Use the change activation model to identify potential objections to change before they happen.
- I remember when I finally decided to switch from a BlackBerry to an iPhone. I'd seen many of my peers utilizing this new, cool technology, and I could see the buzz around me at every turn, yet the iPhone was out for nearly two years before I finally made the switch. Can you think of something that you've recently changed? Satellite provider? Cell phone carrier? Insurance? Change is hard for the vast majority of human beings, isn't it? Getting your customer to change is equally as hard. Let's talk about the change process and then go a little deeper into the barriers that prevent us from changing. In order to change, in particular, from a consumer standpoint, we go through what I call the purchase-change equation. Awareness plus motivation plus ability equals change. Step one is, does your customer have the awareness that they need to change, or even that other options are available? The next step, step two is, how motivated are they to make the change? Is there enough pain, et cetera? Change seldom occurs until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change. Let that one sink in. Step three, how easily can they implement the change? If you have a great product or service but your lead times are six months out, you've made it much more difficult for me to change to your product. Even though the right level of awareness combined with the right level of motivation and the ease or ability to implement leads to the greatest likelihood of change, there are still several unconscious barriers that we all have to accepting change. The first is anxiety. When faced with a change, human beings tend to get really anxious. They do this due to the fact that they have the subconscious feeling that they are going to take a risk and don't know what the outcome will be. So, what's the solution? Ensure there's trust in the relationship first, and then be mindful to continually speak to what the customer can expect from your partnership. Remove the unexpected and unknown, and you'll remove the anxiety barrier. The next barrier is the feeling of isolation. When faced with a change, humans tend to draw inward and feel isolated. We don't do this consciously. It's at a subconscious level. It stems from our internal fight-or-flight mechanism and that we need to hunker down and get through this change. So, what's the solution? Ensure the customer understands how many other customers have been in their exact shoes and the results they have experienced by working with you. In addition, provide them with direct access to a couple of really satisfied customers who will walk them through their positive experience. Do this successfully, and they will move from a feeling of isolation to an excitement of being part of something that's already successful. The next barrier is the feeling of potential loss. Because humans primarily view change as bad, especially change that we didn't choose ourselves, we tend to look at the change cup as half-empty rather than half-full. As a result, we start looking for things we will lose or have to give up to make the change. It's part of our self-preservation mechanism buried deep within our subconscious. So, what's the solution to this? Make sure you're using positive language that continually highlights what the customer will gain by making a change. The next barrier customers face is, we can only take so much change at one time. Our brains are wired to handle only so many changes at once. If you try to sell more than one solution at a time to your customer, they may start to feel overwhelmed and not end up buying anything. What's the solution to this? Focus the customer at one incremental change at a time. Baby steps is the key. The next barrier is, when the pressure to change is off, we tend to revert back to our old way. So, referring back to the change equation, if my awareness is high but my motivation really isn't, then the minute you walk out of my door, no matter how excited you made me feel about your product, I will likely go right back to doing business the same way as before you came. What's the solution? Make sure you spend enough time really diving into the customer's issues, and spend as much time as necessary quantifying those issues. That will drive up the motivation and urgency, and the likelihood that they will make the change then and there. So, in summary, it's really about your ability to help navigate your customer through the awareness plus motivation plus ability equation, all while keeping in mind the five subconscious potential barriers to change. Do so effectively, and you will ensure the sale and create trust and loyalty in the process.
- Describe the overall phases of a sales process.
- Explain how to perform prospect research.
- List and define possible motivations, as well as enabling situations for change.
- Describe ways to establish credibility and obtain commitment.
- Explain the elements of post-sales activities.
- Describe the importance of process in sales activities.
- Itemize steps in the process for obtaining commitment.