How Risk Reversal Language Will Help You Accelerate Your Sales Cycle

What’s the ultimate, late-stage barrier when you’re trying to push a deal through the sales cycle?

Buyer anxiety.

An excited prospect who believes your value proposition is a “no brainer” can instantly turn cold and ignore your calls when it’s finally time to put ink to the contract. After all, they’re spending a sizeable amount of company money — if something goes wrong, their job is on the line.

So, how do you remedy the anxiety a buyer might feel before the deal closes?

It all comes down to what you say.

Think About It…

Have you ever been ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, but felt so uneasy about the decision that you decided to cancel it last minute?

You begin to ask yourself questions like:

  • What if this doesn’t work out like I hope?
  • What if the salesperson over-promised and under-delivers?
  • What if the company turns out to be complete idiots and I’m stuck in a long-term contract?
  • What if I get fired from my job and can’t afford it anymore?

Whether it was the first big purchase you’ve ever made, or perhaps it initially sounded good before a widespread panic set in, the risk at hand can make you really question whether or not you want to go through with buying.

Reversing the Risk

Defined, risk-reversal is any strategy that reduces or eliminates the actual or perceived risk that a potential customer has about investing in your product/service.

As it turns out, including risk reversal language in your sales conversations may be all you need to keep pushing a deal forward. The data science team at analyzed 25,537 anonymized B2B sales call recordings using conversation intelligence technology. Every call was recorded, speaker-separated, transcribed from speech-to-text, and analyzed using machine learning and natural language processing. Here’s what was uncovered:

If you’re striving to spike your sales team’s win-rates, your lowest hanging fruit is in getting them to manage their talk-to-listen ratio effectively. But your next major opportunity for improvement lies in soothing your prospect’s pre-purchase anxiety and mitigating their risk with a liberal use of “risk-reversal language.”

Translation: if you want an easy way to increase your win-rates, you should proactively, frequently, and liberally talk about deal terms that are designed to protect the customer from risk when making a purchase.

These include:

  • Easy cancellations
  • 90-day opt-outs
  • Quick and easy implementation or setup
  • No long-term contracts
  • SLAs (service level agreements)
  • Money-back guarantees

The Risk of Risk Reversal Language

By using risk reversal language throughout the sales process, your win rates could soar by 32%:

But be forewarned: when these phrases (such as “cancel at any time,” “30-day opt-out,” and anything else that removes perceived risks) were used 4x or more on any call throughout the sales cycle, close rates dropped by 13 percent.

Why? How something works is secondary to why a prospect needs it.

When more time is spent on the how than on the why, the prospect tunes out.

Imagine how stressful it is for a prospect to commit their company’s money to a contract. They’re responsible for that decision, whether it flies or fails.

Now imagine a prospect’s relief at hearing something like, “If for any reason you change your mind, you can cancel your contract at any time. No hard feelings.”

If something goes wrong, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel for the prospect.

At the end of the day, if you’re worried about the consequences of prospects coming back to you later on, know this: You’ll have a 1 percent uptick in cancellations/opt-outs and a skyrocketing win-rate of 31 percent.

So it should be a no-brainer: Use risk-reversal language.

Chris Orlob is senior director of product marketing at, the  No. 1 conversation intelligence platform for B2B sales teams. Gong helps you convert more of your pipeline into revenue by shining the light on your sales conversations. It records, transcribes and analyzes every sales call so you can drive sales effectiveness, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and ramp new hires faster.

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