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Are You Selling to Their FUD Factor?

“FUD Factor” is an old selling term that stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

The idea as a sales person is to focus on a buyer’s fears, uncertainty and doubts in trying something new or in taking no action or in doing business with your competitors.

A foundation of all buying is the opposite balance, like a kid’s teeter-totter, between a buyer’s need to get the lowest possible price and the fear of increasing their risk or having hassles. But when a buyer sees their impending decision as either high risk, significant hassles, large dollars or a first time decision, then they’ll be much less likely to be concerned about finding the lowest priced alternative. When a buyer feels their buying decision involves little risk they’ll always select the lowest priced alternative they can find.

So if you want to get your margins up you need to make sure your buyer sees the full story and consequences if they make the wrong buying decision. Discussing the FUD Factor, the possible fears, uncertainty and doubts a buyer or buyer’s team might have is one of the best ways to insure your buyer doesn’t just buy the cheapest and simplest solution available from your competitors.

Uncovering and identifying a buyer’s “FUD Factors” is best done through questioning.

This is another reason why asking more questions is such a critical component of your selling effectiveness.

But most sales people tend to only ask enough questions to sell their products or services. They’re quick to ask “What are you using now?” or “What would you like to order?” but tend to ask few questions about the buyer’s challenges or consequences when things don’t work.

You can gain a competitive edge even at a higher price if you can do a better job asking and understanding the consequences and exposures a buyer faces when a part or piece of equipment fails delivery deadlines are missed or they run out of inventory.

This is a great time to utilize the four core values of selling asking your buyers:

  1. How much risk they’re taking with this buying decision
  2. How much hassle or disruptions they’ll experience if everything doesn’t work properly
  3. What’s their total cost of buying this item or service
  4. What will a problem with this part, equipment or service have on their business and competitive positioning with their customers?

This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the experience and creativity within your sales team.

Meet as a team, show this video and then build your own list of your buyer’s greatest fears, uncertainties and doubts, and how you and your products, equipment or services can do a better job than your competitors at reducing or even eliminating those risks and hassles.

How big a deal is it to buy from you? Discuss and decide how much risk your buyers are taking and what their total costs are to buy from either you or your competitors compared to the other products, equipment or services they’re buying. Evaluate what it’s really costing them to use what you sell and how that compares to the other stuff that individual buyer is handling.

“Total costs of buying” includes all the costs associated with acquiring, supporting and using something. This also includes what the success or failure using your products, equipment or services will have on their business, their brand and their competitive advantage.

If you were selling laptop computers and offered better support would you want to focus on the price of the thousand dollar laptop, or on the total cost to your buyer when you include the additional ten thousand dollars they have to spend for each laptop user on support staff and computer infrastructure? And what’s the total cost of one of their executives not having access to their information and communication due to a broken computer?

You don’t have to be the lowest priced vendor if you can prove to your buyers you’re the lowest total cost alternative.

Lowest total cost involves the buyer paying a higher initial price but saving money and time by getting better service and having fewer disruptions to the rest of their business.

Having these types of questions and topics to focus on is a great way to increase your competitive edge and selling effectiveness. By identifying all of the fears,  uncertainties, doubts and hassles your buyers face you can also identify the best topics and solutions to focus on during your next sales call.

Consider meeting again after everyone’s had a chance to try using your new questions and selling messages to communicate. Compare notes to see if you and your team can make your list of questions and selling topics to focus on even stronger.

Jim Pancero