Is there fear in sales? Yes.
Fear is present in every sales process. Most sales calls have some amount of healthy or unhealthy fear/concern/tension in them. Consider the racing heart rate for some as they walk in to make a cold call or preparing to meet a customer for the final presentation to earn the order. If managed appropriately this type of fear helps sales professionals stay sharp, but has little influence on the sales process.
There is a fear which impacts the outcome of the sales process. The client’s fear of change or the fear of being wrong influence the outcome of a sales process. An example of fear might look like the selection committee making a decision which ends up using the lowest common denominator needs for all parties (fear of being wrong). In many cases when a committee selects based on the lowest common denominator this will mean “Let’s keep what we know (the status quo).”
The presence of a need is the bare minimum for a sales process to be created. To earn the order, the sales professional must overcome the client’s fear of change or the fear of being wrong. Simply knowing the needs to address is not enough.
Sales professionals must understand their client’s level of Dissatisfaction and the Expected Gains they will receive in comparison to the Current Value which the client assigns to the other solution and the Fear they have of making a change. Represented visually as an equation:
Dissatisfaction + Expected Gains > Current Value + Fear
The status quo is Current Value + Fear.
What is Current Value (CV)? It is the value the client receives from the competition. This is the value which must be overcome. Does the competition have a high cost but great delivery? Do they provide the opposite? Are the service team members like family to the teams they are currently serving at the client? Did the incumbent provide a tremendous service during prototyping? Understanding the value ascribed to the competition will help create the expected gains which will be presented.
Again, to overcome CV+Fear the sales professional must do more than simply know the needs of their client. They must understand the impact of these needs on internal dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction is easily definable, but hard to measure. However, sales professionals must engage with clients knowing they must overcome the CV+Fear equation. The dissatisfaction the client is currently experiencing has a dramatic impact on the success (or even the need to develop) of your solution.
If there is no dissatisfaction with the competition the Expected Gains (EG) alone must outweigh the CV+Fear for the customer.
Education is the best way I’ve found for a sales professional to tip the scales in favor of changing the status quo. Education is a two-way street and starts with the sales professional learning from the client. It progresses through the process with the client learning more about the possible solution and providing feedback. The education process allows a sales professional to develop the solution which will tip the scales in their favor.
With the right sales process and an effective education cycle the status quo can be changed. Then your competitors will be chasing the CV you have defined.
If you would like to learn more about creating an accountable team focused on growing your sales, please contact me and we will schedule a time to begin educating each other.