The Sales Killer is Ambiguity

Years ago, IBM created a sales technique that we refer to as FUD or Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The tactic was not to promote sales, but to hinder or slow sales. At the time, IBM was not considered a technology innovator and its competitors often came out with products that were more advanced and cheaper. IBM’s defense was to either delay the purchase decision until they could improve their product or create unease with making a vendor change for the buyer.

Fear was instilled with “What happens to you if you buy from this lesser vendor?” Uncertainty sown with “What happens if they’re not able to deliver?” Finally, Doubt was raised with “What happens to the company or even you if the product doesn’t work?”

However, many within our industry are unknowingly engaged in creating FUD with the same resulting buyer consequences. When we discuss new or old technologies and state there is no agreement on what it is or it can be anything, we are not helping our prospects. The best example if this continued ambiguity is Unified Communications (UC). Earlier this year I was at a conference where several people pointed out that there are many definitions of UC. I was confused by this admission. After these years of discussing UC, I thought we had reached a consensus on the definition and at a minimum could present it to a potential buyer. Given the acceptance of ambiguity in the room, I was wrong.

New technology is concerning enough for buyers but it becomes a major issue when the sales person can’t describe or frame it succinctly for the buyer. There are a couple of acceptable definitions of UC. I suggest, that if you are marketing or selling the product, you choose one. I describe Unified Communications as combining all forms of business communications. That includes voice, texting, voice mails, emails, video, conferencing or any combination thereof.  UC unifies all communications methodologies. I don’t think any buyer is going to be confused by that definition.

We must avoid ambiguity. It does not move the sales forward. Our role should be that of a trusted advisor when technology is unclear or its value suspect. This applies not only to UC but also to NFV, SD WAN and “the Cloud”.
Removing ambiguity accelerates decision making and improves your ability to win the business. The most successful marketing and sales people, are those that establish clearly understood benefits and value propositions. supporting buyers with information that makes them more comfortable which leads to more closed sales.

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