Reducing The Perception of Risk The Art of Pre-handling Objections

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Go to market is really a complex and kind of many-faceted activity and not only are there interesting cross cutting interactions across the organization in the process. But there's a lot of interesting through lines from one. End of the product management process itself from finding invalidating market problems. As I describe in what I call the secret product management framework all the way to go to market now in this episode. I'm going to talk about a tool that I think technologists like us. I E those of us who kind of like technology for its own sake. We're kind of technical so you might say we often don't give enough credence to the topic of risk reduction are really reducing the perception of risk on the part of the prospect. And that's done to a large degree by a technique called pre handling objections. Now we have to bring all of our product knowledge and tools to bear when we're handling objections or even more importantly preparing our sales and marketing teams to do that pre handling of objections. This is really a simplified version of buyer psychology the idea of the subconscious perception of risk. But it's really very useful even just as a mental model and of course it does actually have some basis in psychology. So it's not the only thing you need to do while selling this idea prehensile objections but it's really a big one and it can go a long way to keeping the sales process going forward. Now I'm going to talk about how you do it how the perception of risk arises Wyatt arises even if no one is saying anything about it essentially what happens is we have the subconscious and it's big job one of its big jobs just to keep us from being eaten by a lion? Metaphorically speaking it's looking out for problems and it's trying to ignore stuff that's not a problem we're actually trying to keep the brain from even being impacted by things. That aren't problems. It's really looking for things to worry about. And the problem is that the subconscious is very sensitive. And it's not actually that accurate and it can interpret kind of any little thing as a problem. For example maybe you have a spelling error on a slide. Now the subconscious mind immediately interpret that as danger now spilling aren't really that dangerous but the subconscious kind of crisis is whole story instantaneously along the lines of well. This person doesn't know enough to spell correctly. How can I trust him or her to solve my real problems now? This is a legitimate thing that your subconscious does it. Does this kind of thing now. In some sense your subconscious will grasp at straws to protect you. I mean it looks for the tiniest little indicators of danger you can imagine when we lived out in the Bush. The Mirror snap of a twig. Might say to the subconscious. Oh that's danger. We better run now. We'll go ask questions later. So you can think of an objection to bring this back down into the world of sales as a question. That's voiced or on voiced from the prospect that indicates there some perception of risk. So for example the first thing a prospect is going to be thinking when you first reach out to them. If you're doing sales is who is this person. What does this person want from me? What does this person have for me? And is this person. GonNa be wasting my time and what I mean is the objections. Start from the first contact with the prospect. They really start from the first marketing message. That reaches the prospect because the prospect is going to have those same questions about a marketing message. What are you GonNa do about these? Well one thing you can do is to be well groomed and I mean that in a highly general sense you personally should be well groomed. You need to be well-spoken you need to appear welcoming and open and these are all things that against set the subconscious a little bit at ease so you don't appear dangerous now your presentation you're using one should also be well-groomed so no spelling errors. For example. Little Nets like alignment and capitalization should be consistent. Those those things don't bother everybody but they bother some people a lot including me but this kind of grooming only goes so far a prospect will like you better in this has often again a subconscious reaction if you reduce their fears so remember this is happening below the level of consciousness if the prospect associates of feeling of risk with you here she will not trust you and probably will not like you. If you mitigate that feeling of risk then the prospects subconscious might fully flip to. This person is taking care of me therefore I trust and like them so what you want to do is take care of them now. There's two more important ways to put the subconscious cities one of them is to show that you care and understand about the person by anticipating their needs and concerns and the other is to use stories about other people to pitch your product. I've talked multiple podcasts about using stories and I'll actually talk a little bit more about using stories in this episode because I talked about stories all the time but this will mostly be in the context of item one showing that you care about and understand the person by anticipating their needs and concerns. I'm talking about these objections or the questions. About risk arising in the context of a sales engagement but it really applies to any situation where you're trying to communicate about an idea or sell a concept or product. Even when you're just giving a status report about your project the audiences likely to have some objections. That is they're likely to perceive some risks and those perceptions even if they aren't voiced our objections there away for the person to reject your ideas. Your facts your information. Whatever you're trying to communicate if you don't handle them so let's talk about what pre handling objections really means. It means knowing in advance what is going to cost the prospect to perceive a potential risk. And just show why. That risk either isn't worth worrying about or doesn't really exist. There's different ways to do it and we'll talk about this later. So part of go to market though is enabling the sales organization and did the Marketing Organization to pre handle objections effectively. Without you even being there the reason I mentioned that is because a lot of the objections. There's going to be coming up. A lot of the perceptions of risk are related to things that we know as product managers because we went and did Mark Discovery. And because we've talked to lots of customers and so we need to communicate those to the people that actually go out and talk to prospects which is a sales people and the people that try to get the prospects into our sales funnel which is of course the marketing team. So let's think briefly just to drill down a little bit more on that what happens between somebody out in the market becoming a lead for us and then eventually becoming a customer. I'm GONNA talk about an enterprise software style sales process but roughly the same steps occur in any sales process. They might not include the same people. Some steps might be automated sometimes. A webpage stands in for a salesperson. But in general in enterprise sales it goes something along these lines so a person season ad or some other marketing material it piques his or her interests and they respond in some way. Now we might also be reaching out to those people but it's the same idea right we we're trying to touch them with an ad or with call or something like that they enter our sales funnel become a lead now obviously not everybody who sees our ad becomes the lead. This is a funnel. So there's a certain number of people who come in at the top and they attribute out through the course of the process. So what we have a lead. The salesperson doesn't initial qualifying and discovery call with the lead to determine if they're really a good match for our product to learn some things about them that we can use later on in the sales process and so on now. If that lead is qualified they become a prospect and the salesperson then starts to sales process in earnest and this may actually be multiple steps eventually if that lead is then going to become a customer. There's a some kind of a negotiation that happens. The prospect agrees to buy and then the final step is the prospect becomes a customer now. There's things have happened after that once. They become a customer. But that's really the sales process reduction perceived risk or pre. Hanley objections is really critical. In all of these steps so initial steps were going to be reducing the perception. That the salesperson's just wasting the prospects time for example. How do we do that by showing that we understand the prospects situation? They're big problem and that we've successfully solved this problem for other customers. Who are similar to them now. During the qualifying discovery conversations. The salesperson is going to ask intelligent questions about the prospects situation and the challenges they're facing. The goal is for the prospect of feel like they're in good hands with us. In addition the salespeople is often gonNA use kind of customer success stories to show how we've solved similar problems before for people just like them as a sales process goes along. The perception of risk is going to change especially for talking enterprise software. Like what I work on. The actual monetary cost of the solutions likely to be very high and the cost of failure is even higher both from the standpoint of the money and maybe from the standpoint of the person's job so their perception of risk is going to be very very high. It has additional components. Besides just cost. They're worried of course if the product won't actually work we've been telling them it'll work. We've been giving them customer stories. But of course they're still worried the more stories that we can tell that they can identify with and that are about people like them the lower that perception of risk is GonNa be. They're also worried that the product will be too expensive or that will be very difficult to implement that they won't actually be able to make it work even if it could work. That won't work in their instance. So that's the thing we have to tell stories about as well and then of course there are also thinking well. There's other things that I could spend this money on. Maybe the other things are a better thing for me to buy than solving this particular problem and I'm not talking about competitors in this case I'm talking about solving a completely different problem altogether with that same money. So that's kind of opportunity cost

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