10 years ago
January 5, 2015

How Fear Can Motivate A Sale

The best way to motivate a sale is to understand the prospect’s underlying motivations, which are frequently driven by emotion.

Rhys Metler

how fear can motivate a saleThe best way to motivate a sale is to understand the prospect’s underlying motivations, which are frequently driven by emotion. Sales people typically strive to encourage the positive aspects of those impulses, though positive is not the image that may first come to mind when the word “fear” is involved. Yet fear can be a positive emotion to motivate a sale.

Fear Can Be a Powerful Emotion 

No matter how objective a prospect tries to be, emotion enters into any given buying decision. That is simple human nature. Fear is one of the most common emotions that become involved in the buying cycle because there are so many entry points where this particular feeling may appear: 

  • Fear of doing nothing
  • Fear of increasing risks
  • Fear of disagreement with others

These all stem from the desire to avoid negative consequences. That same desire can also make it difficult for a sales person to identify where fear enters the buying decision and can motivate a sale, because prospects try hard to suppress this emotion. But an apt sales person can usually spot the signs and use this to motivate a sale, if he or she knows where (and how) to look.

Fear Can Increase Alertness

Fear has a direct physical impact on people. Heart rate and breathing may increase, perspiration may occur, and the brain may kick into overdrive in a classic “fight or flight” response. The result of all of these impacts is an increased alertness; this may be a survival mechanism so that individuals threatened by fear gather enough information from the environment to make the right choice.

If you pay close attention to your prospects, you might be able to pick up on one or more of these physical reactions to fear when something that the prospect fears comes up in conversation. By directing the conversation towards how you can help in eliminating that fear, you may be able to motivate a sale.

Fear Can Increase the Impulse to Act

The decision makers with whom you are working did not achieve their positions by being afraid to act and retreating through inaction. Rather, the opportunities and changes that caused fear motivated them to act positively and move forward. Whatever fear your prospects are facing, be it fear of rising costs, lost productivity, or some other factor, you can use the desire to overcome the fear that challenge is causing by understanding their emotions and using these to motivate a sale. 

Fear Can Motivate a Sale 

Knowing that the fears of your prospect are influencing the buying decision, it is up to you to act to eliminate those fears and motivate a sale by turning a negative into a positive. Turning the fear around for a prospect will motivate a sale, and make you the sales person look like a champion in the prospect’s eyes. You can do this best by:

  • Letting the prospect tell you, or show you, where the fear is; if you attempt to influence your prospect into feeling fear, that prospect will know he or she is being sold and shut down.
  • Focusing on discovered fears that are nearer in the future; these can motivate a sale much more strongly than remote fears.
  • Being specific on how your product or service can remove the fears a prospect is feeling, and showing how quickly and effectively that offering will work.
  • Analyzing with the prospect the risks of doing nothing, and discussing how doing nothing will make the fear worse compared to what could happen if your offering were used as a solution.

If you can address a prospect’s fears, you can be sure of having the prospect’s full attention. Use this to your advantage by staying aware of the signs of fear and using your ability to alleviate those fears to motivate a sale.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.