How to Sell to Today's Cautious Clients

How to nudge the sales process along and land orders from wary buyers

Written by Harvey Copeman

In my experience, the word “recovery” is only relevant to buyers if they are experiencing it directly in their own business. Until your clients see tangible evidence that their sales are gaining momentum, they’ll take a more cautious approach to investing in their business. Nonetheless, there are ways to nudge the sales process along.

Staying top of mind with your clients will encourage them to take the next step whenever they’re inspired to think about business investments, but you don’t want to become a pest. Apply controlled persistence and try to add relevant value to your client communications. This could take the form of industry, product or market intelligence.

There is never any substitute for asking good questions and listening carefully to uncover the most important or problematic areas of a client’s business. But this is even more important post-recession because solutions tend to be non-linear — a function not of your product’s virtues but of factors specific to your client’s business, such as cash flow and budget. For instance, you could explore whether extended payment terms will tip the balance in your favour.

Leveraging product scarcity is another useful tactic. If your company has limited stock on hand, consider suggesting that your client stock up now in order to avoid disappointment. On the flip side, a time-limited offer on attractively priced overstock can also motivate cautious buyers.

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