Episode OneHundredFiftySix

Risk Mitigation: Stop Selling & Start Solving

Guest: Chris Donato, Founder of Esellas

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About This Episode

When was the last time you thought about risk? 

As a sales professional, odds are that you’re not constantly thinking about enterprise risk as you put together your sales strategies. 

But you should be.

Why? Because there is 100% chance that the enterprise customers that you’re selling to are thinking about risk. 

And they’re thinking about it a lot. 

On this episode of the Sales Engagement podcast, we sit down with Chris Donato to talk about all things enterprise selling, risk mitigation, and what David needs to do in order to defeat Goliath. 

Selling Change

Let’s face it. 

Sales professionals aren’t big on selling risk mitigation. It’s just not something that we’re constantly thinking of. But like we already mentioned, your customers are thinking about it. And thinking about it often. 

The reality is that most people don’t want to change unless they have to. We see this every time Twitter changes their layout, or Amazon institutes a new Prime policy. 

We’re a culture that is hesitant to change. 

But the truth is that when a salesperson shows up to do their pitch, they’re the embodiment of change. They want the customer to do something different, specifically buy from them to solve a specific problem. 

For the buyer, change elicits fear, and induces risk. 

But for the seller, it represents a deal. It represents a chance to help solve a problem. 

The buyer and the seller see risk in completely opposing ways, and until the two understand one another, sales professionals will continue to undersell risk mitigation, much to their own detriment. 

Framing Risk

No company is completely risk averse, no matter how much they like to pretend that they are. Every company accepts some amount of risk.

So as sales professionals, how do you frame risk in such a way that you alleviate the customer’s fear?

Ultimately, your job is to make a case for change. To make the case for why the change that YOUR solution offers is better than staying the same. 

Chris tells our listeners, in the face of change or risk, you’ve got to help your customers C.O.P.E. Encourage them to look at the risk through these 4 lenses: 


What kind of change are you introducing to the company as a whole? Is it a complete overhaul of the way things are done, or is it ultimately a small change that can be readily absorbed? 


Buying has shifted from the core to the edge. It now takes place all over the enterprise. What sort of organizational risk are you introducing? 


Think about it as buying something on behalf of your colleagues. If it goes badly, there are a lot of fingers to be pointed. So what kind of personal risk are you introducing into the situation? 


What’s the risk to the ecosystem as a whole? Beyond the company, how will it impact the industry? 

Incumbent vs. Insurgent

A recent study found that 60% of the time, a customer will stay with an incumbent vs. trying something new. Why?

Because again, we don’t like change. Familiarity is comforting. It may not be perfect, but it’s what we know. Like that door that sticks a bit in your house, sure, you could replace it, but it’s a hassle. It’s easier to just live with it. 

So how do you swing those odds in your favor? 

  1. Find a situation where the risk of staying the same is greater than the risk of change. 

It’s like that old quote says. “What got you here is not what’s going to get you there.” 

  1. Find the entrepreneurial buyer

That buyer that recognizes and wants to experiment. That wants to shake things up and go to war with the status quo.

They might seem elusive, but they are all over large organizations. 

Then come to the table with Facts, Understanding, and Decisions. 

Before you read this as an indictment of selling, it’s anything but. Selling isn’t bad. But it’s not just something that’s done TO someone. It’s something that’s done FOR someone. 

Selling looks more like solutioning and solving a problem than it does making a simple transaction or agreeing to a terms sheet. 

This post is based on a podcast interview with Chris Donato. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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