Selling New Technologies: Nine Ways to Break Through the Skepticism
The toughest thing you’ll ever do is sell new technology solutions to commercial customers. They’re skeptical about claims, resistant to change, and risk averse. No wonder, all of us have been burned by new technology. Yet selling something new is one of the coolest, most profitable things you can do.
How can you break through their skepticism? Consider these nine tactics to get customers to try your new offering.
1) Talk to Thought Leaders
Choose early-adopter customers who are dissatisfied with their current solution and are under pressure to find a solution. They are less risk averse and more willing to take a gamble on something new. They often market new technology, so you can find them with a Web search for new product releases.
2) Show Evolution
Illustrate that it’s not new, but a refinement, extension, or new use of existing technology. If you can show that only a small part is really new, you can often get customers to feel more comfortable.
3) More Reward than Risk
Show that the risk is way less than the reward. Often customers with a pressing need will take a risk to solve the problem if the outcome is worth it.
4) Guarantee Outcome
“What do you need for me to guarantee for you to feel comfortable trying this?” If you can guarantee this outcome, you’re closer to success. While you may not be able to make the guarantee, at least you know where they’re skeptical.
5) Suspend Their Judgment
Use this script to get them to listen to your presentation with reduced skepticism. “I know you’re skeptical and that’s good because it keeps you from making bad choices. I appreciate your skepticism because almost all of my customers have initially been skeptical. Yet, this presentation has been carefully thought out to answer the issues that you’re facing. So please, sit back, relax, and listen all the way through before coming up with questions and making a judgment. Would you do that for me?
6) Defer Requests for References When You Have None
When a prospect asks to speak with others who are using this technology, say, “I’ll be delighted to do that under two conditions: first, that it’s the last thing you do before making a decision, and second that you become a reference customer for us, knowing that we won’t waste your time with people who aren’t serious.”
7) Prove Their Success
Illustrate success in terms of your customer’s needs instead of just doing a canned demonstration. Show them that you can solve their problem in a new, more efficient, easier way. Better yet, if they can push the buttons and be successful, their skepticism will vanish.
8) Have Their Back
Demonstrate that you’ll be there to help if something goes wrong. Your personal commitment to their success can neutralize skepticism.
9) Get Early Feedback
When a customer buys, ask them for a feedback letter. I’ve learned that I’m more success getting feedback then asking for a testimonial letter. The best letters will say, “I was skeptical! How can something like this be so simple? Brand X won me over and I’m now enjoying lower costs, better service…” You get the picture.
A few ideas from my forthcoming book with the working title “Selling Disruption.” Let’s have a conversation if you think my ideas can help you succeed with your product launch.