Or, more to the point, why is it that some people won’t make a change even when gains would clearly result from making the change?
You and your sales team undoubtedly encounter clients with this kind of counterintuitive behavior. For example, think of prospective clients who stayed with their current supplier despite your superior alternative. What gets in the way of their making such a positive change? On a personal level, we’ve all seen colleagues or family members avoid making a change that would clearly be in their best interests. Why?
When looking at change and the stickiness of that change, we look at four things:
1. Level of Dissatisfaction with the status quo = D
2. Vision of what could be = V
3. First steps required to make a change = F, and
4. Resistance to change, the boulder that obstructs the path = R
Change only happens when the Resistance to change is overwhelmed by your Dissatisfaction (D) and Vision (V) and the First step required to make the change. In other words:
(D x V) + F must be greater than R for change to happen
If dissatisfaction is low, clarity of vision lacking, or the first steps towards making the change are too great, then overcoming Resistance is unlikely and change improbable.
Applying this framework to business situations we see some fairly typical examples of sales challenges you may be facing in your business.
1. Your sales team knows every feature and benefit of your quality product, but their sales results are disappointing. All too often sales teams spend their time promoting features and benefits to prospective customers, but they neglect to probe their prospective client’s dissatisfaction with their current provider.
2. 80% of sales are made for emotional reasons (people buy on emotions and justify with logic – Tom Hopkins). Taping into that emotional component of sales in this case means that the alignment of your service value with the prospective client’s dissatisfaction and/or vision should be high. Effective sales teams make clear how their offer connects with the prospective client’s dissatisfaction and/or vision…that’s where sales happen.
3. Businesses impacted by the recent economy realize that they need to change their strategies and operations to prospect. Yet, these changes are often difficult for business owners to make, especially those who have operated one way for many years. By helping the decision maker(s) increase the intensity of their dissatisfaction or desire to achieve their vision your sales team will have done your prospective clients a service that often results in a sale..
It’s a rare bird who seeks out change, but it comes to all of us in our business and personal lives. “The only constant in life is change”. In those cases where you find making change difficult, it may be useful to examine your dissatisfaction with the status quo, your clarity of vision for what you want in the future, and what’s required to get started. You’ll be more likely to embrace long-term change and to help your clients do so as well.