I have shared the fact that Corporate Customers are all about Safety and Security. They base their decisions upon the degree of risk assumed to be in play when dealing with you.
Therefore, it is extremely important to be aware of the triggers used by your prospects or customers to assign risk to doing business with you or any other b2b sales person.
So here is a list of ten key triggers to watch for during your interactions with you customer and particularly the decision makers.
These ten triggers include…
- Lack of Deliverable Results
Pretty obvious here – they do not believe you can deliver. By the way, the most common form of this trigger comes when you max out a statement on ROI, which they personally believe is unattainable. While this feels strange for us optimist types, it is a common issue with risk avoidance decision makers.
- Missing Deadlines and Losing Money
Here is where your project management skills come into play. Show how you have lead the management of time lines and deadlines in the past. It helps to have a testimonial or a current customer explain to the targeted account just how effective your project skills have been for them.
- The Financial Condition of Your Company
You may have no control over this unless the decision maker has a completely erroneous perception of your company. You make need the CFO of your company to address this concern with the decision maker – particularly if you are a private company. Also, a Dunn & Bradstreet rating or a Bank’s letter of recommendation are also helpful.
- Cultural issues including compatibility
This is usually the most overlooked risk factor of the group, yet, it can have a true impact upon the success of the deal. Take time to review the cultures of the targeted company (I used a plural on purpose due to different business units within the same organization can have completely different cultures.) and make sure you will be able to have alignment during the implementation phrase. By the way, this is the critical piece when you need to make certain you have taken the time to meet with all the players involved – workers/users/technical people/financial people/executives/influences/and blockers – so they do not have a “you left us out of the process” axe to grind with you.
- Quality Standards of Your Work or Products
ISO, Six Sigma, etc for the products help on the quality side, however, the more important quality issues deal with exactly how you deliver. Timely notifications and follow-up, fast response time, accuracy of billing statements and open dialogue are more meaningful qualitative issues for many decision makers and users.
- Do You Have the Right Level of Expertise
Tough call for you to make, however, if you know you are lacking in a critical expertise then it is time to have a team effort. It is possible you will need to engage a partner outside your organization who demonstrated the necessary expertise (and you learn from them for the future) or you bring in a more experienced person from within your organization to assist you. Think collaboration and you will win.
- Accuracy of Projections
Here is a test for you to keep your measurements on all projects to show you meet your projections at a high level. The best form is when you have already performed at a high level and have tracked the results and compared the results with your original projections. Testimonials are also very valuable when dealing with this risk trigger.
- Longevity of Your Business
How long your company has been around is a major security question for many decision makers. If your company is new, it is important to show the track record and credentials of the key officers from your new organization to show both experience and expertise. The interesting thing here is the implied sense of security or safety when you can state you have been around for several decades. The key is the closer you are to the ten year mark, the better the decision maker will feel. The rule of thumb is it takes five years to show you are a serious player (since most new companies will fail in the first five years than any other combination.)
- You’re Too Small
Here is the question of resources and expertise to meet any challenge head on. An interesting factor is most large companies feel it is necessary to work with other big companies. The reason is totally about the safety factor – just like executives always choose IBM since no one would get fired for hiring or buying from IBM. Again, sometimes – if you are small – you will need to partner with some other company to get the first contact or project.
- You’re Too Big
This one is truly interesting, yet, is in play for a number of decision makers. If they feel you are too big, then they will feel they (the customer) will not get the personalized service or support they want. All to often, big companies seem to tell the smaller ones exactly how they will do things – no questions asked. It really boils down to how well you ask questions and listen to their answers. Finding what is important to the decision maker and ensuring performance in those areas of need.
The key for you is to find out exactly which of the above list is of the most concern for your targeted account. This takes great questioning to learn. Then it will be important for you to take the time to plan out a response for each type of concern (risk triggers) in order to ease their concern. Again, the best method is to have an open dialogue about the concern – using your planned response to begin – and then walking the decision maker through the process.