05 Jul 2013

Personal Perceived Risk: The Hidden Sales Objection That Will Cause You To Lose The Sale

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photodune-3454508-business-risk-xsThe Personal Perceived Risk of Buying Your Solution:

The hidden sales objection that will almost always cause you to lose your sale, if it is not addressed, is your prospect’s Personal Perceived Risk of going with you and your solution. This is the prospect’s fear that IF he/she does select you, your company and your solution, his/her business objective and personal objective may not be met. He/she may be worried about his/her career, finances, image, and stature in the company. Very rarely will the prospect bring this hidden sales objection up to you, but it is definitely on his/her mind. And the risk comes in many forms.

What Causes This Objection of Personal Perceived Risk:

Personal Perceived Risk can be caused by many reasons, but your job as a Field Sales Rep or an Inside Sales Rep is to figure out the particular reason that is causing your prospect to feel this way. Some examples of reasons might be: research that the prospect has done on you or your company, or your selling style, or your lack of attention to detail, or that you are not listening well to him, or that he/she has been burned before with a similar product, or that he/she doesn’t believe he/she will get the business return, or he/she doesn’t deep down believe you and your company can actually deliver what you say you can.

How Important Is It to Overcome This Hidden Sales Objection:

Unfortunately, if you don’t seek out this hidden sales objection and overcome it in the prospect’s mind, you will likely lose the sale to a no-decision or to a competitor. It is that simple. This is true for both Field Sales Reps and Inside Sales Reps.

What Should You Do:

  1. Draw Out the Sales Objection: Ask the prospect something like: “Bob, can you tell me, candidly, are there any issues or risks you personally feel about me or my company’s ability to deliver the solution and achieve the business objectives and your personal objectives that you have?” For example, the prospect might say, “Well, honestly, I don’t believe you can meet the implementation timeline that you proposed, and I can’t afford (from a career point of view) to have this project slip in time.”
  2. Determine the Actions Needed to Satisfy the Prospect’s Hidden Sales Objection: Once you understand his/her Personal Perceived Risk, then ask him/her specifically what action you can provide to him/her to help remove some of those risks in his/her mind. For example, you could ask, “Thanks for letting me know that Bob. May I ask this – what actions or proof can I provide to you to help reduce your concerns.” He might say something like a reference from our same industry who’s had a similarly tight schedule that you succeeded with, or a talk with your implementation consultant that will actually be working with him/her. So then your task is to provide that specific proof to the prospect and then later ask if you have overcome that concern. The key point is to elicit the hidden Personal Perceived Risk sales objection, ask him/her for the proof he/she needs to feel more comfortable, deliver that proof, and then ask if he is less concerned.

Excellent articles about Personal  Perceived Risk:

Two excellent articles I highly recommend that also discuss Personal Perceived Risk as a hidden sales objection are these:

1. 5 Strategies To Eliminate The “Perceived Risk” Sales Objection, by Jill Konrath. The great 5 strategies Jill suggests are: leverage quantitative data, ensure transparency, manage the prospect’s expectations, engage multiple stakeholders, and offer references,

2. An excellent white paper by Mike Shultz and John Doerr from RAIN Group entitled What Sales Winners Do Differently. Mike and John discuss how the best salespeople manage hidden sales objections and Personal Perceived Risk much better than their peers do.


If you realize that this hidden sales objection of Personal Perceived Risk is always present and if you can draw it out and overcome it to your prospect’s satisfaction, then that will ensure that you aren’t blindsided and don’t lose a sale for reasons that you really “didn’t even see”.


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