This blog looks at change from the context of buying – and selling.
Buying and selling can defined be in its broadest terms – selling a product or service or an idea. So it applies to a non-sales selling situation such as being persuaded to do something, support something and persuading someone to do something, support something etc. It can also be applied to more traditionally defined sales situation – exchanging a product or service for money.
Looking at buying. Any purchase of any kind – thing, service or idea – requires a change. Looking at some examples:
- Buying new clothes or new shoes – they will feel different (and make you feel different) and thus are a change
- Commissioning a new website – this requires a change in the look and feel of your online brand, new processes (if it includes different functionality), new opportunities
- Investing in sales training – this requires you to let go of some of the things you do, change what you do and take some risks
- Agreeing to do something different at work, or adopt a new work practice – this changes your actions or your beliefs
It follows therefore that when we are selling we are actually facilitating a change.
Looking at our change equation, change is a function of:
- dissatisfaction with the present
- a vision of the future
- some first practical steps
And to be personally motivated to make the change the sum of these needs to be equal to or greater to the cost or pain or effort of making the change
Therefore before we can sell something to someone they need:
- to be dissatisfied with what they have at the moment
- a clear vision of the future – of where they could be, what could be happening
- an idea of how to get there and confidence that it is possible – and then in turn, the actual route map
- for the above to be equal to or great to the cost or pain or effort of making the change.
If any of these elements are missing you will not make a sale.
Taking an example of investing in sales training. If I am happy enough with my client acquisition processes, even if I know at one level that I ‘should’ be bringing on more clients, unless something more compelling drives me (and creates dissatisfaction) I am not going to make a change. Equally if I cannot imagine a future where I have more clients and enjoy some real benefits from this, I will not make the investment (in time, money and personal upheaval). And finally if I do not think that you are the person to take me there I will not buy from you (i.e. I need to see my ‘first practical steps’). And even if those things are in place, if I am not convinced that the cost – in terms of my time, my money or the demands placed on me – will be met or exceeded through the investment in training I will not buy.
To sell effectively we need to facilitate our buyer in exploring the change equation for themselves and making a decision to change or not to change.