Have you ever bought something and later regretted it? No doubt, we have all had that happen to us with something we have bought, whether small or large. Once a buyer has a bad experience naturally, they want to avoid having a similar thing happen again. You know the saying, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” The result? Many prospects become “risk-averse.”
So, it is up to us to reverse the potential buyers’ concerns about risk, but how do you go about doing that? It is not necessarily easy and requires a certain amount of effort. However, there are some approaches that you can use to persuade a higher number of risk-averse prospects to move forward -despite long-standing concerns.
One specific approach that I use is reasoning with a prospect on the outcomes that other customers experience when using my product or service. Interestingly, one of the best examples of how to reason on outcomes can be taken from the age-old infomercial. Infomercials were introduced during the 1950s and continue to this day.
When watching an infomercial, have you ever noticed how the sponsor is attempting to influence you, using various forms of social proof? In other words, providing evidence that their product or service works well, and there is little or no risk to you in giving it a try. Right away, they will present some statistical data. You will see impressive graphics or an actor portrayal of an individual that looks like an expert expounding the mathematical reasons why their customers are doing well. Using this method works. So, if you have any statistics that prove that your customers have better outcomes since they purchased your product or service, it is a good idea to include this data in your presentation. For example, a salesperson who sells solar panels might have a chart of numbers that shows a twenty-five percent reduction in utility costs for customers that install the panels.
Next, we are going to consider the use of testimonials that are introduced during the infomercial. I have heard that some people question whether testimonials are successful. However, research has been conducted on the effectiveness of infomercials, and a survey of people that bought products after watching the presentation revealed that infomercials were more effective if they included testimonials. It is only natural that we want to know about other people’s experiences. That is why so many companies use testimonials. You may already have testimonial information in your marketing materials, but a more effective way of using testimonials is by relating accounts of actual customers. Explain that customer “A” had a unique problem. Next, describe how you discovered the problem, and ultimately, your product or service solved the problem. Finally, you continue to explain that customer “A” is having a great experience, and the problem is now in the distant past. How many of those types of stories do you want to share? You might want to share two or three if possible. Doing so builds confidence in the prospect that they will also have an outstanding experience and that there is little or no risk moving forward.
Lastly, the infomercial sponsor puts the proverbial “cherry on top” of their presentation when they offer a guarantee. Why? Again, it is to increase confidence in the effectiveness of the product or services and reduce any risk in making the purchase. So, if your company has a guarantee, explain how you stand behind your product or service.
Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. One day you decide to investigate a specific product or service to solve a problem you are having, and the first salesperson you talk to never explains how his customers are better off than those who decided not to use his product. This salesperson has no outcomes presentation whatsoever. On the other hand, a second salesperson delivers a compelling reasoning presentation using all three approaches, describing how his customers are happy with the performance of his product or service. First, he introduces statistics, then provides a testimonial account, and finally explains the company’s guarantee. Which salesperson would win your business? Obviously, the second one.
I think you would agree that including outcomes as part of your foundational reasoning process during your sales presentation will significantly improve your sales performance. Yes, you will have better results when you add statistics, testimonials, and guarantees to your sales presentations.