Who Struggles More? I wrote this blog to get you to think about the difference between what you go through trying to make a sale, and what your prospect goes through to debate making a change.
If you’re in “sales,” one of the biggest challenges you face is helping your prospect objectively debate making a change. Why? Because your likelihood of making a sale directly correlates with the prospect’s ability to decide on making a change. If they don’t agree to change, you don’t win the business. The key skill here is the ability to debate objectively. Considering that the “fear of change” is a top 10 fear for most human beings, including your prospects, the objective debate is not easy.
If you were to assess the process and experience of your prospects as they evaluate the change you represent vs. what you go through to position yourself as a better solution – what observations would you make?
On the one hand, your prospect’s process often has little to do with the fact that you offer a better solution and that you can see they really need your help. Their path for debating change is often very difficult and weighed down by the loyalties they may feel, the blood sweat and tears of their past experiences creating what they do or use today, and the discomfort, uncertainty and perceived effort involved with embracing the idea of doing something different. For them, it’s a thinking process filled with emotional discord -and a debate that focuses on the risk of outcome disappointment.
On the other hand, for you, the prospect’s path toward change is filled with hope and excitement, because if they can figure out how to embrace it, you increase your chances of making the sale. To you, it’s a process that promises you reward. These are different paths and experiences, yet tied to the same sales interaction. You focus on the opportunity to make the sale, and they debate which option (change or no change) feels more comfortable at that moment. Hence the struggle we all call sales.
Unfortunately, the solution to easing this friction between your sales anticipation and their change averseness does not include you telling your prospect why your path is better. If that worked, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it.
Have you ever asked yourself, does your prospect have the commitment, courage, and general “know how” to deliver on their end of the “sales” equation – making a truly objective decision? The part of the prospect’s evaluation process when they leave your presentation promising to meet internally to debate one of three options – move forward with you, someone else, or stay where they are. It’s that meeting you’re not invited to. Where the weight of current relationships, experiences, and expectations can go unchallenged and unchecked. What can you do?
One of the over-arching causes for this innate human tendency to struggle with decisions is an inconsistent lack of objectivity – a simple byproduct of loyalty, pride, and a resounding lack of self-awareness. This is where the elite sales people separate themselves from everyone else. They take the time to ask contrasting questions. These are the questions that activate a more open-minded process, where the prospect can think through alternate paths and outcomes. This is an objective debate.
If you want to instill more objectivity in your prospect’s evaluation process in the meeting you are not invited to, ask questions that create debate in the meetings you are invited to. Your own sales certainty is not as important as helping your prospect gain change clarity. Navigating a sale is very different than navigating change.
Our next content release will dive deeper into those contrasting questions.