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Your Buyer’s Biggest Fear is Your Best Marketing Ammunition 

October 26, 2022 |

fear brainstorming

If you are one of the 90% of companies refusing to place pricing on your website, this episode is for you. Renowned Keynote Speaker, and Author of “They Ask, You Answer,” Marcus Sheridan, comes in hot with tips on how to own the conversation around your products and services, why gatekeeping product value may hurt you in the long run, and how to use your buyers’ biggest fears as marketing ammunition.  

Follow Marcus on LinkedIn


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4:40 – Taking a Look at What Businesses Fear Most 

It’s widely known that most companies, about 90%, are afraid to dive into some of the essential topics their customers want to know, none more infamous than price. Marcus explains why shying away from pricing on your website is one of the worst things you can do for your company.   

“Why do we not like to talk about pricing? Because we say things like, ‘it could commoditize what I sell.’ ‘I could scare them away.’ ‘My competitors could find out.’ or ‘We’re a customized solution.’  

What we’ve found time and time again is a thing that commoditizes anything is ignorance in the marketplace. And what allows ignorance? It’s us. We allow ignorance to exist. So if somebody is ever surprised about pricing, they’re surprised because we didn’t teach them well enough.   

During that buying process. And oh, by the way, it’s a buying process for those listening. It isn’t a sales process. It is a buying process. They (customers) are dictating the terms. So if you look at cost and price, analyze your behavior for a second.  

If you go to a website looking for cost and price information and can’t find it, what’s the emotion you experience? You get frustrated. Do you sit there and look at the website for a long time? No. Most people stay less than 10 seconds. Do you say to yourself, ‘Oh, that’s okay, they’re a value-based business; I’m going to call them on the phone instead.’ You don’t do that because you keep searching until you find what you’re looking for.  

Why would we allow fear of what the competition might find out to hinder our ability to engender trust in the marketplace? And finally, we say things like, well, if we’re more expensive, we could scare them away. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. A great education doesn’t scare people away. It’s actually appreciated. What scares people away online is what’s called ignorance.” 

10:10 – Buying Process Minus Fear Equals Trust 

Marcus urges businesses to look at their common fears in a new light to build greater trust with their target audience. When you remove fear from the equation, you become a familiar figure in your industry who people can depend on for reliable information, filtering out customers that may not be a good fit for your product or service but priming the ones who are to land a deal.   

“90% of companies are not talking about the cost and price on their website, excluding restaurants, right? That’s crazy for B2B service businesses; 98% do not discuss cost and price. Instead, they expect the buyer to act like it’s 1995.  

In terms of customer acquisition cost, one of the metrics is to think about how much not answering questions and closing your customer’s fear gap early on is costing you as a seller. Unfortunately, it’s costing you a ridiculous amount.   

In other words, they might start uninformed in that buyer’s journey, but eventually, they will be informed. So, the whole question revolves around who they will learn from. It’s either going to be one of three things. It’s either going to be a competitor, which the thought of that really stinks.  

It’s going to be a third-party site that doesn’t even sell the thing, but they’re just groveling off of everybody else’s work, which really stinks. Or it’s going to be me. So I want to dictate conversations.   

I want to be a part of conversations. I want to have my hat in the ring on every question, worry, and fear that has anything to do with that product or service I sell. And the beauty of this Ed, regardless of whether it’s B2B or B2C, doesn’t matter; it definitely applies.” 

13:15 – What is Fear Brainstorming? 

We know that businesses are afraid to broach certain subjects, but how do we tap into fear of our buyers? In Marcus’s book, he talks about “fear brainstorming” as an exercise. How do we actually make ourselves able to get in a state of fear brainstorming? What does this process even entail? 

“One of the things that I espouse is that everybody should have a section on their website that says who we’re not a good fit for. It’s powerful. 

It leads to you becoming very trusted because if you’re a good fit for somebody, they’re going to see both sides and their going to be like, ‘Oh, good. Yeah, they’re a good fit for me. Sweet. I’m really energized. I’m really jacked to talk to them.’  

One time I was speaking to a very high-end yacht builder and their dealer base, where on average, the starting point is like 1.5 mil. I say to this group, with the CEO in the room, I want you to write down a sentence for whom your product, your yachts, would NOT be a good fit and people were writing down answers and the CEO could not think of a single one. I say, ‘How can you not think of an answer,’ and he’s like, ‘I just I can’t think of who this wouldn’t be for.’ I said, ‘How about me, who loves to fish and if I’m on the water, I’m going to be bringing bloody tuna on the deck.’ He says, ‘Yeah, it’s probably not a good fit for you.’ Well, then let me know that if you’re really into fishing, these yachts are probably not the best fit for you.” 

You’ve got to strip yourself of that curse of knowledge that you have because you’re in the business. And then you say, ‘OK, what are the fears?’ Is it true that somebody told me that? How could this blow up in my face? What could go wrong if . . . ? Just vomit those out on a page, write them down and now you’re going to start to say, ‘Huh, this is interesting.’ 

