Nobody wants to make a bad decision. People don't like the unknown; they fear it. They're leery about making any change when there's the possibility of a career-derailing failure.
Your prospect's perceived risk can quickly turn into a sales objection. In order to prevent that from happening, you need to make them feel like they're in good hands.
Here are 5 strategies you can use to reduce your prospect's perceived risk in doing business with you or your company:
1. Leverage quantitative data. The more data you can have that supports your proposal, the better. Internal documentation (case studies, assessments) should be combined with external sources of validation. If at all possible, share relevant analyst's reports, studies, and articles.
2. Ensure transparency. Today's prospects want to know the truth, so don't shade it. In this social media age, where customers freely voice their opinions online, you can be assured that any issue about your offering, customer service, and financial stability can easily be uncovered.
3. Manage their expectations. Marketing strategist Kristine Maveus-Evenson says, "If both of you are clear about objectives, milestones, budget, scope of work, deliverables, and times lines, this builds trust. If you discuss this from the onset, it eliminates the FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt], which helps to mitigate their perception of risk."
4. Engage multiple stakeholders. Prior to any proposal or presentation, talk with all the people involved. Consultant Jeff Garrison recommends talking to them for at least fifteen minutes to getting their perspectives. This reduces the risk that your primary contact will be blindsided by turf issues or hidden agendas at the end of the decision-making process.
5. Offer references. Your willingness to openly share references with prospects makes a big difference. Certainly, you have your top clients who love you. But also consider offering your three newest customers, because they're most likely to relate to your prospects fears. Also, because they've just chosen you, they are likely to be strong advocates.
When your prospects are selecting which company they'll work with, certainty is a crucial factor. Unless they feel confident they're making a solid business decision, one that will help them achieve their business objectives, they'll stay with what they have. It's just plain easier - and certainly less scary.
If you ignore your prospects' fears, they won't go away. Instead, they'll lurk silently under the surface, wreaking havoc with their nerves, until your prospects finally decide that changing now isn't best for them - even if it is.