We often hear about mindset, your mindset. We talk about it all the time. What’s the mindset of a successful sales person, a successful leader? Today, I want to do a shift here. I want to talk about the mindset of the people we’re selling to. Think about it. Sales, simply put, is all about change.
Your product or service is a CHANGE for your prospect. Now, Rosabeth Moss Kanter she’s a Harvard professor. She has put out a list that talks about ten threats that cause people to resist change. And I love it. I want to go over those 10 with you.
#1: Loss of control
So think about it. When your prospect looks at your product, maybe your products bring more speed and efficiency and they don’t need that manager anymore as much for the success they’ve been having because there’s more automation. Does that prospect feel they’re losing control when they bring your product or service in? Maybe. It is bringing change and they may not like that. More so, they may think the people around them will not like the change. Will that effect their job; specifically, their job security?
#2: Excessive Uncertainty
Maybe you have a new product the market hasn’t seen before. There’s not enough data. There are not enough references you can get or you still have. They just don’t know enough. Recently a client was looking at a new product of my client’s. It has been fully launched, yet the client wanted to talk to current users. Well, they would be the fifth one; thus no one to talk to. They simply said, “When it has been around more and others can share their experience, we will look at adding it then.” This product will truly save their HR team 5-7 hours per week of work. That is HUGE! But they have no desire to be one of the first. This person just joined the company as head of HR and she is not going to take a chance on looking bad. She will probably look great, but too new to know if the product works, and she is too new in her role to take the chance. There’s an old saying not to date myself. You can’t get fired for staying with IBM.
Now, for my software people that we’re talking to, that should resonate. Right? And what that means is I can go with someone the market knows, an IBM or Microsoft. I can’t get fired for that because we should go with that. Think about that. That’s excessive uncertainty if your company’s not considered one of them.
It’s kind of like I like to say we like to dance with the devil. I know a lot of people are that way. They might not even be in the best situation. But I know this devil. I can dance with it. So, does your product actually do what it’s supposed to? That’s the surprise you’re thinking of. Maybe the issues we have aren’t so bad as I think about it. I don’t know the surprises that come when I dance with you.
#4: Too much change at once
How often the sales cycle. Hey, Scott, I’ve heard a this hundreds of times, “I love your product. I love your service. I want to go with you but I’ve got too much going on right now to implement this. Why don’t we touch back in three months, six months, 12 months?” Too much change at once. In this world everyone is too busy and most just do not want to take on more work. Is changing to you giving me more work? Sometimes the work is just thinking about the change. Maybe the work of convincing others that they should look at this. Most people want less work, not more. Change + more work in most people’s eyes.
#5: Loss of Face
This kind of goes with the idea you can’t get fired for staying with IBM. Like replacing what I have and what we’ve been doing is actually going to be better, because if it’s not, then it might make me look bad because I’m the one who said we should go with this new product/service. There is RISK in change. Most people are risk adverse. That alone makes sales hard.
If I put my neck out on the line for a new company, it’s my neck. Go back to #2 and read the story about the new HR director. You can be the most secure individual, yet when you join a company there is insecurity in that. She felt that and said no to the new product no matter what the benefits were. Even the seasoned person you sell to still thinks, “How am I confident enough that you can do everything your product and service will do, that you are telling me in your sales and marketing?” All right, again, and you’ll hear this multiple times, the sale process that I talk about, you can’t get fired by going with IBM. Or, dance with the devil we all know and accept it, good or bad
#7: Extra Work
How often do we have here this, especially in the software world, is the new training getting up to speed? How much time is that going to take? It’s the proverbial I got to take one step back to take two steps forward. Some people feel they do NOT have the time for that, the extra work. And, yes, as a as a coach, I always talk to people. Well, you’re right. Maybe it’s a little extra work right now, but a year from now, you’re still doing the same thing. You’re not able to take those proverbial hats off your head, let someone else do it so that you can focus on more revenue producing things or have more time in your day to do other things. Be more proactive. That’s a big one.
#8: The Ripple Effect
How does this affect other people in my company, other departments? Maybe because this might be a great product or service for us, our Department of Finance department, but how does it affect sales? Will they get mad and cause problems for me in my role, my job security? That’s the ripple effect.
No.9: Past Resentments
This is kind of what we talk a lot about when we say “The anchors we all have that hold us back.” We all have anchors of previous sales experiences when the salesperson came in, promised the world, and then they never delivered on it. And that is something that can hold a lot of people back because again, that anchor of past resentment and if I do it again and it doesn’t do everything I told my peers it would do, my boss it would do, it goes back to number five. And that can be an issue for job security and career growth.
# 10: Real Danger
Sometimes the real danger is the fear of what I don’t know., FEAR: false expectations appearing real. Maybe this automates too much and we lose the human touch both in the office, with our team members or with our customers. Can we lose good employees and customers because of that? And again, that fear of what? I don’t know. This is a great thing. And customers, again, customers emotions have everything to do with how successful you are at closing the deal.
Now, if you can get good at learning how to recognize all 10 traits and which one or two, maybe all 10, that your prospect is feeling then you can help them get over it. And how do we help people get over it? We tell a great story, have a story, share a change story of other customers and clients. You should have two or three stories in your arsenal, kind of that arrow in your quiver that you can always pull out.
Based on which of the ten traits do you think emotionally, your client, your execution, your prospective clients are feeling that’s going to hold them back from saying yes?