One of the main issues or reasons for either “no decision” or “we’re going with competitor x” is directly related to the decision maker feeling your solution or offering is too risky.
Even if you feel you have the absolute best solution, if any undue risk or perception of risk raises it ugly head in the final moments – no dealt is coming your way.
Why does risk rate so high in the decision makers minds?
Good question and here are the reasons – yes, reasons…
- Career Stopper Issue
This one is the biggie of the group. In this current economic situation we are experiencing, most buyers or decision makers are scared to make a wrong or poor decision. These people feel one bad decision is a career ending event. Therefore, they begin to play it safe rather than take any form of risk. No risk in their mind is safe.
- Behavioral Style Issue
The style we find most often in the buyer role are people who have opposite behavioral styles or patterns from the b2b sales person. So, when the aggressive, direct b2b sales person is pushing a solution with a high return factor, the buyer with the opposite style begins to push back. Why? Because they believe they are being sold a bill of goods – meaning a bad choice. Thus, they use a passive aggressive technique to appear to be moving forward only to do nothing or go with someone else – after the b2b sales person has left. Avoiding confrontation is another trait of the risk averse buyer – so seller beware.
- Fear of the Unknown Issue
Buyers want to have certainty in decision making process. The fear of the unknown or uncertainty is a major stubbing block on the decision pathway. These buyers will knowingly stay in a bad situation because they feel a lack of time to invest in verifying your “risky” solution. In other words, they stay with the bad but “known” situation rather than create any change hassles for themselves or others. The lack or certain or fear of the unknown stops many a sale right in their tracks.
These three reasons are the majority of the reasons behind a lack of risk taking by buyers. There are other related issues, yet, they seem to drive back to the big two above.
As a business to business sales person, you will need to focus upon becoming the low risk provider. Notice this has no relationship to “low cost provider” as it is purely a risk averse play. Busy decision makers do not or will not take the time to fully evaluate your offers especially if they have had negative experiences in the past with similar solutions.
These long memories of the buyers will create hardships for the honest b2b sales person, who recognizes or discusses the risk element. The higher the return on an offering, there is usually a higher risk factor associated with the return.
Now we are back to the reason for no decision – in the mind of the buyer, no decision is a safer decision. Even if you have shown the buyer the costs associated with a no decision, the fear of the unknown rules and they continue down the same path as before.
Regarding the unknown, use referrals as often as possible. Have satisfied customers tell the buyer or decision maker how you made the transition smooth and quiet for them – hinting the same will take place after their decision is made. Specific testimonials dealing with the buyers concerns or issues will also improve your position in lowering the perception of risk.