If you’ve heard a few sales pitches, and I’m sure you have, then you’ve probably encountered the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) approach to selling. The strategy is simple: scare people into taking action.
Usually, the seller offers a vivid description of a disastrous future in which the most profitable opportunities go to others because of your lack of action. Sometimes the FUD message is subtle, but it still underlies the seller’s strategy.
FUD selling should be kicked to the curb along with other bankrupt sales techniques like canned sales questions and forced closing gambits.
Trying to sell with FUD techniques shifts attention away from the problem that needs to be solved and focuses it on questions about the legitimacy of the threat. In the face of a possible threat, clients will wonder if it is real and worth worrying about. They will also ponder whether the seller is just blowing smoke to get the sale.
In either case, the seller becomes the center of attention, not the client’s need. That creates an unnecessary detour to arriving at a solution to the client’s problem.
Plus, the FUD seller takes a risk that the threat is truly credible. Last week, for example, I got a call from an FUD seller who so badly assessed the risks in my business that the sales pitch was laughable. The competitive threat he laid out was preposterous and irrelevant. It was a fast conversation.
Today’s sellers can thrive by building a client’s confidence that they understand the issues, emphasizing certainty that they can deliver on all promises, and, most importantly, creating trust that they have the client’s best interests in mind. Do those three things and FUD sellers will slowly—and forever– disappear.