Driving Out Fear to Close More Business

Published on March 6, 2012

My driver of 15 years was taking me to the airport today and he asked me a question:

“The place I was living in I have to move out of because they are selling the building.  I really felt comfortable and I fear I won’t be as comfortable in a new place.  I do not like change.  How would you handle it?”

I said great question.  Then I asked him what is his worst fear about the situation?  He answered not feeling comfortable in the new place.  I then proceeded to say let’s suppose your worst fear comes true and you are not comfortable, do you die?  He said no.  I asked him do you lose all your money?  He said no.  I asked him do you lose your friends, family, job, etc?  He said no.   Then I asked him the ultimate question.

“If you are in no worse shape other than having moved to the wrong place, what’s the issue?”  He started laughing and said you’re right. I simply move again.  All of a sudden he felt better and was now free to move ahead and make a decision on where he was going to move.

You see, fear often clouds our judgment.  It blows up issues in our mind to levels of importance that are not called for.  And all of a sudden we stop thinking and are trapped in a state of fear that leaves us paralyzed from taking actions and enjoying life.

Customers do this all the time to sales people.  They say they have a reason why they can’t buy from you.  They have blown that reason up into such an issue that it is a deal killer.  Salespeople then make the fatal mistake and try to convince the customer their issue it not an issue at all, especially when they cannot address the issue.  This tactic simply elevates the importance of the issue to a higher level.  The customer digs in.

To help customers with their fear, you need to acknowledge the issue and then have them state the other issues that in play in this decision.  Then you ask the customer the following:

“If this issue (call it security) is very important, how much weight do you give it if your decision represent 100%?”  The customer will probably say it weighs about 80%.

Now you move on to the next issue:  Quality.  Ask them how important quality is and they will say something like 70%.  Even the new math does not support an equation of 70% (quality) plus (security) 80% equaling 100%.  You ask the customer to readjust his weights and security, the deal killer at 80%, will come down to say 60% with quality now weighing in at 40%.

But there still are other issues.  You keep doing the same process until you address all issues.

The result:  Security which, a deal killer at 80%, is often brought down to 30% of importance or less.  People are rarely 100% satisfied with their purchase.  They may think the price is too high, etc.  Get it down to 30% or less, you have a shot at the deal.

I have developed this process and used it with my clients and their sales have soared as a result.  You can read more about in Lead, Sell or Get Out of the Way.  It works like a charm. And the biggest value is the customer feels in control because they are making all the decisions and its their numbers they are using.

Here is the bottom line.  Just like my driver, customers have reasons why they can’t do business with you, just like my driver had reasons why he didn’t want to move.  When you take a customer, colleague, employee, family member, or friend, through a process where they can put all of their issues on the table and see for themselves how important each issue is in relation to the overall decision, you can often diffuse an issue you cannot address.

Don’t fight the issue.  Diffuse it!  Don’t let fear stop you or your customers from moving forward!

This is what leaders do.   They help people navigate issues to make sure they are making the right decisions.  Act like a leader and your influence will skyrocket and so will your business.