How Sales Teams Can Move Deals Forward in a Risk-Averse Market
By Crystal Resource
Even during the best of times, an average of 72% of sales pitches go unanswered — but in recent times, buyers are becoming increasingly cautious, budgets are getting slashed, and the introduction of new products is being met with more skepticism than ever before. This can make it incredibly challenging to move deals forward, as potential customers are more fearful of uncertainty and less willing to take risks.
In this blog, we'll share five proven strategies that sales reps can use to overcome these obstacles and successfully close deals — even with the most cautious customers. Read on to discover how.
Strategy 1: Know early on when you’re dealing with risk-averse buyers
We've all heard the saying, "Knowledge is power." When it comes to sales, this couldn't be more true. In fact, top sellers spend an average of 6 hours every week researching their prospects. Why? Because they know that in order to effectively pitch their product, they need to understand who they're talking to.
Traditionally, the only way to fully understand a buyer’s personality is by having a pre-established relationship with them or asking them to take a personality test. In the game of cold outreach, you wouldn’t have access to this information, given that you’re attempting to connect with someone you’ve never interacted with before. Luckily, tools like Crystal can help you gain insight into the personality types of individual buyers — before ever meeting the prospect or requiring them to take a personality assessment.
Crystal uses a framework called DISC to classify personalities into a few categories that we refer to as D (dominant), I (influential), S (steady), and C (conscientious). Below is a breakdown of common personality traits within each of the categories in DISC, and what kinds of language would likely resonate with each:
D Personality Types: Captains, Drivers, Initiators, Architects
Motivated by control over the future and personal authority
Tend to prefer instant, concrete results and having an advantage over competition
Communicate clearly and succinctly — use language that is concise and confident, and avoid small talk.
I Personality Types: Influencer, Motivator, Encourager, Harmonizer
Motivated by innovative, unique, creative ideas and excited by the future
Tend to prefer building new relationships and experiences
Communicate in a casual, expressive way — engage in some small talk before diving into your pitch.
S Personality Types: Counselor, Supporter, Planner, Stabilizer
Motivated by peace, safety, and others’ wellbeing
Tend to prefer security, reliability and trust
Communicate in a friendly and genuine way — avoid language that is overly pushy or salesy.
C Personality Types: Editor, Analyst, Skeptic, Questioner
Motivated by logic, information, and problem-solving
Tend to prefer accurate information and quality solutions (quality over quantity)
Communicate in a business-like, fact-based way — use language that is quick and to the point, and avoid asking irrelevant personal questions.
Certain personalities are more predisposed to risk-aversion —namely Steady (S) and Conscientious (C) types. When you use personality assessment tools like Crystal, you’re able to assess whether your buyer may be naturally more risk-averse, and anticipate the concerns of your buyer before your initial meeting so you can thoroughly prepare and adjust your pitch accordingly.
Strategy 2: Foot-in-the-door instead of door-in-the-face
If you discover that you’re dealing with a customer who is naturally risk-averse (S and C types), it’s better to start small and build trust with your prospect — allowing them to see your product in action without making a long-term commitment. One effective strategy is to offer trials or samples of your product instead of asking for a large purchase order upfront. In fact, a recent study found that offering a free trial can increase conversion rates by up to 25%.
Not only does this approach allow potential buyers to get a better understanding of what your product can do for them, but it also helps build trust with your brand. By giving them a chance to try before they buy, you're demonstrating confidence in your product and showing that you're invested in their success. This can go a long way in easing their concerns and ultimately closing the deal — especially during a time when so many reps are scrambling to make sales.
Strategy 3: Invest in differentiating your buying experience
A recent survey found that 77% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase if the sales process is easy to navigate, and 62% are more likely to make a purchase if they receive personalized recommendations from the seller. One way that you can leave a lasting impression with any potential buyer is by communicating with them in a way that’s tailored to their specific personality type.
The words and phrases that you use in your pitch can completely make or break its chances of success — and you only get one chance to make a first impression. This is where you can begin to stand out from the crowd by honing in on your buyer’s personality type and catering your pitch to use language that would most likely resonate with them.
Strategy 4: Focus on building trust
In a risk-averse market, building trust is essential to closing deals — but how can you establish trust early on in the buying process?
It’s imperative that you’re transparent and open during your pitch and beyond. In fact, 86% of buyers are more likely to trust a company that's transparent about its business practices. Buyers want to know what they're getting into and who they're working with — and if you’re skirting around questions or you’re unwilling to address concerns, prospects are going to turn the other way. Being transparent and consistent is great for getting the “yes”, but it’s also the key to lasting, long-term customers — according to a recent survey, 73% of respondents said they were willing to pay more if they were assured transparency, while 39% would switch to a new brand if they promised more clarity and openness.
By showcasing positive reviews, testimonials, or awards your company has received, prospects can see that you’re already trusted and adored by many.
When you’re trying to build and maintain trust with potential buyers, it’s important to be proactive with your follow-ups. In a risk-averse market, buyers may be hesitant to make a decision or may require more time to consider their options. By following up regularly and offering additional support, you can demonstrate your commitment to your prospect and build trust over time.
Strategy 5: Develop a strong value proposition
In today’s market, potential customers are more focused on value and ROI than ever before. Prospects want to know that they're making a smart investment and that the benefits of the product or service outweigh the potential risks — especially if their personality type is naturally more cautious or risk-averse.
To move deals forward, it’s essential that your team develops a strong value proposition that clearly articulates the benefits of your product or service. This means going beyond just listing product features — instead, you should focus on how those features will solve the customer's problems or meet their specific needs.
According to a recent survey, 71% of buyers say that they want sales reps to focus on helping them achieve their objectives rather than just selling a product. By demonstrating a clear understanding of the customer's needs and showing how your product or service can provide value, you can overcome the fear of uncertainty and move deals forward.
Meet your buyers where they are and close more deals — again and again
Today’s risk-averse market can make it incredibly challenging for sales reps to move deals forward, but it's certainly not impossible.
The strategies shared in this blog can go a long way in overcoming the obstacles associated with selling to even the most hesitant buyer and pave the way to successfully close deal after deal. By meeting your buyer where they are and catering your pitches accordingly, you can create a more personalized, engaging buying experience that leads to higher conversion rates, increased customer loyalty, and ultimately, more closed deals.