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Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)

 

Disciplines > Sales > Sales articles > Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

FUD stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt, and is a method used in sales and marketing to dissuade customers from buying competing products and solutions by providing information that triggers fear and uncertainty, or sows seeds of doubt, about current customer thinking.

Things that may be suggested include:

  • That competing products are problematic.
  • That competitors have operational problems.
  • That promised competing products will not be delivered as suggested.
  • That competitor companies are financially unstable.

You can even use FUD around your own offerings, such as that:

  • Support for old products will be stopped.
  • Prices will be going up.
  • Products are so desirable you will be soon running out of stock.
  • That 'preferred customer' status may be withdrawn.

Example

When a competitor launches a new product, a marketing manager announces that a better product will be released later in the year, even though release dates are very uncertain. The uncertainty caused is enough to cause many customers to wait.

A sales person, when told that a customer is considering a competitor solution, produces a recent news article that indicates that the competitor firm is likely to be a target for acquisition.

Discussion

When people buy things they often start with a checklist (written or mental) of functionality and other attributes that they want. Then they switch to cost, looking for the lowest price they must pay for what they want. If the price is too high, then they may trade features for discount.

What buyers seldom consider is risks and other uncertainties that could lead to product failure or other problems, especially in the longer term. Yet paradoxically we seek certainty and hence are often very risk averse. This is an opportunity for sales and marketing people who can use threats and uncertainties that lead to negative emotions such as fear, and hence sow seeds of doubt that lead to desired changing of minds.

See also

Doubt Close, Sow Seeds of Doubt

 

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