Why is change so hard? It’s common knowledge that many of us have a difficult time changing our way of doing things. And, since selling is all about change, how can we as sales people be change agents for our customers if we cannot accept change ourselves? It’s important to understand that if change is painful to you, then it also causes your clients pain.
Case in point: A client of mine is implementing a new sales process that will be an integral part of their forecasting methodology. We put together a change management process that provides a clear picture of what success will look like, powerful “what’s in it for them” messaging, and a way to coach and track success – and everything in between. Executive management is behind this initiative 110% yet there are many in the organization who are pushing back on accepting the change. You would think we were asking them to drop everything and fly to the moon or do brain surgery! So now, we are working on understanding their objections.
And then, something struck me: If change is hard for sales people, then why the difficulty understanding what the client is experiencing, when change is ultimately what they’re selling? Are we cognizant at all of the client’s pain?
When we provide products and services to our customers, we are helping them reach their professional, and sometimes, personal goals. And we are confident that we can help them. However, many sales people spend little time understanding what kind of impact that change will have on their organization. We figure that they will just “make it happen.” Yet, can we easily draw the correlation to the difficulties at hand in our own organizations – and maybe begin to understand how difficult change may be to our clients?
I asked my client to reflect on how difficult it is to affect change in their own organization and if they think about how disruptive change is to their customer’s organization. And how they address this, if at all.
That got us thinking about how our clients view us when we are trying to help them solve key business problems. Do we only think about our piece of the puzzle and ignore all the steps that go before and after, since they do not affect our pipelines?
The better we can understand, from our client’s point of view, all of the many pieces and parts needed to get to their ultimate goal, the better we can help understand the ramifications of the change on their organization. Our piece may be the largest, or it may not be, but it will surely cause pain to the client to make the change required.
Selling is all about change. Be a change agent for your clients. Change is hard, but it’s not brain surgery.
And, on a side note, my client and I then took this discussion one step farther: By truly understanding what has to happen before our products and services are implemented, we’ll ensure that we ask the right questions to understand the timing of all the pieces and parts that will get them to their goals. And, this will ensure that our forecasting close date is aligned with their required timing. Go figure.