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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Improving Sales Performance: The Fear of the Unknown

What buyers fear most...describe the image  It is a difficult objection to express, because the buyer doesn’t even know what it is they’re afraid of.  

And that is precisely the point:  Few things are as compelling and consistent as our fear of the unknown.  

  • Will an appointment with this person take-up too much of my precious time?
  • Every decision I make is being scrutinized so much lately… can I trust my career to this salesperson?
  • What if…

These are the kinds of questions that go through the mind of a buyer as they’re deciding whether to meet with you and whether to buy from you.  That’s why contracting, partnering and communicating with the prospect is so important.

Think of it this way.  Apprehension is inversely proportionate to comprehension.  The more we understand the consequences of making a decision or taking an action, the less apprehensive we’ll be about it.  The less we understand, the more anxious we will be.

If you’re trying to sell the idea of a face-to-face meeting, be very specific about the goals for the meeting, what you hope to accomplish, why it’s going to be a good use of time, and how long you think it will take. 

If you’re trying to sell a product or service, make sure you’re accepting input at every possible stage of the transaction, so at closing time, there’s nothing left for the buyer to fear; she or he already knows precisely how the purchase will solve a challenge and achieve the desired outcome.


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Mike Anderson is VP Consumer Insights and Communication at the Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: sales performance Sales