In our years of working with Exporters into the European market we have found there are six common objections a European Customer will express to a small innovative business. The purpose of this blog is to share some common strategies we recommend to overcome the objections when buying a new product from a new player in the market and win the deal. These six common sales objections are:
- No Budget Available for a New Purchase
- New Means Risk
- It’s Hard to Change
- Dealing with a Small Business Means Risk
- An Overseas Player Won’t Provide Good Local Support
- No Major Value Added from your Product compared to Others
No Budget Available for a New Purchase
Budget is an objection, there may simply be no budget for a new investment. If you want to sell your product or service, it’s important to be able to justify this unplanned cost. While a motivated buyer will often explain to you what they need to make the purchase happen. It is important that you as the seller can highlight the return on investment and breakeven point for this new purchase. Ensure you have two scenarios that you can put to them
Scenario one – they do not purchase from you. Consider the overall expense of the existing solution they have such as maintenance, upgrades, and servicing costs. Of course, you need to gather as much information as you can on their existing expenses to provide a plausible scenario. You might also draw attention to the number of employees and their salaries who work on the existing solution.
If there is a potential risk they are exposed to by not purchasing you could show the cost of this. In the medical industry, for instance, if your solution improves patient care and lowers the cost of medical errors, you may also factor in the potential cost of being sued in the event of a medical error.
Scenario two – you show them the benefits of having your solution including costs of migration, training and installation. If they can expect an increase in revenue or some savings after a period of time, make sure the period of comparison between scenario one and two gives you enough time to show that.
Your solution may decrease running costs, or remove a risk decreasing insurance policy costs so ensure you have this added into your scenario.
It’s also important that you clearly explain why these benefits are important to ensure the customer doen’t see them as minor perks rather than true differences worth considering when making their purchasing decisions!
New Means Risk
It’s a significant barrier, and it’s common when entering a new market. Purchasing something new from an unknown player in the market is perceived as risky. If something goes wrong, a buyer’s biggest nightmare is having fingers pointed at them. They are afraid of being accused of not thoroughly evaluating a potential supplier’s credentials.
To address this issue, you must reassure your prospective European customers by showing your credentials of others in the industry who have used your business without issue. This will lower the perceived risk in the eyes of your prospective European consumers.
An Australian client developed a series of case studies based on their Australian clients within the industries we were targeting in Europe. This went a long way, to ensuring the European clients could see it was in fact, low risk to try this Australian product. The premise being if large Australian companies in the same industry as them had adopted this product on a large scale
then it had to be worthwhile and reputable.
It’s Hard to Change
Change is often hard and not just in the European market. Customers are often reluctant to change, and may need to be convinced that it will meet their needs. The best way to show them the benefits of changing is not just through words, but also through data-driven analysis. Here are some techniques you can do:
With a contractual change you need to show how you can smooth the way for your prospective customers to switch their buying from their current supplier to your product. What barriers can you remove? A great example is that you may have recently received a call from an electricity provider. Some of them offer to arrange the transfer of your service without requiring you to contact your existing energy supplier. It’s pretty clever; they’re attempting to reduce the administrative burden of moving to a new electricity provider. They make it easy for you to change. What solutions can your business come up with?
This is a big objection in the information technology sector. Consider a hospital that wants to purchase new software for managing patient records. The hospital’s biggest fear would be anything going wrong, such as losing patient data. So, of course, you want to transition simply and safely. Show how simple it will be to transition to your system. You will also emphasise your prior expertise with effective, secure, and zero-downtime migrations.
Physical change and changing habits
One of our customers manufactures massive manufacturing lines. When they locate a client who is interested in their products, they must first visit and evaluate the plant. The physical space required for their equipment is a major factor for them. It will determine the size of the production line that is built and possibly additional work such as digging into the ground to accommodate their machinery.
This means that they must have a change-management strategy in place, and so must you. This could be an offer to either help the client with the changeover or deliver it as part of your solution to make it easy for the customer. Another way to handle this objection is to also include training for the end-users to ensure they adopt your product without problems or reluctance.
Dealing with a Small Business Means Risk
Large European private or public organisations tend to go for what they perceive as the safe
choice, and pick the largest supplier. Often there is a perception that buying from a small overseas business is a risk. The best way to overcome this objection is to play to your strength i.e as a small business, you are agile.
Small businesses are often more flexible than larger companies, providing them with the ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and customer needs. It’s important when it comes time to implement new policies or procedures that could affect your business’s bottom line in unexpected ways.
Smaller businesses are also often more flexible and able to move quickly through changes in their industry or marketplace, which makes them well-suited for implementing new technology solutions that require them or at least some portion of their workforce to be on call 24/7/365 days per year!
An Overseas Player Won’t Provide Good Local Support
This objection is common, and it’s easy to see why. Many customers are wary of dealing with a company that doesn’t operate in their country. However, customer support matters! If your business relies on its customers’ trust, you need to make sure they feel comfortable when they contact you.
You can offer technical assistance through a local partner to provide level-one support. This means they make the initial call and conduct all preliminary checks on your behalf before submitting a case to you.
One of our clients made the commitment with a potential manufacturer to hire a local technician if the deal was signed with them. This commitment was something to be implemented further down the track but was enough to reassure the client as the commitment came from the CEO of the company.
No Major Value Added from your Product compared to Others
If a client does not see a significant benefit from switching to your product, this should prompt you to perform further research. Perhaps in their minds, your offering isn’t that distinct from the competitors, thus it’s not worth altering. You must take a step back to overcome this notion. I’ll now walk you through a basic method to help you dig down and figure out what’s going on. I’ve summarised the strategy below for you to refer to at any moment.
Scheduling a debrief call with the customer
A phone contact or meeting with a customer who decided not to purchase your product and ask for feedback. You present it as engaging in a continuous improvement process. This is a tactic we use often here at Exportia as people love to share their opinion and will feel as if they are sharing their valuable thoughts.
Revisit their three major pain points
When phoning always start with their pain points ask them for their top three problems. Discover why they are important and the impact this has on their business. Once you now which issue is the most important you can assess the level of urgency to solve each of these problems.
Based on this, are you both aligned?
Then you must determine whether these three issues are the ones you already identified. Consider whether you overlooked anything. Compare it to the value proposition you developed the first time you approached them.
When it comes to overcoming these six common objections of European customers, you need to have a true understanding of what the issue really is. Discover the customer pain point and the problem you solve for your client compared to your competitors offering. Most importantly never give up.
Want to know more about how to effectively market your business in the European market? Get your FREE copy of “The 4 Steps to Generate Your First Million Euros in Sales” book here: https://www.exportia.com.au/export-business-europe/
You can also create an initial Export Readiness Diagnostic within 20 minutes here: https://diagnostic.exportia.com.au/ It will show you a report summarising if your business is ready and includes a personalised to-do list for your next step.
Contact me to schedule a 45-minute debriefing session with me once you have your report.