August 27, 2013

Fear, Uncertainty + Doubt in Buying

Have You Ever Been "FUDed"?

People say all is fair in business - win at all costs.  One strategy some competitors use is to confuse the buying/selling process through infusing fear, uncertainty and doubt into the buying/selling decision.  FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) is described as:

FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information. FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear. (Wikipedia).

The key part here is the phrase "appeal to fear".  Fear is the mortal enemy of a buying decision far more than pricing.  Some examples of FUD that might be said about you, by your competitors:
  • You are going out of business (no money)
  • You have lost a key member of the organization (can't deliver on promises)
  • Individually (you have a drug/alcohol problem)

Do these tactics sound familiar?  Usually it leaves you confused as to 'why' would someone say that, and why is your potential/existing customer listening to such outrageous statements.

As we know, disproving a negative is nearly impossible.  How can I prove that my company is NOT going out of business -especially when so many businesses closed their doors overnight?

So, the question is - How do we (the FUDed party), deal with the FUD being thrown at us:
  • First, don't be offended, it is probably a compliment to your competitive selling ability, and your company's products/services. The FUDder is desperate, and using risky, and despicable tactics.
  • Stay calm, the more you profess your innocence/righteousness, the more you give some credence to the FUD statement.  The people who handle it the best, approach it in two possible ways.
    • A hearty laugh and a clear statement of "does that sound logical to you" can often overcome/defeat the FUD statement.
    • Sometimes a response of "what information/data can I provide that will reduce your fears" will help.  The key is your openness; it is a cure to the FUD virus.
  • Whatever you do, do not throw FUD back!  First, your competition is probably better at FUDding that  you are, and in my experience "FUDders never win long term".  Yes, you may lose temporarily the customer, but you will more times than not get that customer back later on, when the customer determines the 'real' story.
It is a badge of courage to be FUDded !  Keep your head up, and your confidence strong.  Realize your competition is nervous  - YOU GOT THEM ON THE RUN !

David Haynes, NCARB, PMP, LEED AP
Ideate Director of Consulting

David is a Registered Architect, Project Management Certified Professional, who previously had his own architectural practice and was President of a commercial design-build construction company for 15 years. A graduate of University of Arizona, he has worked as an Architect, contractor, developer and as a national construction manager for a national retailer. David currently provides business process analysis, virtualization and change management solutions for AEC clients across the United States involved in the design and building industry. Follow David on Twitter: @dhaynestech

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