Filtering By Risk

One thing that you do in the sales process is filter.  Filter by industry. Filter by person inside the company.  Filter by size of company.  Filter by geography.  There are all kinds of ways you can think up to filter so your targets are measured and achievable.

Another filter you need to consider is “filtering by risk”.

Will they take a risk?  Do they have the license inside the company to take and advocate for that risk?  Especially when it’s a startup company.

I have watched startups try to sell into different situations.  Sometimes, the issue is supply chain.  The technology you are showing them is so different and out of the ordinary, the customer barely can wrap their head around it.  They need to be educated to the use cases.  Other times the objection is that they are worried what their regulator might think.  Or, they will be worried what others in the industry think.

This is why it’s often good to have one simple MVP that solves a real pain point.

Another objection might be that the person you are selling to has real risk in adoption of the product.  What is the downside if there is failure?  Put yourself in the customer’s shoes by asking them questions to uncover how they see risk.  Asking questions about failure can get them to open up about their fears.

Maybe failure means that this person’s career is mud.  Maybe failure means that the customer is going to have to confront some regulatory hurdles they’d rather not deal with.  Maybe failure means they have to severely curtail their business.  Getting customers to talk about these sorts of fears help you figure out how to overcome them.  You won’t know until you ask.  Many entrepreneurs are afraid to broach this topic because they think it will reflect back on them and they will be planting a bad seed inside a potential customer’s logical reasoning.

It’s true, you never want to arm your customer with an objection.  But, you have to uncover them to overcome them.  This is especially true in highly regulated business silos like finance and healthcare.  Decisions can be life or death, or they can cause people to lose money.

If you are selling to someone and it feels like everything is a match, yet they still aren’t buying, maybe start asking them about risk.  Figure out ways to de-risk it for them, and they will give you a try.