“We’re going to pump the brakes and wait until things stabilize before moving forward.”
That’s what a customer recently said to one of my clients. “Pumping the brakes” is a natural response to tough times. Buyers experiencing uncertainty conserve cash and reduce spending.
Buyer uncertainty leads to seller uncertainty. Uncertainty often leaves sellers wondering, “What should I do?” Uncertain sellers prefer to commiserate with buyers and wait until the environment stabilizes. During uncertain times, buyers don’t need to be coddled; they need to be challenged. Buyers need a leader.
Here’s the reality. Buyers have the money and the motivation to buy, but uncertainty is working against them. Strong leadership stabilizes the uncertainty. Here are four ideas to lead your customers through these uncertain times.
- Lead with your expertise. Uncertainty lengthens the gap between what is known and unknown. Decision makers are uncomfortable when they lack information. Utilize your expertise to close this knowledge gap. Closing the gap creates a higher degree of certainty. Dig deep and uncover the information gap with your buyer. Share your industry expertise, information about your solution, and a positive outlook.
- Lead with stability. Through uncertainty, decision makers want stable partners and predictable solutions. Promote your organization’s stability and longevity. One seller I trained had over 40+ years of experience in their industry (on both sides of the table). Furthermore, his company survived the Great Depression. Here’s how he presented his value, “I have 40+ years in the industry, and my company survived the Great Depression. In our combined 140+ years, we’ve been through a lot, and we will be here for you.”
- Lead with a better vision for the future. Strong leaders create a solid vision and commit to that vision—especially through tough times. Sometimes the fog of uncertainty obscures their view of that future. Your role is to clear the fog and remind them of their goals. In volatile times, decision makers must leave the present moment and look to the future. Does your solution help the customer reach their ultimate vision? If so, then detail how you will make that happen.
- Lead with confidence. Do you truly believe in your solution? Is your buyer better off working with you? Does your solution help buyers achieve their goals? If you answered yes to these questions, then let your passion and confidence show. Exuberance and confidence stem from a deep belief in the solution you are selling.
Buyers (and sellers) are hoping for more predictable times. Although it’s natural to desire a more stable environment, don’t wait for stability to act. Uncertainty creates leadership opportunities. Now is an opportune time to proactively guide your customers to a better future. Don’t miss this opportunity to lead. This uncertainty won’t last forever.