Scared of Clowns?

I may understand why some people are scared of clowns...

I always thought a fear of clowns was amusing. Why would anybody be scared of something that looks like a real-life cartoon and whose only mission is to make you laugh? Obviously I’m not scared of clowns… and you might not be scared of clowns… but your prospect may be!

Why does it matter what your potential customers are scared of? Finding out their fears early in the sales process can help you because fear is one of the primary motivators for buyers, especially buyers that don’t own the company. Lower-level buyers don’t want things to go wrong because they have taken a risk and put their reputation on the line by choosing you. If things go wrong, they have to take ownership. Some common fears include:

  • Fear of job loss
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of going over budget
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of hidden surprises
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of a bad reputation
  • Fear of change (see a pattern yet?)
  • Fear of having to cut jobs

That’s why incumbents are so hard to overcome. They may not be doing the best job, but it is a known job. And sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

If you know what prospects are scared of, your pitch to them can target those items to put them at ease. Or better yet, plant a landmine for your competition. Bring up a problem that they haven’t even thought about, then detail the pain that will cause them, and finally tell them how you are uniquely qualified to eliminate that pain. This will force your competitors to address different problems and keep them off-guard.

One Moore Thing: Using fear as a sales tactic is outdated and will not lead to a lasting relationship, but understanding what your prospect is scared, and more importantly, why they are scared, can help you alleviate their fears.