As any sale peaks, and the time nears for your prospect to make a decision, one factor consistently becomes more important than everything else.

Risk.

After your prospect has looked at your capabilities, and your costs, and your prospect’s thoughts shift to…

But will this work for ME?

This is especially true nowadays that there are so many products in so many categories that offer similar, and sometimes indistinguishable, capabilities for the customer.

Here are 5 things you can do to help ease your prospect’s fears and show him that he can succeed with you…

1) Bring more resources to bear than your competition.

When I worked at IBM, we didn’t always have the most advanced products, but we did deliver more service because we had more technical support people with a wider variety of expertise than any of our competitors.

Not everyone can be an IBM, but you can focus on bringing the most relevant expertise to bear, and you can partner with outside firms to help make your customer successful.

2)    Open up relationships between your executives, your customer support, your product development and your prospect.

Your prospect doesn’t really expect you to be perfect (even though he wishes you could be). He does expect to have some difficulty with your company at some point, and what he really wants is to know that he has relationships that he can work with when problems and challenges arise.

3)    Reverse the risk with a guarantee.

This isn’t just for small ticket or retail type items. It applies to big-ticket items too. I have been offering a one year guarantee for about 5 years now, and I have a very low return rate (the number one fear that causes sellers not to give a guarantee).

4)    Deliver more proof.

Show them detailed customer success stories. Document what your other customers have done, the problems they’ve solved and the results they have gotten.

And let them speak to and in some cases even visit with customers who are successfully using your product in a similar fashion. But get some serious commitment before doing this. You should position this as a last step, something where they will agree to make a decision for you afterwards if the customer checkout gives them what they are looking for.

5) Offer a trial if necessary.

This is the most resource intensive of all the risk reduction methods, but sometimes it is necessary when selling complex or highly abstract products. You should negotiate a written commitment, and possibly even the outlines of a final contract. And your company most certainly should get paid the time and use of any people and products involved in a trial.

Use a combination of these 5 tactics to alleviate your prospects fears and be sure to ask for and get appropriate commitments first for everything that you give out.

Getting commitments is key to committing more of your resources to a sale without getting burned. You can learn exactly how to do this in my Get Commitments First course which is one of the five sales courses included in the Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program.

Sell with Pride,

Shameless Shamus