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Is Your Customer’s Relationship with Change the Reason You’re Missing Your Sales Goals?

Everyone has a relationship with change that impacts them personally and professionally.

You’ve heard saying such as:

People would rather sit in pain than move toward uncertainty.

People will move faster away from pain than they will towards gain.

Many of the objections you hear from prospective customers stem from fear.

Understanding your prospect’s relationship to change can significantly help you help them throughout their buying process.

Why is this an important topic for people who sell in particular?


There is a similar concept that certain types of physicians become desensitized as a way to protect themselves from the trauma they are exposed to daily.

In a lesser sense, people who sell can also become desensitized to emotions their customers feel.

Why? The nature of sales requires you to become resilient after being rejected for the 100th time this week, dealing with rude prospects who talk down to you, experiment and lead with new ideas, get in front of C-level executives, fail regularly and sometimes showcase your not-so-great performance publicly within your company.

This callousness creates some really strong sales skills but can also put you in a mindset of forgetting that not everyone has built up this skin.

Empathy is vital to any sales position.

We all come with our own limiting stories and blocks. Understanding your prospects’ relationship with change as well as their company’s relationship with change can help with your sale.

It’s the reason most customers won’t make a change until they are in the worst kind of pain–hemorrhaging money, completely underwater, losing market share or numbers are down.

If they are reaching out and spending 30-60 minutes with you, things are painful. But fear can still prevent them from doing something really helpful for themselves or their company.

How does fear of change show up for your prospective customer?

What can often happen during or after your conversation is the fear starts to set in showing up in different ways.

The customer who is always overwhelmed, but adding new projects to their already packed schedule
The customer who is terrified of failure
The customer who keeps involving people unnecessarily into the decision making process
The customer who says that there are detrimental company problems, but keeps pushing off making a change with no real reason why
The customer who has a fear of success
The customer who has pushed back their decision 3 times because they don’t have all of the information they need
We could go on and on. It’s important to look for signs–pay attention to what the customer is saying or NOT saying, and their interactions following.

What’s at stake for the prospective customer to make the change?

There is always something to be won or lost.

Is it a hit to their Ego? Because they’ve tried to fix this or made a change twice already and nothing has worked yet.
Is it being seen and acknowledged by leadership? Because you are asking someone who does not want to be acknowledged to make a company-wide change?
Is it social fear? Because they are involving a lot of people in the decision making and rollout who will know if this doesn’t work.
Is it continuing to be overwhelmed? Because they feel so underwater now, how can they take on another thing?
Is it that they are an inexperienced buyer? Because no one likes feeling like they were taken advantage of during a sales process.
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What can you do to mitigate the obstacle of fear?

We are all constantly learning from our experiences and your customers are no different. Don’t be afraid to ask questions with the intention of understanding how you can best support your customers in reaching their goals.

What was the last change you lead at the company?
What was the last change the company made that affected your department?
What about the change went well internally?
What about the change didn’t go so well internally?
What did the team like most about working with the vendor, what would they change?
How was the decision made?
What made you decide to do this type of work?
What made you decide to work at X company?
What projects are you focused on right now?
Constantly stay curious about your prospect and their company along the way.

What about this helps your customers?

Along with helping you understand how to navigate this relationship, there is also a huge value you are providing your prospective customers.

It helps them to think about the change they are interested in making.
It helps them think about who should be involved in the decision making.
It helps them recognize the internal objections that can come up and how to address them.
It helps them help as many people as possible with your solution.
It helps them gain supporters internally if they need it.
It helps them consult experienced buyers.
It helps them gain confidence as a problem-solver, decision-maker and buyer.
These will mitigate risks for your prospective customer, allow you to support them through their objections and coach them on how to position the value to move to the next steps.

Think of a time when you were a buyer and what you would want from the sales professional on the other end. It makes a big difference if they understand where you are, what you are going through and where you want to be, as well as beliefs that could be blocking your success. If you can do that for your prospective customers, you will build the credibility and rapport that’s vital to any successful partnership.

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