What Are Buyers Afraid Of?

We live in a world full of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Stock market crashes, terrorists attacks and wars are all part of our daily lives. Our fear and anxiety is constantly being nurtured and reinforced by every print and electronic media we encounter. Tragedy is brought to us in real time “live” and “up close and personal”. Information that used to take hours or days to reach us now reaches us in real time. We have become what some futurists are calling victims of “psychic distress.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of marketing and selling. Because buyers have been bombarded with so much hype, over promotion and razzle -dazzle they have become jaded, skeptical and cynical of everything they hear and see. They take nothing at face value. Their belief is that a marketer is guilty until proven innocent. They believe that anything that you tell a salesperson can and will be used against you. As a result, they hesitate to share any information or reveal anything of substance about their situation. You can’t really blame them can you?

What are some of the most common fears buyers have about the selling process:

1. Fear of making a mistake.
Buyers are afraid that even though buying from you today looks like the thing to do, they’ll regret that decision tomorrow, next week, or next month. They fear buying something that they don’t really need or paying more than they should. The higher the price and the more choices they have to pick from the greater the fear.

2. Fear of losing respect of self and others.
Many people have a need for the social approval of others. They are afraid that someone: a spouse, friend, peer, co-worker or a boss will say something like, “I can’t believe you bought that” or I can’t believe you paid that much for that”.

Some buyers fear that the wrong decision might mean a loss of promotion, or prestige. Worse they fear it could result in termination. As a result, they delay and drag out the process hoping that they won’t make a mistake.

3. Fear of the unknown.
Regardless of assurances and guarantees from you, buyers may be more content to stick with a painful status quo than to opt for an uncertain future. They may not like what they currently have but the future is too big a question mark to take any risks. This fear is especially pronounced for buyers whose job may not be assured or for those who lack self-confidence.

4. Fear of losing control.
Like all people, buyers want to feel that they have choices and are in control. They want to establish the agenda and control the timing. They are comforted by being able to delay purchase decisions as long as they can. Once they feel that they are losing that control their fears skyrocket.

Some these anxieties are obvious; others are subtle. You’ll increase your influence and credibility once you help your buyers discover and confront their fears, show that you are sensitive to those fears, and help them come to discover that your product or service will eliminate their fear and provide them with peace of mind.

Lisa Musick


You pretty much hit it on the head. That’s what I am seeing in about 90% of the prospecting I do. The other 10% are just in the clouds… Thanks for articulating, Lisa

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