Sales people use it as a tactic to persuade buyers to choose their product over the competition. This was a favorite of IBM sellers for years and may still be. Remember the old saying, “you can’t get fired for choosing IBM?” The premise was that the competition has an inferior product, so if you choose an inferior product, it could be so devastating to your business that you could lose your job.
The FUD is made personal in this example and certainly creates the intended result which is doubt. Are you really going to risk your livelihood by not choosing IBM? IBM is the safe bet with years of creditability. Come on, its Big Blue, blue suits with white shirts and all! It’s a no brainer to choose IBM and no one would question your decision.
FUD is used by sales professionals around the world and when used properly, it is a very effective tactic. It doesn’t have to be as obvious as the IBM example. It can also be used to help build urgency…
“If you do nothing, what is the impact to you and your business?”,
“The world has changed and if you do nothing you will lose!”,
“Your competition is behind, don’t let them have a chance to get back in the game!”
Try using a FUD statement in your pitch deck as an opening statement similar to the Challenger Sale. Fear is effective and serves a purpose for opening the conversation…Be bold,
Fear of not keeping up with the competition.
Fear of missing out on an opportunity.
Fear of not innovating.
Fear of not achieving your goals.
The other big group that is successfully using FUD are our politicians. With the Presidential election, finally coming to a conclusion, we are seeing a lot of FUD statements by politicians from both sides. No one does this better than Donald Trump. He has had a head start being a business man in an industry perfect for FUD. Donald, like other politicians, uses FUD to get votes. Think of a vote as a sale. He has persuaded close to 50% of the country that our government is completely broken and if you continue to vote for corrupt politicians, you and the country will be a devastated. He is selling fear to fix the problem, all you have to do is vote for him. He is the solution to the problem! Of course Hillary Clinton uses FUD as well. She is persuading voters that if you vote for Trump, you are voting for a dictator that will alienate the US from the rest of the world. Right or wrong this tactic is working in politics as it does in sales.
Warning: Please use FUD wisely and always take the high road. Sellers don’t have to emulate our politicians 🙂