19:50 – The 5 Types of Content Problems 

In his books, Marcus dives into the five most common content problems businesses are afraid to touch. Some, like pricing, might be obvious to most, but there is a slew of fears that he captures pretty well in this next section: costs, problems, comparisons, reviews, and best in class.   

Cost  

“With cost and price, you don’t have to put a specific number on the page, but you have to be willing to explain the following five things:  

  1. What drives costs up in the industry?   
  1. What drives costs down?   
  1. Why are some companies so expensive?   
  1. Why are some companies so cheap?   
  1. Roughly, where do you fall?   

You should write that over the course of 1500 to 2500 words on your pricing page. I’d also argue having a video for every major product or service you sell.”   

Problems 

“In every industry, people ask, is it true that somebody told me that? What are the negatives? How could this blow up in my face?   

What’s interesting about the problem is this: it’s only when somebody is researching what’s wrong with something, then they are ready to buy it. In other words, the person that researches online, ‘What are the problems with the fiberglass pools,’ guess what? They’re earnest about a fiberglass pool. If they’re only thinking concrete, they aren’t doing that search.  

As soon as we’re interested in something, we say, ‘OK, what could go wrong?’ And that’s where the problem statements come into play. And they exist for every single product or service, every single industry, it doesn’t matter.”   

Comparisons 

“After problems, we get comparisons. Comparisons are prolific. How often have you gone online, if you’re listening to this right now, and compared products and services? We’ve all done it hundreds of times.  

The key to comparisons is that they don’t understand how to do it unbiasedly. And that’s key. For example, I was doing a video on fiberglass versus concrete pools. Now keep in mind I only sell fiberglass pools; if I do that video or write that article, people will expect it to be biased.  

I need to immediately disarm them and help them feel like, ‘Wow, he has my best interests at heart. He’s unbiased. I’m going to pay attention to what this dude is saying.’ I will give you an intro to any paragraph you could ever do for any comparison piece, and you can follow this outline every time.  

You know, one of the questions we get here all the time is, ‘Why should I choose fiberglass over concrete?’ Well, the truth is you shouldn’t always choose fiberglass over concrete. In fact, there are times when concrete is the better option. So, this video will explain to you honestly and transparently the pros and cons of both types of pools, and then hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a great sense of which is the best choice for you.” 

Reviews 

“The mistake we too often see is that we are so biased because we only talk about who it’s for, why it’s good, and why people love it.  

But if you do an effective review, you talk about who’s it for AND who it’s not for. You have to talk about the pros and cons.   

If I were going to review fiberglass pools, I would say, ‘Are you looking at fiberglass pools and trying to find out if fiberglass pools are the best fit for me? Well, the truth is fiberglass pools have a lot of benefits, but they have disadvantages as well. So in this video, we’re going to look at some of those benefits and some of those drawbacks and limitations, and this way, you’ll be able to figure out if fiberglass pools are the right choice for you. I’m not going to hide it, and that’s going to endear people to me.”  

The “Best of” Approach  

The fifth of the big five is the ‘best’ approach. People constantly search for the ‘best’ or ‘most’ or ‘top’ of something. Any extreme would be a ‘best-base piece’ of content. We don’t necessarily buy the best, but we want to understand; we want to get a sense of the market and how it stacks up. That allows us to feel like we’ve done our due diligence and we’ve done our research.   

As a pool company, it might be, ‘Who are the best fiberglass pool manufacturers of 2022?’ I need to be willing to talk about it, and yeah, I’m going to mention all my competitors too or at least the ones that I respect because that’s how we become the Wikipedia of our space.” 

37: 15 – How to Start Fear Brainstorming 

How can businesses and creative teams start incorporating these techniques for embracing fear into their own content? What does the process look like? Marcus shares his strategy with the world.   

“To me, everything starts with brainstorming, and you start with the big five, and you say, what are all the cost questions that we know people are asking?   

What are all the problems, or is it true that the negative questions that we know people are asking again about our products or service when you do the brainstorming?  

You need to re-imagine it so that your company doesn’t exist; they’re asking general questions. They’re going online right now, and they’re asking questions about cost problems, comparisons, reviews, and ‘best of’ questions. 

Because you’ll have a multitude of questions under each one of these that makes up your editorial calendar, and if you stick to that through text and video, your brand is going to blow up. Now, I will say this, quality and quantity both matter.  

They both matter. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. And we’ve seen that there’s a clear hockey stick of trust traffic lead sales when you produce at least three pieces of content a week as an organization. Produce and publish three pieces of content a week, you do that for 18 months, and you’ll never look back, and you’ll dominate your industry. You will dominate your industry.” 


Takeaways 

The biggest takeaway that Marcus wants to drive home to listeners is never shy away from difficult questions, quite the opposite. By addressing some of the most commonly asked questions customers have when they come to your website, you’re building a sense of trust that 98% of B2B businesses don’t want to address.   

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