Updated: Jul 22, 2021
You have to be prepared to take a risk or two to succeed in business...
However, don’t expect your customers to have the same level of zest for risk-taking as you. Particularly when they know they will ultimately pay for it if the risk turns sour, or you, as the salesperson under-deliver.
For the most part taking risks is a tense, uncomfortable experience for many. Each customer you meet will have a different risk threshold, that is to say, a level of perceived risk they are willing to move towards but rarely cross over. As sales professionals we can at times underestimate the inherent risks relating to what it is we sell and deliver. These risks can seem immaterial to us, but can be debilitating for customers. Particularly if we have never purchased a similar product or taken time out to assess the risks from the consumer’s point of view.
Customers are cautious creatures and even more so when the market is flat. This can be frustrating for both the seller and buyer. The customer laments, ‘I really want to buy, but I just don’t trust my ability to receive the required value leverage, it’s too risky.’ And the salesperson grumbles,‘I know you need my help, but what else do I need to demonstrate to gain your trust?!’ These stalemates play out habitually in challenging markets.
The best way to cut-through fear is to remove all traces of "perceived" risk. In addition, educate the customer with compelling information that takes them to a place of new knowledge and clarity. To really drive change, or change the customer’s point of view, you will need to completely commit to your commercial cause and be willing to fight for it, because ultimately you’re fighting for the customer. Giving up at the first sign of rejection shows the customer just how committed you are and can validates their lack of belief in you.
Tips to leverage risk and help the customer see more value
Share the risk! Find ways to put skin in the game and let the customer know you are invested in the outcome too.
Reduce risk by demonstrating how much time and energy you have invested in preparation (Dare to Prepare).
Acknowledge the customer’s risks and probe and ask better (Masterful) questions to evaluate the importance of each risk.
Identify the most serious risks and introduce your new compelling chunks of information or objective data that helps them to confidently move forward.
Add more value by introducing value add complimentary products or services (high perceived value/low cost) at the appropriate time.
Share case studies or success stories about how you or your customers successfully overcame similar risks and their related benefits.
Get creative, consider offering flexible terms that activate your product’s value immediately.
Always be empathetic, and remember it’s much easier to give risk advice than to live the risk.
Be willing to say 'No’ if you genuinely feel the risk outweighs the value for the customer (trade the short-term for the long-term gain or credibility).
When you apply the right de-risking strategy and communicate from a place of deep belief, your customers will be transformed from frozen and confused to willing and motivated.
This article is an excerpt from Trent's second book: Outlaw: Fight For Your Customers and Sell without Fear! Buy on Amazon.com!