Selling on the Risk Without Selling on the Fear

Risk management and mitigation to reduce exposure for financial investment, projects, engineering, businesses. Concept with manager’s hand turning knob to low level. Reduction strategy.

Selling security is selling protection from a threat, protection from harm. People buy security to avoid negative outcomes. So, when we talk with customers, we have to be able to talk about those threats and how to avoid them. The challenge for you, as an MSP, is having that discussion without making it all about fear. After a security chat, your clients should feel less anxious—not more.

Ideally, clients should come away from that security chat with a sense of readiness. You want them to feel informed, confident that they can tackle the challenges they are facing, and ready to invest in your solutions. Yes, they should be concerned. But they should also feel sure about the solution you’ve discussed with them.

Without that confidence, concern easily tips over into fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

How can FUD hurt your sales?

FUD is a sales technique that companies use to reduce their customers’ faith in competitors. But it can have a negative impact on MSPs, because your customers don’t always understand what threats tomorrow’s digital world could bring. Trying to encourage a snap decision through this technique can destroy long-standing relationships with your customers.

  • Fear can lead to impulsive decisions, poor choices and long-term disappointment. By selling on fear, you can also create unrealistic expectations, which means that customers could see any security incident as a betrayal.
  • Uncertainty — we’ve all seen companies that use uncertainty about the future to drive sales. But, instead of uncertainty, most clients would rather have confidence — confidence that they have a good solution and are protected.
  • Doubt, if you think about it, it’s a bad thing to sell on. What would you rather have? A client who doubts that you can protect them. Or one with confidence in your capabilities? A confident client is more likely to be a long-term client.

Terrific profits, not terrified clients: Use risk education to sell well

At Malwarebytes, we encourage risk education of customers to promote clear, confident choices. Risk education should occur before a selling conversation, not at the same time. Don’t start discussing numbers until a client is sure about what they need and why they need it.

So how can you encourage trust in your company and your product and remove fear? Start by helping your customer to gain a clear understanding of the threats that you can help address. Share the latest statistics on cybercrime and discuss emerging trends. Read our blog and follow our research for updates and read cybersecurity newsfeeds. This helps them to make rational investment decisions.

Case studies are also great way for you to show customers the impact of a threat. But be sure to use relevant examples, preferably local or regional ones involving companies of a similar size or in a related industry. Focus on the money saved by a successful defense, rather than on the amount lost in an attack. That way, your conversation can take on a positive tone instead of fearmongering.

Give customers a clear understanding of the threats that are facing them, along with accurate information about how you as an MSP can help them now and in the future. Satisfied customers are more likely to trust you and to stick with you as the threat landscape changes. It costs five times more to acquire new customers than to retain old ones, so trust helps to promote your profitability. Certainty sells.

Just be sure not to over-promise on the services and products that you can provide. Inspiring confidence means setting realistic expectations. Overselling can backfire on you if a customer experiences a breach or successful attack.

So, when you speak with customers, keep your messaging on point to promote clarity and dissuade doubt. Be straightforward about the threats they face, and use precise, actionable and strategic language to describe how you as an MSP can address these. And always leave customers with some literature that they can refer to later. This can help to continue your security conversation, even when you aren’t there.

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Josh Pederson is senior director of global product marketing at Malwarebytes. See more Malwarebytes guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.