Risk proofing your value proposition

For the most part taking risks is an uncomfortable experience for a customer.

Each client will have a varying threshold measured by a level of ‘perceived’ risk they are willing to move towards but never cross over. Getting them to redefine their risk threshold can be challenging.

Customers by nature are cautious creatures. This mindset is frustrating for both the vendor and customer. The customer laments, “I really want to buy, but I just dont trust my ability to pay or the vendor’s capacity to deliver.” At the same time the salesperson grumbles, “I know you need my help, but what else do I need to bloody do to gain your trust?!”

These stalemates play-out habitually in tough markets. The best way to cut through the customer’s fear is to reduce if not remove all traces of ‘perceived’ risk. In addition, provide them with new critical information that takes them to a place of clarity and confidence.

This can be tricky to achieve but when you apply the right de-risk strategy the customer then has the confidence to transform from being immobile and confused to willing and motivated.

Here are some quick tips to reduce risk and help your customers see more value:

  • Sell your value for free (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the benchmarks here).
  • Acknowledge the customer’s risks and then probe to evaluate the importance of each risk.
  • Identify the most serious risk and then introduce a new critical piece of information that helps them to overcome the risk and confidently move forward.
  • Put some skin in the game if you need to. Lower the perceived risk and build confidence by reducing commissions or giving them more of your valuable time and expertise.
  • Add more value by introducing a high-perceived value and low-cost complimentary product or service at the appropriate time.
  • Share relevant case studies and personal stories about how you helped your customers successfully overcome similar risks and the related payoffs.
  • Offer longer payment terms that activate/transfer your value and benefits immediately.
  • Always be empathetic, keeping in mind it’s much easier to give “risk advice” than to live it.
  • Be willing to say “no” if you genuinely feel the risk outweighs the value for the customer (trade the short term sale for long term gain and credibility).

Assuming the risk is only attached to the customer’s wallet is folly. The investment side is always important, but it’s seldom the most significant risk. Be sure to consider how getting the purchase wrong can impact your customer’s reputation and their higher goals and aspirations. Similarly, how a past negative buying experience may now be impacting their behaviour and confidence. Probing with thoughtful questions is essential.

Risk is a powerful thing when you harness it and help your customers move through it.


Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.


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