Selling to Risk-Averse Buyers in 2023
B2B Marketing Tips in Cautious Times
Selling to businesses is a unique challenge in the best of times.
On the one hand, you're dealing with people, and people are driven by emotions. You need to inspire them emotionally just to get their attention. But then you have to do a bait-and-switch, because no business person likes believe they make decisions emotionally. Their decisions not only need to be rooted in fact, but they need to believe, and they need others to believe, that the only factor in their decision was cold-hard facts.
It's a challenge that some of us live for, and that keeps others up at night.
But 2023 is not the best of times. And the latest from Statistics Canada shows the biggest challenge is none other than the aftermath of Covid-19.
In a survey of Canadian rural and small business owners in the second quarter of 2023, Statistics Canada found:
The #1 obstacle facing Canadian businesses is rising inflation, with 61.3% of businesses reporting this as their main concern.
#2 is rising cost of inputs.
#3 is rising interest rates and debt costs.
#4 is cost of insurance.
What this should tell any B2B marketer is that your prospects and clients are in an extremely financially conservative state of mind right now. They're going to be extremely risk-averse. They want guaranteed cash flow more than they want asymmetric opportunities, because they're in survival mode right now.
25 Tips for Selling to Risk-Averse Businesses
In a post-pandemic world where uncertainty looms large, selling to risk-averse businesses demands an empathetic approach. As a B2B marketer, you need to understand that your prospects and clients are prioritizing financial stability and security above all else.
To help you navigate this challenging landscape, here are 25 tips for successfully selling to risk-averse businesses in 2023:
Focus on Value Proposition
Emphasize the tangible benefits and cost savings your product or service can bring to their bottom line. Clearly communicate how your offering can address their immediate challenges and contribute to long-term financial security.
Case Studies and Testimonials
Provide real-life examples of how your solution has helped other businesses weather uncertain times successfully. Concrete evidence of your product's reliability and positive outcomes will build trust.
Transparency and Honesty
Be candid about potential risks and limitations associated with your offering. Transparency fosters trust and helps establish a solid foundation for your business relationships.
Give Them the Data
Present your prospects with data and analytics that support the effectiveness of your solution. Data-driven decision making is reassuring to risk-averse buyers.
Offer risk-free trials or pilot programs, giving businesses a chance to experience the value of your product firsthand without a significant upfront commitment.
Flexible Pricing Options
Tailor your pricing plans to accommodate businesses with fluctuating budgets. Consider subscription models or installment-based payment options.
Understand the unique needs and pain points of each prospect, and customize your sales pitch accordingly. Demonstrating a deep understanding of their situation builds credibility.
Provide Expert Insights
Establish yourself and your company as thought leaders by sharing valuable insights and industry knowledge. This positions you as a reliable source of information and guidance.
Highlight Cost-Cutting Potential
Show how your solution can lead to cost-cutting in the long run, assuring risk-averse buyers that their investments will pay off.
Address Security Concerns
For businesses operating in a digital landscape, emphasize the security measures you have in place to protect their data and privacy.
Guarantees and Warranties
Offer robust guarantees and warranties that instill confidence in the quality and reliability of your product or service.
Shift the focus from a one-time transaction to a long-term partnership. Assure clients that you're invested in their success and will support them throughout their journey.
If you're not already doing so, cultivate strong relationships with decision-makers and key stakeholders. Personal connections trump virtually everything else.
Highlight Your Stable Customer Base
Showcase your existing clientele and their loyalty to your brand. Knowing that established businesses trust you can alleviate concerns for potential buyers.
Address Supply Chain Concerns
If your product relies on a stable supply chain, reassure buyers that you have contingency plans in place to mitigate disruptions.
Education and Training
Offer comprehensive training resources to ensure your clients can maximize the benefits of your product. Knowledgeable customers are more confident in their decisions.
Position yourself as a partner in problem-solving, demonstrating your commitment to helping businesses navigate challenges effectively.
Fast and Responsive Customer Support
Show your dedication to exceptional customer service. Quick and reliable support can be a deciding factor for risk-averse buyers.
Simplicity in Implementation
Minimize the complexity of integrating your solution into their existing infrastructure. A smooth and hassle-free implementation process reduces perceived risks. Show them how and why your implementation process will be both seemless and painless.
