Most buyers are relatively risk-averse. If your product doesn’t live up to your claims, it’ll be their reputation that suffers -- not yours. Even worse, they might be unable to achieve their business goals or solve a pressing problem.

Combine these concerns with a psychological aversion to loss. Because people register losses more acutely than gains, the typical buyer would rather stick with the status quo and risk nothing than change and risk a bad investment.

Here’s the good news: You can tailor your approach to soothe your prospect’s fears. These five guidelines will help you close deals with even the most risk-averse buyers.

How to Close Risk-Averse Prospects

1) Avoid the Word “New”

Your product might be “revolutionary,” “first of its kind,” or “highly advanced” -- but don’t describe it as such.

“New and improved” can actually be a disadvantage in the sales process. Prospects interpret novelty as dangerous, since your product hasn’t yet proven its value or reliability.

Instead, use terms and examples that make the buyer feel safe and speak to their desire to avoid risk.

Here’s an example of how you’d change your messaging:

Before: “Our dental cassettes are made with an innovative silicone rail design that reduces instrument contact by 74%.”

After: “The dental cassettes’ silicone rail design decreases instrument contact by 74%, which significantly lowers chances of infection.”

2) Explain How Easy It Is to Cancel

It’s tempting to gloss over your cancellation or refund policy -- after all, you don’t want the buyer to consider returning your product before she’s bought it in the first place.

But according to an analysis of 25,537 calls by Gong, a sales conversation intelligence SaaS platform, you should highlight how easy it is for customers to change their mind.

Salespeople are 32% more likely to close when they use “risk-reversal” language, such as:

  • “It takes less than 10 minutes to cancel … ”
  • “You don’t need any tech savvy for implementation … ”
  • “We guarantee 99.99% uptime … ”
  • “If you’re not happy, you can opt out at any time … ”
  • “We offer monthly and quarterly contracts … ”

3) Compare The Prospect’s Company to Similar Ones

Prospects care about results. However, simply telling them about the ROI of your product probably won’t be effective.

A survey from HubSpot Research found only 3% of people consider sales reps trustworthy. That means statements like “You’ll achieve [results] in [time period]” or “Expect to save $X every year” will likely be met with skepticism rather than excitement.

Bringing up the impact similar customers have seen makes a big difference. The buyer might not wholeheartedly trust you, but they will trust another company.

Find an organization you’ve worked with that’s in the same industry as your prospect’s organization, sells to the same market, operates in the same location, deals with the same challenges, and/or sells the same product.

If your prospect still seems unconvinced, consider introducing them to a reference. (This step is best used as a last reserve, since it can slow down the sales process and create work for your customer.)

4) Highlight Your Support, Service, and Security

Don’t give your prospect the impression they’ll be on their own after they sign the contract. Emphasize the hand-holding they’ll receive with services such as:

  • Onboarding
  • Implementation
  • Training
  • Support
  • Security

For example, you might say: 

We’ll walk you through everything the product can do and set it up to meet your unique needs. After that, you’ll have a bi-weekly check-in call with a customer success representative for the first four months after purchase. You can alternatively call our support line at any time for help. And if you ever need a response right away, I’m available at this number or by email.”

5) Proactively Address Their Concerns

Pay close attention to your prospect’s questions and their tone of voice. When they spend a long time on a specific aspect of the product or purchase or sound less sure than usual, there’s a good chance they’re worried.

Don’t ignore their hesitation in the hopes it’ll resolve itself. The longer an objection goes unaddressed, the more powerful it typically becomes.

Instead, say something along the lines of, “You seem a little hesitant. What do you think about [topic]?”

You can also say, “Some potential customers fear [undesirable event will happen]. That’s a valid concern. Fortunately, [event] isn’t an issue because [reason].”

This statement simultaneously justifies the buyer’s anxiety and resolves it.

You have faith in your product -- because you consistently see proof it works. Your prospects don’t have the benefit of this first-hand experience. Modify your selling strategy to show buyers why your product is worth the risk.

HubSpot CRM

Originally published Jan 23, 2017 8:30:00 AM, updated January 23 2017


Sales Strategy