Today, risk is at the forefront of your buyer’s mind.
Buyer perceived risks are the handbrake on any deal. And if you can’t uncover, address and alleviate those fears, that handbrake isn’t coming off – no matter how fantastic the ride promises to be.
The entire B2B buying process is changing as customers increasingly try to identify risk factors and eliminate unknown variables. What motivates this risk-obsession in the modern B2B decision-maker?
In a word, fear.
A bad purchase decision for a mission-critical business process can erode a company’s profits and end an executive’s career.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Business owners and financiers got burned and learned a lesson in the 2008 recession. They’ve changed from risk-takers to risk-managers.
By some estimates $30 trillion in cash is sitting on the sidelines because of it. The Financial Times found that 49% of global influential investors simply ‘didn’t want to take any risk with their money.’
This psychology creates a self-perpetuating cycle of risk aversion that makes it harder to sell to B2B decision-makers. The impacts on buying behaviours are many, as this Buyerology post illustrates. Have you been experiencing the fear-of-risk-handbrake on your deals? Well, there’s no need to let it stop you closing. Here are 5 steps to overcoming your buyer perceived risks.
1. Handle Perceived Risk in Your Offering
Buyers no longer take at face value your claims that the product or service will perform as advertised. Do everything you can to prove that your offering will be implemented properly, will operate, be adopted and will deliver the performance improvements your prospect are hoping for.
You can use case studies or arrange for a current customer to talk to the buyer. You can have independent lab tests prove the quality, or show low warranty claims. Use detailed comparisons with the competition to show how yours is better. Talk to your buyers about their concerns around functionality, and take them seriously. Pass them on to your people in production and design.
There may even be some truth in their concerns, make sure these go away.
2. Handle Perceived Risk in the Outcome
Your promise of desired results is not enough on its own. The buyer must feel absolutely confident beyond doubt that the outcome they need will be achieved in a good time frame. And that your offering is the only way to get there. Give them every reason to feel that this is true.
3. Handle Perceived Risk in You, the Seller
Building a relationship with the buyer, with trust at its core, is essential for the buyer to take your advice seriously. Work on this relationship as a priority, and at every moment demonstrate reliability, competence, and integrity.
This works at both individual and company level. Your buyer is looking closely for any reason to doubt these qualities in you – don’t give them one!
4. Handle Perceived Reputational Risk
Again, this works at company and individual level. Executives are extremely conscious of how they will look coming out of a deal. Personal risks include the potential loss of credibility and political capital from proposing or spearheading an unpopular purchase.
Be conscious of this and help them to see how this deal will boost their personal standing and reputation. With case studies or your existing customers, you can highlight the positive experience of the executive decision-maker within that buyer.
5. Handle These Risks at Every Stage of the Deal
As you begin to understand and develop effective answers to these perceived risks, handle them loud and clear in every stage of your interaction with a buyer. Throughout the pre-sales content, the entire sales interaction and even the post-sale implementation.
For more about buyer perceived risks, this great post from Selling Power illustrates the financial, physical, and social risks which buyers are wary of during any deal.
So oil your sales process well with satisfactory answers to these buyer fears, and ensure your deals stop grinding to a halt. Give the buyer every reason to take that handbrake off and enjoy the ride.
How do you combat perceived risk in your buyers?
Share and let us know.