Industry Certifications and Compliance
Obtain relevant certifications and compliance standards that reinforce your credibility and trustworthiness. This alleviates the buyer's fear of looking foolish.
At the back of every risk-averse buyer's mind is an exit strategy: "How will I save face if this goes south?" Being able to show that you have all the right credentials goes a long way, because they can say they did their due diligence.
Leverage Social Proof
Utilize social media and customer reviews to showcase positive experiences with your brand. Positive reviews build confidence and credibility.
Emphasize Continuity Plans
Demonstrate your ability to adapt and maintain consistent service levels even during challenging times.
If your industry is known for fly-by-night operators, show that you have contingencies in place if you were to run into financial trouble. Show that you have a long-term commitment to the product or service you are selling.
Regular Performance Reports
Provide periodic performance reports to demonstrate the ongoing value of your solution. This is crucial for securing ongoing business from this customer.
If your existing customers allow, publish these reports as case studies.
Highlight the advantages your product has over competitors, giving risk-averse buyers a clear justification for choosing your offering.
Patience and Empathy
Understand that the decision-making process may take longer for risk-averse buyers. Be patient and empathetic, allowing them the time they need to feel secure in their choice.
Emotional Appeals for Risk-Averse B2B Buyers
While it's true that B2B buyers prioritize facts and logical reasoning when making decisions, it's important to remember that all decisions are made emotionally first, and rationalized after-the-fact.
In times of financial conservatism and heightened risk aversion, emotions play an even more significant role in the decision-making process.
As a smart B2B marketer, you can leverage these emotional triggers to complement your rational arguments and increase your chances of success. Here are some key emotional appeals to consider when selling to risk-averse B2B buyers in 2023:
Safety and Security
In uncertain times, the need for safety and security becomes paramount. Highlight how your product or service provides a safety net for businesses, giving them peace of mind and a sense of control over their future.
Example: "With our state-of-the-art data security measures, your sensitive information remains protected, shielding your business from potential cyber threats and data breaches."
Stability and Reliability
Emphasize the stability and reliability of your company and offerings. Reassure buyers that your track record and experience position you as a dependable partner, capable of weathering any storm alongside them.
Example: "For over a decade, we've been a trusted partner to countless businesses, providing unwavering support and reliable solutions through economic fluctuations."
Trust and Credibility
Establish trust through testimonials, case studies, and endorsements from reputable sources. Earning the trust of risk-averse buyers is crucial in gaining their commitment to your brand.
Example: "Our client base includes some of the industry's most established companies, who rely on us to deliver results and drive their success."
Peace of Mind
Highlight how your product or service minimizes risks and uncertainties, offering a sense of peace of mind to buyers who are navigating turbulent waters.
Example: "Our comprehensive warranty ensures that you can focus on your business with confidence, knowing that we have you covered."
Empathy and Understanding
Show genuine empathy for the challenges businesses face during uncertain times. Demonstrate your understanding of their concerns and the efforts you've made to tailor your solutions accordingly.
Example: "We understand the financial pressures you're experiencing, and that's why we've designed our pricing plans to be flexible and budget-friendly."
Hope for the Future
Paint a positive vision of the future with your product or service. Inspire hope by illustrating how your offering can help businesses not only survive but thrive in the face of adversity.
Example: "Our cutting-edge technology is poised to transform your operations, unlocking new opportunities for growth and resilience in the post-pandemic landscape."
Pride and Confidence
Appeal to the pride of business owners and decision-makers by showcasing how your product can position them as industry leaders, even amidst uncertainty.
Example: "By partnering with us, your business can lead the way in adopting innovative solutions that set industry standards and inspire confidence in stakeholders."
Ease of Decision-Making
Offer a seamless and straightforward decision-making process to ease the burden on risk-averse buyers. Streamlining the purchasing journey can alleviate stress and hesitation.
Example: "We've simplified our onboarding process, allowing you to implement our solution effortlessly, without adding unnecessary complexities to your operations."
Connect the emotional appeal to the direct impact your product or service can have on the well-being of the business, its employees, and its customers.
