4 Factors of Risk in Selling
The Critical Factor: Risk
The critical factor in selling today is risk. Because of the continuous change, rapid obsolescence, and an uncertain economy, the risk of buying the wrong product or service has become greater than ever before.
One of our powerful needs is for security, and any buying decision that represents uncertainty triggers the feeling of risk that threatens that security.
There are four main factors that contribute to the perception of risk in the mind and hear of the customer.
Risk Factor 1: Size of the Sale
The first factor that contributes to risk is the size of the sale. The larger the scale, the more money involved, the greater the risk.
If a person is buying a package of Lifesavers, the risk of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is insignificant. But if a person is buying a computer system for their company, the risk factor is magnified by hundreds of thousands of times.
Whenever you are selling a product that has a high price on it, you must be aware that risk enters into the buyer’s calculations immediately.
Risk Factor 2: Number of People Affected
The second factor contributing to the perception of risk is the number of people who will be affected by the buying decision. Almost every complex buying decision involves several people.
There are people who must use the product or service. There are people who must pay for the product or service. There are people who are dependent of the results expected from the product or service. If a person is extremely sensitive to the opinions of others, this factor alone can cause him or her to put off a buying decision.
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Risk Factor 3: Length of Life of the Product
The third factor contributing to the perception of risk is the length of life of the product. A product or service that, once installed, is meant to last for several years, generates the feeling of risk. The customer panics and thinks, “What if it doesn’t work and I’m stuck with it?”
Risk Factor 4: Unfamiliarity
The fourth major risk factor is the customer’s unfamiliarity with you, your company, and your product or service. A first-time buyer, one who has not bought the product or service before, or who has not bought it from you, is often nervous and requires a lot of hand-holding.
Anything new or different makes the average customer tense and uneasy. This is why a new product or service, or a new business relationship with your company, has to be presented as a natural extension of what the customer is already doing.
In every case, you must overcome the customer’s fear of risk if you are going to make the sale. Everything you do, from the first contact, through closing, the delivery and installation of the product or service, and the follow-up to the sale, must be done with the customer’s perception of risk uppermost in your thinking.
Successful sales people are those who position their products or services as the lowest-risk product or service available to satisfy the particular need or achieve the particular goal of the customer.
Low-Risk vs. Low-Price
Your job is to be the low-risk provider, not necessarily the low-price vendor. Your job is to demonstrate clearly that your product or service represents the safest and most secure purchase decision rather than merely being the least expensive or highest quality.
Our customers today are the most experienced in customer history. They know that there is usually a close correlation between higher price on the one hand and greater security and after-sales satisfaction on the other. Your task is to make this differential clear in your sales presentation, especially when positioning you product or service against lower-priced competition.
Identify the risks that a customer might find with your product or service. Once you have clearly defined those risks, it will be easier to find solutions for them to ease nervous customers.
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