Fear selling leverages a prospect’s feeling of vulnerability to draw the person toward your product, service, or idea. It is a powerful approach, but it needs to be used cautiously. If the technique is used toward the end of the meeting, the close occurs when the prospect feels as though the purchase is empowering. It replaces the feeling of vulnerability with a sense of control over the threat.

In the article “5 Best Cinematic Sales Pitches,” Inc. magazine featured a corny opening to a 1962 movie musical as one of them. Inc. then pointed out how spot-on it is in the context of modern fear selling. First, the movie version.

In the scene, “Professor” Harold Hill is a con man trying to sell musical instruments to parents in a fictional ...

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