Example: "With our solution, you can provide better customer experiences, boosting loyalty and ensuring your business remains competitive and resilient in the market."
Emphasize shared values between your company and the businesses you target. Highlight your commitment to their success, aligning your goals with theirs.
Example: "We share your dedication to sustainability, and our eco-friendly practices can help your business reduce its environmental footprint while cutting costs."
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Remember, emotional appeals should complement, not replace, your data-driven and logical arguments. Striking the right balance between emotional and rational persuasion will create a compelling narrative that resonates with risk-averse B2B buyers in 2023. By understanding and addressing their emotional needs, you can establish a strong emotional connection, fostering trust and loyalty for years to come.
Bonus: 10 Headline Formulas That Work in Risk-Averse B2B Marketing
The start of virtually any communication is the headline. If you're writing an email, the headline is your subject line. If you're writing a tweet, the headline is the entirety of the tweet.
A headline is a promise about what's to come if you open that email, click the link, or keep reading what's below the headline. The best headlines also double as a promise about your product or service, but ultimately the headline's job is to say whatever it takes to get the prospect to read your message.
Here are 10 promises that always work.
"Secure Your Business's Future with [Your Product/Service]"
This formula emphasizes the idea of long-term stability and reassurance, addressing the risk-averse buyer's need for security.
Example: "Secure Your Business's Future with Cutting-Edge Cybersecurity Solutions"
"How [Your Product/Service] Can Shield Your Business from Uncertainty"
Highlight the protective nature of your offering, positioning it as a safeguard against potential risks and challenges.
Example: "How Our Cloud-Based Infrastructure Can Shield Your Business from Market Volatility"
"Unlock Guaranteed ROI: [Your Product/Service] for Risk-Averse Businesses"
This formula focuses on the guaranteed return on investment, appealing to the financial conservatism of risk-averse buyers.
Example: "Unlock Guaranteed ROI: AI-Powered Marketing Automation for Risk-Averse Businesses"
"The Smart Investment Choice for [Industry/Niche]"
Position your product as a smart, calculated investment rather than a risky gamble, catering to the risk-averse mindset.
Example: "The Smart Investment Choice for Manufacturing: Streamline Operations with Our ERP Software"
"Proven Results: How [Your Product/Service] Outperforms the Competition"
Highlight the reliability of your offering by showcasing real-world results, assuring risk-averse buyers of its effectiveness.
Example: "Proven Results: How Our Supply Chain Solution Outperforms the Competition in Reducing Costs"
"Confidently Navigate Uncertainty with [Your Product/Service]"
Address the desire for confidence and control by positioning your product as a valuable tool for navigating uncertain times.
Example: "Confidently Navigate Uncertainty with Our Comprehensive Risk Management Software"
"Minimize Risks, Maximize Profits: [Your Product/Service] for Risk-Averse Businesses"
Highlight the dual benefits of risk reduction and profit optimization, appealing to the pragmatic mindset of risk-averse buyers.
Example: "Minimize Risks, Maximize Profits: Our Financial Planning Software for Risk-Averse Businesses"
"Innovate Safely: [Your Product/Service] Pioneers Risk-Averse Solutions"
Emphasize the safe and innovative nature of your offering, showing how it can be a game-changer without undue risks.
Example: "Innovate Safely: Our Mechatronic Designs Pioneer Risk-Averse Manufacturing"
"Your Roadmap to Resilience: [Your Product/Service] for Risk-Averse Businesses"
Position your product as a roadmap to help businesses build resilience during turbulent times.
Example: "Your Roadmap to Resilience: Our HR Consulting Services for Risk-Averse Businesses"
"Predictable Performance: [Your Product/Service] for Steady Growth"
Highlight the predictability and consistent performance of your offering, appealing to those seeking stable outcomes.
Example: "Predictable Performance: Our Data-Backed Marketing Strategies for Steady Growth"
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Incorporating these headline formulas into your marketing campaigns can significantly impact the effectiveness of your messaging. By addressing the specific needs and concerns of risk-averse buyers, you can capture their attention, build trust, and ultimately drive success in the challenging landscape of B2B marketing in 2023.
Looking for even more help in reaching B2B customers? Insurgent Marketing is currently recruiting new clients.