Differentiating yourself on price is a race for the bottom. Who hits bottom first, wins. And be dammed the cost. All else lose. Differentiating yourself by ethically selling doubt is more productive. But how to sell doubt, you wonder? Well, read on.

First off, doubt triggers pause. Doubt triggers introspection. Doubt triggers attention. And all these are opportunities every seller needs. For instance, what to do when selling insurance or investment services and the prospect (potential buyer) says, “I don’t need someone to invest for me. I can do it myself”? Simple. Sell doubt. And so the progressive seller responds, “I’m sure you do a good job at money management.  Aren’t you concerned about making the wrong moves and having no one there to help you?” Or, “I’m sure you can. I’m sure you also know that most wives outlive their husbands. If something should happen to you, would she be able to handle everything by herself?” Doubt fills the suddenly silent air.

How to sell to non-believers

Had the seller not created doubt quite likely he would have lost the sale. The prospect would have ended the pitch right there and moved on, confident in his solo ways of investment. But, blind to the risks doing so presents. Now, he pauses, introspects and waits to hear more. The pitch gets a new lease of life and likely fruition.

Next, selling doubt creates insight and gets the prospect to rethink his stance. Like the mechanic that gets you to rethink your stance on the offer you currently have. To your confident, “I have a quote on the paint job which is lower than you are giving me,” he responds, “I’ll be surprised if that includes buffing. Does it? If it does, by all means go with him. I just need you to know that without buffing your car will not have the sheen you seek. It will be dull. Were you told this?” Doubt, uncertainty, has been planted. A pregnant silence follows.

How to sell doubt

The prospect may acquiesce and accede to this new mechanic’s quote. Or, skeptical, he calls the original painter and asks, “Does this quote include buffing?” To which the stammering response comes, “Err, we njoo tuongee.”(Come, let me explain). This time doubt is in the mechanic’s voice. For you, the prospect, that’s a red flag. You wonder, “If he was not honest about the quote, how do I know he’ll be honest about the job?” Bye-bye, sale

How to sell doubt? Create doubt by selling it

Lastly, prod to stand out. “A charger is not a charger. Even if the laptop model is right, the voltage could be wrong. I don’t want to sell you a charger that will damage your machine over time. Send me an image of the sticker at the bottom side of your laptop. It shows the voltage. Then I will recommend you the appropriate charger.” Now, if you had the asked the simple question, “How much is an ASUS charger?” in the hope for a simple response, “Kes. 1200”, suddenly your head is spinning. You had hoped for a figure, to use as a comparison yardstick. Now you don’t have the figure and yet what you have has you intrigued, ready to pay more if necessary.

Still in doubt on how to sell doubt?

Read: Use the power of reframing as a catalyst for sales success.


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