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To Get Monstrous Results, Are Our Customers Prepared For Monstrous Change?

by David Brock on June 9th, 2010

I was having a conversation with  close friend this morning.  He was expressing frustration with a customer not moving forward on a particular deal.  At the height of his frustration, my friend said:  “We can have such a Monstrous Impact on the customer, why won’t they go through this  Change?”

As we drilled down, quickly we discovered the customer agreed the impact could be tremendous, but the change was also Monsterous.  Their reality was they were so focused on the day to day activities that regardless how compelling the benefit they could achieve, they chose to ignore it. 

The other day, I was involved in a similar conversation with another sales person.  She couldn’t understand, “we offer such superior value to what they are doing now, why won’t they change?”

It somehow seems illogical, if we can get a tremendous benefit for our companies, if we can manage the risks of the project, why not invest, even though it is a very big effort?   What’s keeping the customer from moving forward?

Customers, however, may see it differently.  It’s a natural reaction, customers equate Monstrous Impact with Monstrous Change!

The reality of our customers’ lives is very difficult.  Customers are time poor, they have too much to do, too few resources to do them.  Customers don’t have time to consider major initiatives or monstrous change.  To many, getting through the week, the month, the quarter is all they can see or do.  I don’t think I’m overstating it, by saying that most of our customers just want to get by.

Getting the “Big Things” done, regardless how compelling, is just not in the cards.  Stated another way, they are so busy fighting the alligators, they don’t have time to drain the swamp.

So how are we going to be successful?  We have to present our solutions in a context that fits their current reality.  We have to recognize they are fighting to survive.  We have to simplify, eliminate the complexity.  We have to provide leadership in showing a series of  little steps they can take to get Monstrous Returns.  Most importantly, we have to be there helping them take these little steps, assuring their success and moving them on to the next little step.

Our path to sucess is meeting the customers in their reality and showing them the little steps that can produce Monsterous Results!  Until we do that, we are spinning our wheels and frustrating the customer.

As a side note, there are two outstanding books that give great advice on dealing with this issue.  The first is Jill Konrath’s Snap Selling.  The second is Tom Peter The Little Big Things.  Both are valuable and insightful reads.

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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7 Comments
  1. David:

    Well stated on so many levels!

    Passing this along to my network.

    With respect and appreciation,
    Paul Castain

  2. Great post David!

    I think many sales people forget how challenging it is for companies to implement new changes into their business.

    I particularly like your suggestion of helping your clients take little steps. If you can effectively demonstrate how to achieve this with a new prospect or existing customer, you stand a much better chance of moving the sales process forward.

    Keep up the great work!

    Kelley

    • Paul and Kelley, thanks for your comments. I think we underemphasize the aspects of change management in sales and the role of the sales professional in helping customers manage change. Appreciate your comments and support. Regards, Dave

  3. I’m going to offer a different viewpoint.

    The above problems occur because of the sales model itself. In fact, sales creates the problems.

    Sales is a needs assessment/solution placement model, and overlooks the entire range of behind-the-scenes issues that buyers must address privately before they can choose a solution. Indeed, we can never be there for the fight between the two department heads, or the old vendor showing up. And so we wait.

    But it’s very very possible to help a buyer navigate through all of the decision issues they need to address. But not with the sales model. Buying Facilitation(R) is NOT sales, but a sequenced decision making process in which the seller acts as a neutral navigator — well outside of the need/solution continuum. It’s a wholly, wholly different skill set. And can easily be incorporated into the sales model – to be used BEFORE sellers start selling.

    When we get the sorts of responses you talk about, there is something going on behind-the-scenes that we can’t be privy to (we’re not part of the client’s system after all), but when we start with decision facilitation and change management as the first skill before selling, the buyer has a complete understanding, total buy-in, and the ability to manage the change a new solution will create, ALL prior to selling. And the sales time will be cut down by 7/8th. In other words, you can close sales – without the problems above – in one eighth the time.

    I know this might sound odd, and impossible (and with just sales it is), so I offer folks the suggestion of reading my newest book Dirty Little Secrets.

    sd

    • Sharon Drew, thanks for the comment. I tend to agree with your views. Without meaning to get into a semantic discussion, I tend to view the function of the sales professional broadly. They need to be facilitating the buying process. Your Buyer Facilitation (R) model is a powerful means by which sales people can enhance their relationship with the customer and create value as the customer struggles with their “job,” managing change, etc.

      I’m a big fan of your book and would put Dirty Little Secrets on the must read list for any sales professional. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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