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How to convince skeptical backers to support your Kickstarter campaign

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

“The fact is that objections are good. Objections indicate interest. Successful sales have twice as many objections as unsuccessful sales.” – Brian Tracy, bestselling author of The Psychology of Selling

Don’t you just hate objections? Why can’t we just get what we want with no hassle? Say you’ve just spent thirty minutes pouring your heart out, trying to get your family excited about this awesome new project you just launched on Kickstarter. It seems like no matter what you say or how passionately you say it, they’ll come back with something like, “Yea, but I don’t want my credit card to be online,” or “So when are you going to get a real job and stop all this nonsense?”

Check out the steps below for some tips as to how to deal with objections like this and convince backers to support your Kickstarter campaign. These steps are intended for family and friend backers, not strangers. For tips on how to attract strangers as backers, check out the interview I did with Jason Coffe’s Warhawks, who raised $20,000 on Kickstarter. You can view a quote from the interview below.

kickstarter tips

Step 1: Determine if the objection is emotional or rational

Rational objections could include:

– I don’t think you have the ability to pull this off and don’t want to waste my money.

– I don’t understand how the money will be used.

– I don’t have enough money to pledge at such a high tier.

Most of the time, rational objections are great feedback and are usually an indication that you need to improve something about your campaign, be that communicating why you have the ability to execute on your vision, doing a better budget/cost breakdown of how the funds will be used, or adding in lower pledging tiers so that the reward tiers don’t from $5 up to $150.

Emotional objections could include:

– I don’t like the idea of my credit card being out there on the internet.

– I can’t afford to donate $25.

– You’re raising so much, I don’t think my contribution would make very much difference, but good luck!

– This seems like a scam.

Emotional objections are those that you need to work towards overcoming and where backers will take a bit of persuading before they are ready to jump on the bandwagon. As stated above, this assumes that you are talking with your family and friends who are certainly capable of supporting you, not with strangers.

Step 2: Address the objection – Put yourself in their shoes.

“Objections are nothing more than your potential client asking you to slow down, clarify a point or educate them better before asking them to make a decision. Your job is to keep them emotionally involved in the benefits they’ll receive from your product or service. Once they own it emotionally, they (and you) will find plenty of reasons to rationalize the final ownership decision.” Tom Hopkins, author of the bestselling How to Master the Art of Selling

You know your family and friends better than anyone else. What may make my friend feel secure about using their debit card on the internet (just mentioning how Kickstarter payments are processed through Amazon) may be completely different from what makes your friend or family member feel secure.

The idea is to take the emotional state they are in now, which coincides with objection, and transform it into a situation where they feel positive about your campaign, an integral part of your mission, and like they will get something cool out of backing you.

There is no one way to catalyze this transformation, which is why trial and error is your best tool. For example, if a potential backer says that they don’t feel like their meager $10 contribution will put a dent in your $10,000 goal (an actual objection taken from a reader’s backer), you need to change the way they think about how their action will support your project.

Rather than seeing $10 as .10% of $10,000, focus on how their pledge is not just a vote of confidence or a showing of emotional support, it’s a social endorsement that enhances your internet credibility and social proof. It’s not about the money, it’s about what the money says about your project. You have real offline connections who believe in you. They vouch for your passion and technical expertise.

As another example, another reader that contacted me talked about how initially one of their family members said they couldn’t afford to pledge, even at a lower tier. Eventually, it came out that the family member didn’t think the reader was serious about the Kickstarter project, that they just wanted the money, and that he or she would lose interest after two weeks because they are always doing something new, but never sticking with it.

Pretty heavy stuff! In this situation, the best idea would be to emphasize the all-or-nothing requirement for Kickstarter and that their card will not be charged unless you campaign really hard on a consistent basis so that you can raise your goal. In addition, you can emphasize that the Kickstarter terms of service state:

Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. By creating a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, you as the Project Creator are offering the public the opportunity to enter into a contract with you. By backing a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, you as the Backer accept that offer and the contract between Backer and Project Creator is formed.

According to the terms of service, you as a project creator are required to fulfill any promised rewards and can face legal action from backers if you do not do so (if you take the money and run).

Again, often times you will need to confront the same emotional objection multiple times until you discover the information that is required to assuage their fears.

“Treat objection as a request for more information. If the customer says, “I can’t afford it,” you can imagine that the customer is really saying, “Show me how I can justify spending this amount of money.” –The Art of Closing the Sale

Step 3: Involve backers in the creation process.

You may not be able to convince every family member or friend to back your Kickstarter project. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to get at least 1% of your social network to pledge $50. However, if you are persistent, you will receive more backers than had you given up after a few objections.

After you have secured these backers, be sure to keep them in the loop with weekly updates and milestones. Halfway through your campaign, ask them to share your campaign on their social networks and consider upping their pledge because of the awesome progress you’ve seen. Try to involve them as much as possible in the creative process. Make it both an emotional and financial investment, on which they eventually see incredible returns.

While working in sales for Hireworx, a Washington DC startup, before I set out on my own, I always saw objections as being barriers that kept other people from doing what it took to be successful. For me, every objection brought me closer to my goal of making the customer reap the rewards that come with product ownership and feel comfortable about the value provided in exchange for their hard earned money.

For more information, check out A Quick-and-Dirty Guide to Sales for Entrepreneurs or 9 Proven Sales Tips for Introverts

Be sure to share some of the objections you have received below.

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