Are-You-Scary-EnoughMost of the time, we salespeople want to be warm, friendly, and caring. We want to be liked and well-received. But warm and fuzzy doesn’t always get the job done. Sometimes, we need to be scary.

Because sometimes prospects don’t appreciate the dangers of not acting. Other times, they’re afraid of the wrong thing.

In situations like that, it’s our job to scare them straight.

What should your prospect really be afraid of? What are the dangers of not acting? Or delaying action? Or buying too cheap? Or buying from the wrong company?

You can use fear to your advantage by educating your prospect about risks they may or may not be aware of, and how you can reduce or eliminate those risks. Much has been written about the fact that the human brain tends to underestimate genuine risks and overestimate unlikely risks. So odds are, your prospect needs you to help them gain the right perspective on the various risks they face in their lives and businesses.

Stoking fear about a legitimate risk is a valid—and often necessary—sales tactic. And there are a lot of fears you can stoke. Including:

• Missing out
• Their competitor gaining an advantage
• Downtime
• Losing sales
• Making a mistake
• Wasting money
• Being the victim of a crime
• Running out
• Image being tarnished
• Price going up
• Health problems
• Their current model breaking down
• Employee turnover
• Failure
• Being left behind
• Interest rates rising
• Clowns (just making sure you’re paying attention)
• Liability
• Tragedy befalling a loved one
• Death

This is not to say that fear should be the first sales tool you pull out of your toolbox. And to frighten someone needlessly is unethical of course. But used strategically, tapping into a buyer’s fears can motivate them to action when nothing else can.

All buying is emotional at its core. And fear is a powerful emotion. It can block the sale or it can trigger the sale. Which one is up to you.