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FUD-Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

by David Brock on December 4th, 2019

FUD has been an element, unfortunately, of sales and selling probably since the very first transaction between Adam and Eve.

It’s been a tactic many exploit in competitive situations, perhaps the thinking being creating FUD within the customer about the competitive vendor, or creating FUD around making a decision not in favor of us. Early in my career, there was a saying (I think more mythology), “No one ever got fired for making an IBM decision….”

Hank Barnes recently addressed this with a terrific post, “Revisiting Thoughts On FUD (It’s Time For A New Approach).” It provoked my thoughts about FUD, particularly around the issues of sensemaking and decision confidence.

Putting ourselves in our customers shoes, as we look at the rate of change, evolving market/competitive threats, increased complexity, information overload, overwhelm, turmoil, time compression, and turbulence. Both organizationally and personally, live in a world of FUD–of their own, their companies, their markets, their customers making.

This new world of FUD is the reality too many face. It arises less out of malicious behavior (though some does), but more out of current circumstances and reality. FUD often paralyzes them in taking action, in driving change, addressing new opportunities and moving forward. This is a major factor contributing to the majority of buying decisions ending in no decision made.

Knowing this is what our customers face, knowing they are looking for help, they are trying to make sense of what they face, the challenge Hank presents is, “how do we create value and meaning to help reduce the FUD our customers face?”

Rather than the outdated and bad practice of creating FUD, the reality is we need to help customers understand and reduce the FUD created naturally. We need to help them gain confidence in themselves, what they face, and the decisions they make in going forward.

FUD exists, it’s the day to day reality for many of our customers. Our greatest value is helping reduce and eliminate this FUD, becoming confident in their decision and moving forward.

Leave it to the inept competitors, stuck in yesterday’s selling approaches to misunderstand FUD and drive customers away.

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