The Fear Factor (Part 2)

Last week we talked about fear as a powerful element on the buy side and the fact that fear of pain is a more powerful emotion than reward. So how do we overcome this resistance in a buyer?  This can be approached in a couple of ways.

One, we can identify his perceived risk and remove it. For example:

  • If he is afraid of losing his money, we can provide a guarantee.
  • If he is afraid of making a mistake by committing to a long term agreement, we can provide a release.
  • If he is afraid of making a mistake, we can provide a trial or beta test.

The key is pinpointing where the fear really lies and solving for the perceived risk in a very focused and specific way.

Now, when it comes to the buyer who is fearful in general, sometimes the conversation has to involve a comparison of risks in which we need to show him how risky it is not to make a decision.  Then, rather than defaulting to no decision as his perceived lowest risk, he realizes no decision may present the biggest risk of all.  Obviously, a “special sale” features some of these dynamics since once the sale is over, the discount may be lost.

But in more complex selling, it is usually a matter of making a numbers-based case comparing the cost of no change to changing, or the risk of losing ground to competitors who may be buying in to newer and better products and services.  The use of numbers is usually critical in overcoming primal emotional fear. Here’s an example

“Mr. Buyer, the bottom line is that each month we delay putting the property on the market means an additional carrying cost of $50,000. So if we can list for $10M today, or we can list for $10M in three months, but the delay will cost $150,000, so your real closing price will be $9,850,000. If you have decided to sell, the time to move is now. “


Remember, the key is probing gently to identify the real fear in play and focusing on it with clear solutions.  It takes some detective work but it can definitely pay off when dealing with the indecisive, fearful buyer.


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