“The biggest problems aren’t always visible sometimes you have to dig deeper to find what lies beneath” - unknown
Arguably every sale we make has some element of risk to the person in front of us. Our job is to significantly reduce the perceived risk of purchase (of our service or product) to our customer. The reality is, even when we build trust with someone we still can’t take remove the primal nature of fear.
Whether we like it or not, self-interest drives most of our actions. Self-preservation is a strong and unruly thing that can sabotage, save and help you sell. Our clients’ fear of risk is tied to their sense of self-preservation. As sales professionals we must understand this and work with this in mind.
Eliminating Risk should be a sales persons number 1 priority
There are three primary risk drivers that I’ve noticed:
- Risk of personal gain/loss – What’s in for me?
- Risk of external perception – What will others say?
- Risk of future enjoyment - Will I regret it later? (not one people often consider)
During our customer conversations we need to be aware of theses internal and external factors that will drive decision making, regardless of what process you think they follow.
We sometimes need to help our customers
- Reduce the voice of internal risk and increase the confidence of external expectation
- Reduce the risk for your contact to his/her stakeholders
- Understand the risks and limits to your service that may affect future results
The question is: What perceived risks could your clients potentially have in purchasing your services today?
Internal voice you may not hear
- I really can’t afford this.
- I’ll buy it another time.
- Not enough information.
- Not sure about the person.
- Not sure about the company.
- Not sure about the solution.
- Do we really need this right now?
- What will I really get back from this?
- What if I buy it and it doesn’t work out?
- What will the boss think of this decision?
- I may be able to get it cheaper somewhere else.
- Our employees may not like it.
- My colleagues may disagree with my decision.
In all these scenarios the customer feels that the risk of purchase outweighs thereward of ownership. This is when you will hear “I’ll think about it” or “I need to talk it over with...” It doesn’t matter at what stage your relationship is. If you’re bringing something new, changing something old or simply asking for something different, the client’s inner-risk voice will be active.
This will be your biggest barrier to making the sale. Get mastery of eliminating risk through preparation and practice! If you eliminate risk, they will buy.
Steps to Prepare and Eliminate Risk in your Customer Conversations
Identify your risks to purchase
Some examples of this for you could be
- You are still not that known to parts of the business
- You’re in early stages of your relationship and still building trust
- You haven’t yet built a strong enough reputation with people they respect
- You don’t have other perceived resources or tools they might want or need today
- They’ve tied themselves into a technology or process and yours may not be compatible
Create great corresponding risk removers or reframes
- Run a pilot, taster or sample of your product or solution, including other stakeholders
- Create a joint proposal with the client that will be shared with the business (share the outcome)
- Identify specific customers in a similar position to them and facilitate a conversation between them. They act as an active example of that service.
- Invite other stakeholders to discuss ways they see your solution helping with the least amount of disruption.
Risk reframe statements and examples
- State that anything new will be slow, incremental and collaborative (prepare a clear pathway)
- If relevant, recall a time with the customer that a new project implementation went well. Agree with the client on the best aspects of that process and move things forwards.
- Review what the future big goal is for the customer and make the connection to your product/service specific and strategic to all stakeholders involved.
Tell me what you think about these ideas?
Do you recognise things you’ve used in your own conversations?
Is there something else you would add? let me know.