The ultimate goal for any business is to earn new customers while maintaining customer loyalty. As we are shifting to a more customer-centric economy, businesses work to perfect the product and the customer experience. We are also living in the middle of the information revolution. Information can now easily be spread to millions of people in a matter of seconds – something completely unheard of until recently. User reviews and advertisements have a strong influence on prospects and customers. This information can be spread relatively inexpensively, so it’s common for companies to “go to war” with each other in the form of marketing campaigns (Coke vs. Pepsi, for example). While many advertisements and campaigns focus on the product/service, sometimes they will focus on the competition. These campaigns aim to paint the competitor in a negative light by sewing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in the minds of their current and potential customers.
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
Appealing to fear is a powerful and destructive tool. I’m sure we can all think of historical examples as to when appealing to fear had terrible consequences. In the modern business landscape (especially in the age of social media), this strategy has become very common. For example – let’s say you own a successful security company. If a competitor starts to say that the “other guys have security code flaws that hackers can bypass”, that can spread a significant amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about your company.
If you are thinking that this strategy of spreading disinformation seems morally wrong, you’re probably correct. However, if you work in sales, you will definitely have to overcome this at some point. You will certainly encounter a prospect who is misinformed about your company and your product/service.
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt might sound daunting to overcome (propaganda is designed to be extremely persuasive). However, there are certain steps that we can take to overcome FUD and increase the chances of earning a new customer or retaining a current one.
One of the primary reasons why people allow propaganda to influence them is because they have a fundamental distrust, to begin with. If a prospect 100% trusted you, there would be no reason to believe information spread by a competitor. Building trust is fundamental if you want to have sustained business success. While trust is one of the most difficult behaviors to influence, it can be done quite easily.
If the customer/prospect is upset, calm them down
Sometimes, it’s easy for people to let their emotions take over. We are all guilty of it. Overreacting to a negative scenario or upsetting information happens all the time. When this happens, go through this process to help calm them down.
Don’t argue – overcome strategically
Arguments are quite possibly the worst thing that can happen to the sales process. Arguments never convince anybody that they are wrong – all they do is upset everyone. Think about the last time you found yourself in a political argument. I almost guarantee nobody changed their mind, and everyone became very upset. Nobody wants to be told that their beliefs and feelings are wrong. When overcoming objections and misinformation, use the empathize, clarify, isolate, repeat, and respond (ECIRR) method for overcoming objections instead.
However unethical, FUD marketing and sales campaigns are a reality of the modern business environment. If you work in the industry and interact with the customer or prospect, understanding how to overcome this can be the difference between success and failure.
Enjoyed this article? Join like-minded salespeople and please subscribe below to receive the Weekly Focus for free. Also, don’t forget to share this if you found this post enjoyable.
Author: Jason Karaman
Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com