This is an area that I have yet to see covered in any book on email marketing. Know why? Because nobody REALLY knows how to handle it. The reason is that there are way too many variables involved in responding to inquiries. And let me tell you, after 5 plus years in this business, I’ve yet to run out of surprising email inquiries. Some I almost don’t even believe.
Still, if you want to have a successful business, you have to learn how to respond to these questions, and some of them are TOUGH questions. I’m going to go over the most common questions I’ve run into in the “make money online” niche and show you how I handle them. These responses normally get me one of two things.
1. A sale
2. A thank you.
If you think a thank you isn’t worth anything, it is. Many of these people write to me down the road telling me that they thought about what I said and realized that I was right. Many end up becoming customers. I had one guy who wrote to me in 2005 and became a customer of mine in 2007. That’s right, it took two years. But because I was straight with him, he remembered who I was.
Okay, let’s get to the tough questions.
How much does it cost?
You NEVER put the cost of something in your ad. So if they haven't gone to the website yet to look at the product or service then they haven't seen the page that contains the price info yet. So how do you answer this? You DON'T tell them how much it costs. You ask them the following question. "How much do you think something like this SHOULD cost if it's everything I said it was?" If they quote a price that's higher than the actual price you then tell them. "Well, it's only $X." They'll be surprised and most likely will become a buyer. If they quote a price that's lower than the actual price you simply say this to them. "Then no offense, you're dreaming. There is no way you're going to get something of this quality for that price. If you think you can I suggest you do some shopping. You'll see that I'm right." At this point, one of two things is going to happen. They'll either say, "Okay,
I'll do that". Or they'll continue asking questions which means the price hasn't turned them off just yet.
Can you GUARANTEE it will work?
There are only two ways to answer this. If it's a product like, say a spot remover, and it comes with a guarantee, you can tell them that you can guarantee it. Most likely the product comes with a money back guarantee so if it doesn't work they can get their money back. But what if the product is a method for making money on the Internet? Nobody can guarantee Internet marketing success even though so many products claim such guarantees or your money back. They do this because they know that most people will not bother asking for a refund. And if they do ask for a refund the company doesn't care. They make more than enough money off of the unsuspecting new marketer. Those are the people those companies take advantage of. So in your case, the answer to the question is simply "No, I can't guarantee it but if you don't get the results you want you can get your money back within x number of days."
What success have YOU had with this product?
Another simple answer, though this really should have been covered in the ad. Simply tell them your experience with the product. Be sincere and don't overhype it. If anything, downplay it just slightly. If they say to you that it doesn't sound like a glowing recommendation, just tell them you didn't want to make it sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread. You wouldn't believe a word of it. I'm just trying to be honest with you. Trust me, at this point you practically have the sale.
Will YOU help me if I need help?
This is not as easy an answer as it seems. If you're selling web hosting as a third party then the truth is you CAN'T help them with their hosting issues. They have to go through the hosting company. Tell this person that but also tell them that if they can't reach the hosting company for any reason or there is a problem that is not being resolved that you WILL contact the hosting company on the customer's behalf. In other words, you can only do what you can do. Just make sure you at least do that much. Sometimes just knowing you're there to talk to will sometimes be enough. Get used to it. Customers are sometimes your friend for life…at least for the life of the product or service. Of course, if the product is your own then you absolutely assure them that you will help them all you can, even as far as set up and use the product. This is where you need a lot of patience.
Can I see documentation of your success?
If you have it, send it. If you don't, tell them you don't actually have anything you can send but you can send them testimonials by other customers. Don't fabricate proof. If they are that skeptical that they need to see something in writing the chances of them becoming a customer are slim to none anyway. Don't knock yourself out over this one.
So, how does this thing work?
Strange question? Not at all. Many things you will sell on the Internet are information products such as, "How To Cure Allergies." Trust me. You're going to get the wise guy call you up and ask you how these allergies are cured. What's used? They're trying to get you to TELL them what's in the informational product so they don't have to buy it. When you see this coming there is only one way to handle it. You simply tell them that if you told them that they wouldn't have to buy the product and that would be bad business on my part. They'll laugh, say okay, tell you they'll check it out and at that point, it's 50-50 if they'll buy. Don't sweat it. People who try to con you out of your legitimate product are not worth your time. Be polite but don't waste a lot of time with them.
I've lain to so many times. Why should I believe YOU?
This is probably the hardest question to answer and if you think it won't be asked you better think again. I find the best way to answer this is to take the focus off of yourself. Remind them of the product guarantee. Tell them if they're not happy they can get their money back. Tell them that if you weren't on the level you wouldn't have taken the time to reply to their email in such detail. And yes, you better reply to all their questions in detail. Show them you really care. Eventually, your sincerity, without actually answering the question, will convince them.
Maybe you’ve noticed a pattern with these responses…it’s called honesty. I know, a lot of Internet marketers think this is the wrong way to handle your business, that if somebody asks you if you can guarantee if this works you’re supposed to say, “Absolutely!”
That’s not the way I do my business and it is my professional opinion that you don’t run your business that way either.
What about time frames for responses?
I have an autoresponder for my main accounts that send out an email that says, “Thank you for your inquiry. I’ll be getting back to you within 24 hours.”
You can make the timeline anything you want but make one. Don’t leave your prospects hanging. I’m going to fill you in on a little secret. Most people who run online businesses DON’T get back to their prospects. I can’t tell you how many people write to me and say something like, “I can’t believe you actually wrote back, and so fast. Most people I write to never get back to me or it takes weeks to get a reply.”
If you’re first starting out, responding promptly to an inquiry shouldn’t be a problem. If your business is really growing, get a help desk. Customer support is absolutely the most important part of your business.