut out for you.
You have to generate a lead (a skeptical scientist), nurture that lead, and then convert that lead into a customer.
Now, what happens when you’ve nurtured this lead through your sales cycle and the time comes for them to make a decision?
Well, they can buy from you, from your competitors, or do nothing. That’s it.
So the question is: how do you get them to say yes to you, and no to your competitors?
The answer: you need to make sure you’ve the odds stacked in your favour.
Because no matter how well you’ve nurtured a lead, scientists are skeptical. Yes, they’re looking for results, and your product can help them with that. But they also want to avoid making a mistake and regretting the purchase.
Most buying decisions boil down to avoiding this regret. Nobody wants to make a mistake buying the wrong instrument or piece of equipment for their research, or they’ll have to answer to someone.
And the quickest way of avoiding this regret is by saying no.
So you have to show them they wont regret buying anything from you.
The secret of risk reversal
One terrific way of doing this is by removing the risk. Sometimes called risk reversal, this involves your company taking on most of the purchase risk, while minimising it as much as possible for your buyer.
One place you always see this is with specific purchase guarantees.
But often, these guarantees can be made stronger by using what Jay Abraham calls a better-than-risk-free (BTRF) guarantee.
This is where you take your guarantee a step further so it becomes an absolute no-brainer for your buyers to say yes.
Is your guarantee good enough to do that?
Let’s take a look at two examples:
Sigma Aldrich use the following guarantee for their MISSION Predesigned siRNA product line:
“Upon purchase of three MISSION Predesigned siRNA targeting the same gene, at least two of the siRNA will reduce target mRNA levels by 75% or greater, in cultured cells, when transfected at 30 nM or greater. If two of the siRNA do not knockdown the target gene by 75%, Sigma®will provide three additional siRNA for that gene target free of charge. In the case that there are no more siRNA for that gene target or all siRNA fail to knock down the target gene by 75% or more, Sigma will refund the price of the target set”
They have several conditions that need to be met before the buyer can take advantage of this guarantee. This could be stronger by making it unconditional.
AFM workshop uses the following:
“AFMWorkshop Provides a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
If our AFMs can’t run your application, we will refund you the full purchase price!
Additionally, AFMWorkshop’s Atomic Force Microscopes are backed by a two-year, return-to-factory warranty.”
This is a strong guarantee. AFMWorkshop need to make sure they’re promoting this in all their communications.
For another example, you can also take a look at my own BTRF guarantee.
All these guarantees go beyond the basic “satisfaction guaranteed” offer. They’re specific, detailed and minimise risk as much as possible.
Use risk reversal to make your life easier
Can you see how making a BTRF guarantee can boost your lead generation and sales dramatically? If your prospects have nothing to lose, then it’s easier to get them on board.
This all comes back to the strategy of preeminence mentioned in a previous issue. Your clients need to understand that you’ve their best interests at heart.
But this won’t happen unless you communicate it effectively.
So sit down and brainstorm ways to improve your guarantee so it minimises risk. Guarantees can always be made stronger and more risk free.
And most importantly, communicate your strong guarantee effectively to your buyers in all your marketing activities.
Until next time,