Top sales insights | 3 common prospect fears and how to address them

August 20, 2018  /  



3 common prospect fears and how to address them

You don’t have to be a sales professional to know rejection is a big part of the job. And no matter how long you’ve been in the business, it never feels good to lose a sale. There are plenty of reasons why your prospects may get cold feet—some are within and some are beyond your control. Maybe you caught them at the wrong time. Maybe you didn’t get to the point fast enough. Maybe they don’t actually need what you’re selling at all.

But one of the biggest reasons prospects say no is due to fear. You know the value of what you’re selling—but your prospects don’t have a clue. And when sales and advertising techniques are growing more frequent and more subtle every single day, skeptical attitudes are at an all-time high. That’s why it’s your job to communicate your value in a way that makes your prospects feel 100% confident in what they’ll gain when the conversation is over.

Understanding how to recognize and address these common fears is essential to converting more of your time and effort into revenue, and delivering more value to more people every day. Here are some of the most common fears clients face when making a decision.

The unknown

It’s one of the most impactful movie techniques horror filmmakers know—what we don’t know is often much scarier than what we do. And while that approach goes great with popcorn, it doesn’t work at all in getting your prospects to buy in. People want to know all the details before they’re even going to think about opening their wallets, and it’s your job to paint them the right picture.

That means asking them questions to fully understand their needs—and telling them exactly how you can solve it. Including every single tiny detail about how your product or service works isn’t as important as it is to help them understand all the ways it improves their lives, so don’t get bogged down with the details that can muddy the waters. Give them a clear picture of how it works and how it can solve their problem—and you’ll be well on your way to a yes.


All business decisions ultimately boil down to the people on either end of the deal. Most sales professionals should know that building relationships is one of the most important skills in the game, which may come more or less naturally to you. The good news is, there are strategies you can use to build great relationships with your prospects—which leads to better trust and an easier buy-in.

Similar to easing fear of the unknown, asking the right questions helps prospects feel like they’re in the drivers’ seat. It lets them know you understand what their biggest needs are before you go straight into a spiel telling them what they should do. Delivering value to those pain points lets them know their best interests are top-of-mind, and makes them feel heard and understood.

Being honest and up-front when answering your prospects’ questions is also key in gaining trust. That, combined with data, case studies, testimonials, and more helps legitimize your message and lets them know they’re not going on this journey alone. Providing these insights lets them know others with the same problems are already benefitting from what you can offer.


“That’s just the way we’ve always done it” is probably something you’ve heard before. And it’s usually not a great thing. But you’ve also probably endured the pain of a “process update” and the weeks or months of frustration that ensue after the fact. Comfort is hard to give up, and asking someone to change is one of the biggest asks in the book.

That’s why this is one of the most difficult fears to address as a salesperson. The question is valid: “Why should I use X when I already have Y?” If you’ve done the right work to qualify your prospect you should already know the answer. Understanding your solution, your competition, and your unique value propositions from every angle can help you answer this question easily and completely.

Revisit the pain points you uncovered when asking about your prospects’ needs. Then follow up with more questions like:

  • It’s great you’re already working toward a solution. But if Y could improve one thing, what would it be?
  • What’s the thing you’d miss most if you gave Y up today?
  • What’s your biggest concern about X based on what we’ve discussed?

Those questions can help you dig further into your prospects’ hesitations and deliver the right value exactly where they need it. You know your solution’s benefits outweigh the cost of switching, and it’s up to you to figure out how to tell them why.

Bottom line

Sales professionals know every day is full of ups and downs—that’s likely even a part of why they love the job. Expecting every interaction will lead to a win is unrealistic, but reducing the losses can surely help keep the ups ahead of the downs. (Not only that, but it’s what keeps the lights on!)

Understanding what makes prospects hesitant to say yes is a huge part of delivering the value of your product or service. Asking the right questions helps you speak to prospects right where they need it the most by addressing their fears and easing their anxiety. Doing that means more wins for you and your customers alike.

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