Why You Should Proactively Address Risk in Sales

My rule as a leader is that I’ll never be upset with a bad outcome as long as two things are true:

  • We had a good plan
  • We executed that plan

So, what makes a good plan? A good plan addresses two types of risk:

  • Known risk (where does the buyer see risk in the deal)
  • Potential risk (risk buyer may not yet be aware of)

Address Known Risks Early

Every buyer is aware of two primary risks:

  • Buying something that works but isn’t worth the money (value)
  • Buying something that doesn’t work (failed implementation)

We plan to mitigate the value risk by tying our solution to metrics that impact both our primary buyer and the economic buyer.

We plan to mitigate the failed implementation risk through customer stories (transactional deals), reference calls (mid-size deals), and proof of concepts (large deals).

Proactively Address Potential Risk

Sellers hate bringing up risks their buyer hasn’t mentioned. Unfortunately, that makes it more likely that the risk comes up at the worst possible time and derails the deal.

Here are some frequent examples of risks the buyer may not bring up but could slow down your opportunity:

  • IT bandwidth for implementing new solutions
  • Security assessments for new vendors
  • New approval processes for spend (seeing this A LOT with the down economy)

Here’s how I would proactively address these risks:

IT bandwidth: “IT is usually stretched thin and often needs to approve new projects – who should we spend 30 minutes to show how easy our solution is to implement so they don’t get concerned about an additional project?”

Security Assessments: “Companies like yours care about data security. Who on your team would know how to evaluate new software to ensure security compliance? I’d love to send over our documentation, so they feel good about our protocols.”

New Approval Processes: “We see budget approvals look different now than a few months ago. Have you heard of any changes in your process? Who would we want to connect with to ensure our business case matches what your team wants to see in a review?”

That’s it for this week! I hope it helps you think about (and address) risk in your Q3 deals.


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