In part 1 you saw how the FUD Factor (fear, uncertainly and doubt) and corporate politics threatened my sales success. In this part you’ll read about the 7 actions you can take to beat the FUD factor, reposition your offer and win the complex sale.
- Take a dose of reality. Buying decisions for complex solutions are always political. With multi-stakeholder interests everyone has an agenda. It’s up to you to find out what those agendas are and work with them.
- Determine who has influence. In big organisations people who are easily accessible aren’t always influential. You’re looking for a contact who has influence, wants your solution and will coach you to navigate the political power structure.
- Get access to the ultimate decision maker. Unless your coach has the authority to buy – and usually they don’t – they are not the ultimate decision maker. There may be several people who will shape the decision, but ultimately one person signs the contract.
- Prepare yourself for the naysayers. Naysayers are the corporate gatekeepers who protect against expensive mistakes and drama. Think support functions like HR, Finance and IT that like standards and conformity. They can say no, but can’t say yes.
- Know what objections you’ll get in advance. Figure out in advance the objections you’ll get and the FUD that sits behind these. Prepare yourself and your supporters with in-depth answers, which handle the technical side of the objections and negate the more emotional FUD aspects.
- Reframe and focus on the real FUD factors. Increase the buyer’s confidence by showing that you’ve fully consider the dangers, weaknesses and downside of each option they face, including yours. Stay positive and objective. Show clients what you’ll do to reduce risks and remove barriers to success during the project.
- Set, or reset, the agenda: Focus the buying agenda on your strengths. For example, if you’ve limited resources and it’s a ‘monster size’ project sell the advantage of a phased project, or divisional roll out, or split project by specialty. Then support your suggestions with a little FUD of your own.
Once I became aware of the FUD factor and how it was being used against me things changed. Deals still remained competitive and political but I was able to take control again. I now wanted to master the game and play at a much higher level. In part 3 you’ll find some of the tools I used to achieve this ambition.
The bottom line
- Get real: Fears, uncertainties and doubts don’t arise in isolation, they always come with an agenda attached. Often that’s political. Ignore this reality and you will lose complex sales.
- Get prepared: Figure out the political power structure. Ask. Expect gatekeepers and their objections. Know how you’ll handle these.
- Get savvy: Know what you want and focus your sales campaign on that outcome. Shape the context with the client so you get the deal you deserve and they get the results they want.