The Inward Path Towards Change (and How it Relates to Sales)

In my recent conversations with clients, family and friends, I’ve noticed an interesting trend that has emerged as we’ve been living and working through this pandemic.

We’re slowing down.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Because the speed at which we operate can make us oblivious to what is actually happening within ourselves, our teams, and even our families. It means we often miss the small things in life.

When we slow down, look inward and evaluate our lives, we can gain clarity, become more conscious and intentional, and still attract the things we want. At the same time, what no longer serves us can feel much easier to let go of, which, in turn, frees up valuable mental space for expansion and growth.

However, letting go can be scary. We cling to the people, processes and practices that are familiar to us as they provide safety and comfort. But they also keep us rooted in our current state. If we are truly seeking new beginnings, improvement and change in our health, our business or our relationships, we need to do something different.

How the prospect’s journey is also changing

If you can relate to the sweeping emotional changes above – and I suspect you do – you can bring this perspective to how you deal with your prospects.

And, as always, you need to walk in your prospect’s shoes in order to effectively engage them in your sales process.

Change is the common denominator. Change is also what we want them to do.

For example, you want your prospect to stop using someone else’s product and replace it with yours, change to a different supplier, add new line items, and integrate with new systems.

So where does that journey begin? First you need to find out the following.

  1. Do they feel they have a problem in the first place, and that there is a better way, they just haven’t found it yet?
  2. Will your solution add more value than a small, incremental move in the needle?
  3. Will you produce sufficient results to move through the resistance to change the curve?

Is the pain of staying the same greater than the pain of change?

This statement has guided me throughout my sales career. The sales process is made up of many micro commitments all needed to get to the final commitment of “asking for the business”. However, the commitment to change is often overlooked and it is the most important one in my option.

I have worked with companies who were offering their hardware for free with an extended contract or other creative options and their prospects were not interested. It’s Free! Why are they not biting?

When you show someone a brand-new shiny item that will replace their long-standing existing item with no pathway as to how they will get from one to the other, it’s no wonder your pitch falls flat. They can’t see the full picture, the future vision of where they will end up. They don’t know how to get there alone, so they choose the safer option of staying put. Simply said: The status quo wins, even when competing with a no-cost solution.

Failing to gain the commitment to change

What happened here? Our job as sales professionals is to get our clients to realize their current product/ system is not operating as strongly, efficiently, effectively as they once thought. We need to take that to a deeper leve, and go where most reps fail to go…. Impact.

What is the impact of this? On other systems? Your potential to integrate? What are the financial implications? What about scalability? Are the prospect’s workflows restricted? You get the idea. When you can shine a “tangible” light on where there are gaps are in their current solution, you’ll have a much better chance of getting them to come to the realization there is a better way.

3 steps to helping the prospect change

1. Start by building trust: Your actions support the development of trust. Saying you’re trustworthy does nothing. Show them. Demonstrate your integrity, level of empathy for what they are going through, the challenges they’re facing and how it’s affecting their staff and the bottom line.

2. Ask thought-provoking questions: When you do this, you can expose an issue / area of concern with their process, business, company, industry that they are unaware of. This is how you educate the prospect – it’s how you “show up” as a Trusted Advisor. What you’re really doing is selling the problem. You’re helping the potential customer realize an opportunity to improve and “fix” their challenges.

3. Be a collaborative guide: Think of yourself as an expert tour guide who will lead your clients through the change process. Offer up insights, trends, and best practices but invite them into the discussion by soliciting their feedback. Show them where the journey starts and ends. When you co-create what the future looks like, they’ll see that you are genuinely interested in helping them solve their problem. Added value: This continues building trust!

The sales journey is similar to the life journey. It has its own progression and evolution. And change is the one constant. It forces us to look inward. To adapt to current circumstances and change our plans accordingly.

When you approach your prospect in a trusting, empathetic and collaborative way, you help show them what their future could look like – a future full of possibility.

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

Ready to get started?

We encourage you to take the first step towards change.
There are so many areas of business out of our control, yet we continue to invest in them and hope for a different outcome. What about your people? You have control over them and their development pathway. The ability to build a positive learning culture, improve their level of confidence and increase bottom line revenue.
Invest in them. Hone their sales skills to  attract your most ideal clients, gain the required commitments through  discovery, engage authentically  and create an enjoyable repeatable experience for your clients.
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