Sales is predicated on change. Anyone disagree with me on this? The whole point of selling or buying is change is required or desired. You want a new car, the company needs new design software, an organization wants to take a new approach to marketing. In each of these situations, they’re all looking for change. It doesn’t matter what the sale or the purchase is, when we sell something or someone buys something change occurs.
Therefore, if change is at the center of the buyer — seller transaction, what’s happening during the sales process? It’s a negotiation. It’s a negotiation determining how much change and what type of change and it’s in this dialog the greatest salespeople win.
Overcoming Resistance: Making Customers Comfortably Uncomfortable
People are inherently adverse to change. For most, change is not in our DNA. We fear change. Change makes us nervous and therefore most people struggle when dealing with change.
Great salespeople understand this and know that at times, they will have to make their customers uncomfortable when selling change. They understand their customer may be clinging to a solution that seems safe, but isn’t what they need. They know their customer may have a bigger personnel, process, finance or IT problem than they are willing to acknowledge. Good salespeople understand the customer’s current environment may be woefully inadequate and the customer is unaware, yet they are willing and do highlight their inadequacies. And, in spite of making their customers very uncomfortable about these things, they themselves are very comfortable.
Good salespeople selling change are not uncomfortable calling out the elephant in the room. They take pride and comfort knowing that in order to provide the best service, solution or product to their customers, they have to get everything on the table. They understand that their customer maybe struggling, in denial, or unaware of their situation and this makes them vulnerable. Rather than placating to the vulnerability, good salespeople stay focused on the goal of providing positive change that makes a difference for their customers and this may require making their customers uncomfortable.
Good salespeople ask the difficult questions. They probe. They call out the elephant in the room. They challenge conventional wisdom and their customers preconceived notions. Good sales don’t shy away from the uncomfortable, they jump right in.
Embracing Customer Discomfort
If your customer is going to buy, change is coming. It’s inevitable. You can keep your customer from being uncomfortable and deliver some change, a little change or change they don’t truly want or need or you can deliver game changing change; change that creates a competitive advantage, that saves millions of dollars, that accelerates production times, that creates the wedding of the century, that gets them their dream job, that increases growth by 25%, that brings a new product to market faster, that makes them over the top happy. You just have to be comfortable making them uncomfortable.
What you can’t do is deliver a game changing solution without making someone, if not everyone uncomfortable and you better be comfortable with that.