When you approach a person with a business proposition, product or service, they evaluate every bit of information you dole out with just one question:
“What’s in it for me?”
If you initiated the contact, your prospect is probably cold as ice. Not only do they think they don’t need your product or service, they don’t trust you either.
Their distrust is based on six fears.
1. They fear you.
This is a trust issue. Your first job is to help them realize that you’re just like them. You’re a regular person. You’ve been in their shoes. But even better, you are someone who is dedicated to helping them make decisions that are good for them.
Adopt the attitude of servitude and people will like you, trust you, and listen to you.
Think of yourself as an educator. Your job is to give them enough information, enough understanding, to determine what’s best for them. You’ve been down this road before, so you know both the benefits and the pitfalls that await your clients. Share stories of other satisfied clients as well as some of the features and benefits of ownership they may not have expected.
2. The fear being lied to.
This fear also is based on having no trust. Have you ever had someone tell you a product or service would do something and it turned out that it wouldn’t, or that it would, but it was very difficult? If you haven’t, then you’ve probably heard of someone who has. The bottom line is that you were taken advantage of or were lied to.
When a person asks a specific question about whether your product or service can meet a specific need, use that feature as a key element in your presentation or demonstration. Make sure they know you were paying attention to their specific need. Never attempt to close a sale, or a deal, until you know for certain that their number one challenge is resolved by your proposition.
3. They fear incurring debt.
Debt is one of the worst four-letter words in our vocabulary. But society makes it too easy to over-extend ourselves, forcing us to tighten our belts to get out of it. People want to avoid incurring debt unless they can rationalize the decision as providing more value that the detriment of the debt. If you’re in a business where return on investment can be calculated, have those figures at hand for every potential client. If you don’t have the figures, at least have letters from existing clients who are happy they made the decision to do business with you.
4. They fear losing face
Nobody wants to be embarrassed. I must admit, in fact, this is one of my greatest fears. I just hate to look stupid and to get embarrassed. It’s bad enough to make a poor decision, but when that decision is known and looked down on by others, perhaps our bosses or spouses, we have lost face. We feel others have lost confidence in us. It’s a feeling nobody wants to have more than once.
Keep in mind that you need to make your clients look good for having made a decision to do business with you. In many situations, you will need to build up their confidence in their own decision-making abilities before the actual decision. A brief recap of all the information your potential client has gained from your presentation, showing how much they’ve learned, will build their confidence.
5. They fear making a mistake
We’ve all make a bad buying decision sometime. We purchased something and later regretted it. We were filled with buyer’s remorse! Because of that feeling, we now have an ingrained fear of making a similar mistake again. Assure your clients that you are only interested in their best interests. You want the solution that is good for them. Convince them of this, and they will let you help them. Guarantees and escape clauses are put into deals to alleviate this fear.
6. They fear the unknown
It’s normal to fear the unknown. That’s why as sales professionals it is our responsibility to help our potential clients learn everything they need to know about us, our products and our services. Hopefully, they’ll learn enough to see the value of owning our offering.
Until you establish trust in your potential client, your presentation will like fall on deaf ears, or be rejected.