How to Overcome Common Sales Objections When Selling Directory Listings

Published on April 20, 2021. Updated on February 19, 2024. 

So you’ve launched a local directory website with Ideal Directories, you perfected your sales pitch and you're ready to start approaching local businesses to sell advertising on your site. But, what happens if they say “No”? Of course, you’d like every business to immediately say, “Yes” to advertising on your business directory website right away, but more often than not the first answer you’ll hear is an objection.

Have no fear. Overcoming objections is a challenge every salesperson faces and just another step in the sales process. What sets good salespeople apart from great salespeople is the ability to overcome objections. The more prepared you are to overcome these objections, the easier it will be.

Here are 7 common sales objections you might face when selling directory listings and how to overcome them.


1. I never heard of your directory website

There’s a good chance that most business owners won’t know about your directory website, especially if you are new and just launched. The best way to handle this objection is to be honest and upfront with them. Acknowledge the fact that your site is new, and that while they might not have heard about your website before, you do have plans to make your site a household name in the community. Use this as an opportunity to earn their trust and get them in on the “ground floor.”

Discuss your marketing plans and some of the things that you’ve been doing to promote your site. Make them aware that while you may not have a ton of traffic now, you are growing every day. Show them some examples of other recognizable businesses on your directory to prove your popularity is growing, and remind them that the last thing they want to do is miss out while their competitors are benefiting from the exposure on your site. Finish by pointing out that if they sign up today, you will lock them into today’s low prices, because as your site continues to grow and become more popular, your advertising rates will increase as well – just not for them.


2. It's too expensive

When an advertiser uses price as an objection, that means they don’t see the value. If you can help businesses see the benefit of advertising on your directory website, you'll be able to quickly overcome this objection and close more sales (and even demand higher prices). Start by highlighting some of the features they get with their listing including a dedicated profile page for their business complete with photos, reviews and contact information. The ability to post coupons, deals and events anytime they like, and the opportunity to reach local customers searching for businesses in their area is very beneficial. Explain the benefits of advertising on your directory website and how a listing can increase their online visibility, improve their search results, build consumer confidence and attract more local customers to their business. Compare how advertising on your business directory website costs less than a gourmet cup of coffee each day, and is much more affordable than other advertising alternatives such as paying for newspaper, mail, radio, or television space. Unlike these other more traditional media options, a listing on your directory will work for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If a business shows interest, but is still stuck on the price, consider offering them a special discount. A great way to offer a discount to an advertiser is by utilizing the Ideal Directories Coupon Code feature. Coupon codes let you discreetly offer a discount that can be applied when signing up for a listing. Leveraging the fact that everybody likes to feel like they’re getting a deal is a great way to start filling your directory website with paid listings while you gain confidence in the value you’re providing.


3. I'm already advertising somewhere else

Some businesses will object by saying they are already advertising elsewhere. That’s OK. Being listed on your directory website isn’t meant to be a replacement for a business’s existing advertising. Rather, having a listing on your directory website adds value to a business’s overall marketing plan because it presents additional opportunities to be found when consumers are searching for a specific product or service. The more places a business is seen online (and offline), the better for them.

Compliment the business owner for recognizing the need and importance of advertising and ask them how those other advertising initiatives are performing. Explain that you’re not trying to take away from anything they are currently doing. You’re just looking to help them improve their local online presence and increase their local exposure by introducing them to a new online audience. A listing on your directory website is one piece of the total marketing puzzle and fills the gap where other marketing activities fall short. 


4. What are the benefits? / I don't see how this will help me

Let’s face it - a business will only advertise on your directory website if they believe it will help them get more customers and make more money. Make it clear that your #1 goal is to support local businesses and help them grow in an ever-competitive marketplace. Give them confidence that you will do everything in your power to help them see results and prove its worth. Talk about the benefits mentioned previously and how advertising on your directory website is a long-term investment that over time will increase a business’s online visibility, improve their search results, and ultimately lead to more customers.

Need help communicating the benefits with prospects? Ideal Directories offers sales and marketing material that you can use when pitching local businesses. Our 4-Page Marketing Brochure is professionally designed and has an outline of all of the key benefits a business will enjoy when advertising with you. You can customize it with your brand and logo, print it out, and share it with potential advertisers in your marketplace.


5. We don't need to advertise

Any business that seriously says they don’t need to advertise is in trouble and is on the path to extinction. While business may be good today, nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. Every business, in every industry, in every market needs to advertise to stay competitive, attract new customers and continue to grow. Even the largest companies in the world like Coca Cola, Verizon, Ford and Amazon continue to spend millions (even billions) of dollars every year on advertising, despite them all being household names.

When a business owner tells you they don’t need to advertise, remind them that any business that wants to be around in 5, 10 or 20 years NEEDS to advertise. Commend them for working hard on establishing a successful business, and tell them that your goal is to make more people in the community aware of how great their business is so they can continue to enjoy years of prosperity.


6. I don't have time, or we're too busy

Time is one of the most valuable things to a business owner. Many small business owners work 50, 60 or even 70 hours or more each week running their business. Short-staffed and short on free time, many small business owners wear multiple hats and constantly struggle with time management. Even when a small business owner recognizes the need to advertise, making the time to listen to a salesperson or make a decision can be a challenge.

Ease their concerns by recognizing that their time is valuable and offer to revisit or call back at a time that is more convenient to them. Assure them that you only want a few minutes of their time to summarize the benefits of advertising on your site, and that you don’t need an answer right away. Give them confidence that if they do choose to advertise on your directory website, it won’t interfere with them running their business. Let them know that you will take care of everything for them including creating their listing, adding photos, uploading their menu if they have one, and making regular updates. Also don’t be afraid to tell them about any of their competitors who might already be featured on your site. Leveraging the fear of missing out while customers buy from their competitors should be enough to get a business’s attention.


7. I already have a website or a Facebook page

Some business owners think that a Facebook page or company website is all they need to build an online presence. While having a Facebook Business Page and website are both important, neither replace the need for a business listing and the opportunity to advertise on your directory site.

Explain how it’s important to take a “holistic” approach to marketing and that a listing on your directory website is the perfect complement to their website and any social media marketing they do. Having a business listing on your directory can even help drive more traffic (and more customers) to their website and Facebook page. Remind them that unlike managing their Facebook page or website that requires hours each week, managing their listing on your directory website is essentially “hands-off.” Increase value by offering to not only setup their listing for them, but also make regular updates for them if needed.


In Conclusion...

Selling directory listings to local businesses is often easy, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face some resistance. After all, sales is a numbers game, and not every client will say “yes.” Some business owners will push back initially and you can either choose to just accept “no” for an answer, or respond in a way to make them rethink their decision. By reviewing these objections and preparing to overcome them, you’ll be on your way to turning objections into opportunities which will ultimately lead to more sales. 
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