Focus on How: Why Change

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

Following up on my last post, Thinking Outside the Status Quo, I wanted to dive deeper into the question of ‘Why Change.’

During a wonderful bootcamp training at work this week – we focused on objection handling and the purpose of discovery.

I stress the importance of discovery in my sales blog trainings because meaningful discovery provides a necessary foundation to nurture strong client relationships and power you through a sales cycle. Discovery should provide the logical, emotional, and logistical why to build a working roadmap from current state to an actionable future state.

Discovery goes beyond fact checking. Yes it is important to check off key success indicators and q & a like budget, authority etc…

But to drive a client to change – you need compelling events and value. You need to dive deep into discovery – not as an interrogation but a genuine curiosity and desire to listen and creatively understand the client’s motivation (perceived and unknown) and provide a meaningful solution.

I preface this post with this reminder, but we can get in the trap of using discovery just to check off boxes but you need quality engagement and trust building here. The questions – even as basic as ‘what do you sell’ and ‘what is your role’ need to tied into the holistic picture of current state to the best future state specfic to the clients needs.

Regardless of the sales methodology you use – Discovery is not simply in the ‘Why (Focus on How)’ or ‘Discover’ phase – is is a dialogue throughout as you work through the anticipated goals and action ideas to get your client on the path to PO (sale/close) and meaningful implementation.

In the coming week we’ll be diving in deeper to objection handling.

The most common object I have faced is not a competitor, but the ‘status quo’. Change is hard and the desire for change doesn’t always result in change.

As a business owner sometimes taking a chance on the unknown risks of change, even if the status quo is deeply broken – seems too great of a cost for to take on – and I’m not talking about the financial cost. The status quo is intrinsically tied to fear. I know because, like you, the status quo has often guided me.

When I was looking for a new job – I knew I needed a change, but I also recognized it was easier to a point emotionally to stick with a job I knew even if it was costing me time and money and I was frustrated. I had put in so much work – I knew the processes and why change when the next job could be just as frustrating or worse?

This same kind of emotion is tied to change with technology (or any potential sale involving transformation) – so when you are discovering the why – you also are preparing for the ‘why change’ objection. Lay the groundwork to build your case with questions that provide the answers to build the solution help the client needs.

Ask questions relevant to your customers needs – real, logical and emotional needs. What risks are they afraid of with change?

Premptively target this objection by asking with empathy.

  • I see how these bottlenecks are frustrating and the impact it is having on your business. I also understand change is difficult – what areas of your current status currently work and what risks are you concerned about from change.

Getting this out in front helps level set and you can combat the objection from a helpful position versus steering defense on offense.

‘Why Change?’

Be empathetic to their unique challenges and support what is working.

Don’t be afraid to hold their ‘fear of change’ accountable

This can be done when you validate your industry expertise with knowledge (facts and experience) as well as ‘social proof’

Social Proof? A social proof provides a case study or similar ‘proof’ based on a similar experience that resonates with the customer’s situation. This can also be tied to ‘storytelling’ and the TED method (Tell me, Explain to me, Describe to me)

Example: I understand your concern, my client was in the same situation and was afraid that switching to a new operating system would be too difficult to learn for the staff. They have little time and training is hard to schedule. However with our fast start program they were able to quickly onboard their talent and solve huge gaps in the business. The ROI was 3x the investment.

Why Change needs to tackle the emotional question of ‘Why think outside the status quo’ –

Remind clients: ‘don’t be risk averse, but be risk aware’

It is okay to hesitate on change – but with meaningful discovery you can tactic the reason behind the fear and hesitation and help the client see the true value of change NOW in their organization.

Bring clients fears back to earth – reminding them that transformation of processes doesn’t mean that everything is going to alter to an alternate reality that they cannot settle into. Quality change actually transitions businesses on a trajectory that after the initial bump they’ll say ‘why didn’t we do this all along?’

In my next blog we will circle back to ‘compelling events’ to answer ‘Why Now?’ ‘Why your solution?

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