3 Ways To Make Your Buyer Feel Safe (+Questions)
Posted on February 2nd, 2024 to Uncategorized
When it comes to sales, one of the most important skills you can master is how to make your buyer feel safe.
If you’re a founder or subject-matter expert selling B2B services, this might sound like music to your ears.
And it may leave you with more questions than answers, namely, “How do I do that?”
Before we get into the how, it’s important to note that this approach is grounded in extensive scientific research and data, which I’m thrilled to share.
In this blog post, I’ll share why making your buyer feel safe is as important as any other element of the sales process and why you risk losing the deal if they don’t.
You’ll also learn three simple yet effective ways to build trust and foster safety with your prospects – direct questions included!
Let’s get into it.
Understanding Buyer Psychology
Before we can delve into any of the practical tips about how to make your buyer feel safe, it’s imperative that you understand the psychology of your buyers.
In this section, we’ll look at notable thinkers and theories around buyer safety.
The Concept of Trust
At the core of feeling safe is trust. Renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, places safety just above physiological needs.
In the context of sales, trust in the product, the brand, and the salesperson is crucial for a buyer to feel secure enough to proceed.
Another critical element is risk aversion, a principle heavily discussed by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Their work in Prospect Theory explains how people prefer to avoid losses to acquire equivalent gains.
In sales, this means buyers are more motivated to avoid a poor decision than to make a good one.
Authors Matt Dixon and Ted McKenna echo this finding in their book, The Jolt Effect: How High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision.
They extensively studied over 2.5 million sales conversations across various sectors. They concluded that rather than solely focusing on the gains of a purchase, it’s crucial to address the buyer’s fears of making the wrong decision or failing in their role.
This leads me to the next point — how emotions impact a buying decision.
The Influence of Emotions
Antonio Damasio, a well-known neuroscientist, argues in his somatic marker hypothesis that emotions profoundly influence decision-making.
Simply put, buyers are less likely to purchase if they feel anxious or uncertain. That means creating a sense of safety can alleviate these negative emotions and pave the way for a decision.
Now that we’ve established how important it is for buyers to feel safe and the psychology behind it, let’s look at how to accomplish it in your sales process.
Make Your Buyer Feel Safe Tip #1: Keep Your Promises and Follow-Through
One of my top tips? Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s simple but powerful.
While you are undoubtedly a total pro, I’m providing a list of common missteps even the most seasoned professionals make as a helpful reminder.
1. Prompt Follow-Up After Initial Contact
If you owe a prospect additional information after a call, follow up promptly. It shows you’re attentive and reliable.
2. Making Great Use of Their Time
It’s a given to always be punctual for meetings and calls — but also make sure you’re adding value once you arrive. Come with an agenda and be prepared to lead the call — this signals your harried, overwhelmed prospects to trust you even more.
3. Transparent Communication
Be honest about what your product or service can and cannot do. Stuck on the answers? Say so and commit to circling back.
4. Regular Updates on Progress
If you’re working on a custom solution or a detailed proposal, keep the prospect informed about where you are in the process, especially if it’s taking longer than expected.
5. Meeting Agreed Deadlines
If you’ve agreed to deliver a proposal or a project by a specific date, ensure you meet that deadline. If unforeseen circumstances arise, communicate this as soon as possible.
6. Acting on Feedback
Pay close attention when your prospect provides feedback during the sales process, and show that you’ve taken their comments on board in future interactions.
BONUS: Consistent Post-Sale Support
After closing the sale, continue to be a reliable point of contact. Address any post-sale questions or issues promptly and efficiently.
Remember, every interaction in the sales process is an opportunity to build trust and demonstrate your commitment to your word.
Make Your Buyer Feel Safe Tip #2: Address Their Fears Head-On
Want to help your buyers feel more safe? It’s a lot easier to accomplish if you’re able to host an open, frank conversation about their fears. People aren’t quick to open up about their fears willingly, so it’s your job to prompt them.
Here are eight questions you can ask:
- What’s your biggest challenge right now?
This open-ended question invites the prospect to share their current pain points. It sets the stage for a deeper conversation about their specific concerns and fears.
- What keeps you up at night?
This question cuts right to the core of their worries, both professionally and sometimes personally. It’s a great way to understand their most pressing fears and anxieties.
- What does a worst-case scenario look like for you?
Asking about this can reveal fears about potential failures or obstacles they anticipate, which can guide you in tailoring your solution to mitigate these risks.
- What are your goals and how do you feel about your current progress towards them?
This question helps you understand their aspirations and whether they fear falling short of them. It also gives insights into potential gaps your product or service can fill.
- Can you tell me about a time when a similar project or initiative failed?
Encourage the prospect to reflect on past experiences that might influence their current fears. Learning from their past mistakes or challenges can provide you with valuable context.
- What’s your biggest concern about implementing a solution like ours?
Directly addressing potential concerns about your product or service can bring their specific fears to the forefront, allowing you to address them head-on.
- What are the risks personally for you in this decision?
This question personalizes the conversation and reveals how the decision might impact them personally, not just the company.
- How does this decision impact your team?
Understanding the broader impact on their team can reveal fears about team dynamics, adoption, or resistance to change.
Make Your Buyer Feel Safe Tip #3: Uncovering Internal Tensions
Uncovering tensions or blockers is crucial in navigating a sales deal successfully. This is the hill I will die on: Your buyers aren’t making decisions based upon whether or not you’re capable of delivering (they already know you are, that’s why you’re in the room in the first place). What kills your deals are the internal roadblocks that derail your Champion’s plans.
Here are questions to uncover issues or concerns slowing down your deal:
- What are the potential roadblocks to implementing this solution?
This question encourages the prospect to think about and articulate any internal or external factors that could impede the implementation or adoption of your solution.
- Who else needs to be involved in this decision? What do they care about?
You may need to be made aware of everyone who weighs in on the final decision. This question helps you understand the decision-making hierarchy and if other stakeholders have concerns or objections.
- Have you tried a similar solution before? What were the outcomes?
This question can reveal past experiences influencing their decision-making, including skepticism or resistance.
- What are your main concerns about making this change?
Directly addressing concerns lets the prospect voice any fears or hesitations about switching to or adopting your solution.
- How does this decision align with your company’s current priorities?
Uncover whether any strategic or budgetary constraints might hinder the deal.
- What is your timeline for implementation?
Understanding their timeline can reveal urgency or lack thereof, which might be a blocker in moving forward and a good indicator of whether proceeding is a good use of your time.
- Is there anything that could change your priorities or needs in the near future?
This question helps to anticipate any upcoming changes that might affect the prospect’s ability to commit to your solution.
- Are there any internal opinions or politics we should be aware of?
This opens up a discussion about the organization’s internal dynamics, which might influence the decision-making process.
By asking these questions, you’ll get a clearer picture of any hidden challenges or “tensions” that might delay or obstruct the deal.
When Buyers Feel Safe, They Buy
So there you have it! In your next sales meeting, remember it’s not just about proving you can do the job.
It’s about making them feel safe with you. Address their fears, be reliable, and dig deep into their internal challenges. By doing this, you’re building lasting partnerships based on trust and understanding.
Join the next free Sales Roundtable where business owners with subject-matter expertise tackle topics like these. Check it out and register here!