I wonder why we never talk much about change and change management–except when it is happening to us. When it happens to us, we usually are very uncomfortable and resist it.
But at its core, isn’t sales really about change for our customers? As sales professionals we are facilitating our customers in changing what they do or how they operate. We are asking them to abandon what they are currently doing, convincing them to do something differently–hopefully to make them better or to allow them to address new opportunities.
As part of our sales process, how often do we talk to customers about change? Just as we are uncomfortable with change and tend to resist it, our customers face the same fears and uncertainty. It’s natural for people to react this way. Yet, instead of talking to customers about change, helping them understand and embrace it, we focus on our products, features, functions, and benefits. We leave it to our customers to deal with the C-word. Typically, we leave them alone to struggle with all the issues that change brings.
What would happen if we started focusing much of what we do when we sell on directly addressing concerns about change and change management? What if we started to understand why people resist change and worked to remove the fears and barriers? What if we helped them understand the value of changing? What if we put them at the center of identifying changes that should be made and in developing the plan for implementing change? What if instead of becoming victims of change, they become agents of change?
When people understand the reasons for change, when they understand the path to success in implementing change, when they are a part of making the critical decisions about change, their fear and resistance tend to disappear, replaced with enthusiasm and a clear vision of something that is making them and their organizations better and grow.
Sales professionals are agents of change. But we don’t talk about it. We aren’t trained in it. We’re pretty bad about helping our customers manage it. Maybe all this should change.