Selling in a Risk Averse Market 

As we all know, today’s market place is one in which decision makers are risk averse. Sometimes decisions may be stalled. On occasion sometimes clients and candidates may decide to do nothing as it appears to hold less risk. What is risk?

Risk: To expose oneself or company to a chance of loss or damage; “We risked losing a lot of money in this decision”

Seeing that definition it can become apparent quite easily why clients (and candidates) may be risk averse. It is also more understandable why in this market they may be even more risk averse than usual. The decision to delay, or to do nothing can therefore be tempting for them. This can sometimes be the worst thing to do (imagine the developer knocked down by a bus I told some of you about – standing in the road and doing nothing was a bad choice!).

As recruiters and consultants we must advise our clients as to the best course of action. This involves helping with risk assessments when there are key decisions to be made:

  • Shall I review the CVs today or over the weekend?
  • Should I engage this recruiter?
  • Shall I interview this candidate?
  • Should I wait to see my advert response?
  • Should we second interview this candidate?
  • Shall I take this offer?
  • Shall I go for an interview?
  • Do I want to become active and look at other opportunities?

These are just a small selection of the potential decisions our client contacts and candidates can find themselves needing to make. If we know this is the case then perhaps part of our role is to help people make the right decisions? How can we influence those decisions? Two ways could be to:

Highlight the benefits of doing it (whatever the decision is).

Show the pain that could be caused if they don’t do it (whatever the decision is, again).

Although these may sound similar they have very different impacts on the other person. Highlighting benefits makes someone imagine all of the good things they will get – gives them a nice warm feeling. Showing them the pain creates an image of the things they may not wish to think about – the bad things that could happen if they do not take the right course of action. This creates fear and concern, very different from the warm fuzzy feeling previously. . Much more compelling to get them to do something we want i.e. to move away from the pain.

Most sales trainers will tell you that emotion creates motion. Emotion sells! Yes it does and amen to that; Though different emotions have different levels of impact, for example:

Highlighting benefits:

“I reference all of my candidates so that you know they are good at their job and will fit in with the rest of your team” commence nice warm fuzzy feeling in client.

Showing the pain:

 “I reference all of my candidates so that you know that they aren’t one of the undesirable, unqualified, unsuitable individuals you hear about that could damage your team morale and, even worse than that, they aren’t a potential liability.” Commence feeling of dread imagining that happening and then the warm fuzzy feeling when they know you are there to protect them from it!

The bottom line here is this: To really get a client or candidate to buy into what you do and what you recommend you need to highlight to them what will happen if they don’t. That involves selling fear. The more fear you sell, the greater the risk you highlight to them in the wrong decision. The more fear you sell the more you can save them and the more they buy into what you do. The more you can highlight:

  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of the unknown

The more commitment you will get to the solutions you provide.

This week go out and scare a few clients (and perhaps a candidate or two). Then save them with how your service is designed to protect them and reduce risk. Like everything in sales this is just a strategy. Try it out and compare how effective it is compared to what you already do.

As usual have fun with this and I will see you all soon I am sure.



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