Selling Change Is Hard: Status Quo Bias Locks Change In A Prison Of No Decision

 

The value to buy your product is overwhelming and yet the customer decides not to buy. At times like these, it’s important to remember that customers are not rational decision making machines. They are human beings with built in cognitive biases that make them highly resistant to change. The status quo and optimism biases, for example, prevent customers from making the sensible decision to buy your product. To sell change, salespeople must not only climb a mountain of fear to get past the status quo bias, but they must also cross a valley of indifference to overcome the optimism bias. This is why selling change is so difficult.

Until salespeople improve at opening the gap with “WHY CHANGE,” they will struggle to close the gap with “WHY US.” Without a compelling reason to change, customers will stick with the status quo and “no decision” will continue to be your biggest competitor. To help customers buy, salespeople need Change Stories and Questions so that they can inspire customers to step into growth instead of back into safety.

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Insight StorySelling- Lowest Risk & Best Way To Deliver Insight

Insight Selling Paper InciteImagine if your salespeople could shine a light of insight on today’s empowered customers so that they no longer underestimate the cost of the status quo and the benefits of change.

Your salespeople would no longer have to chase these empowered buyers down the road of commoditization and discounting, because they would know how to sell value and differentiate your product.

As your customers discovered the unique value of your product on their own terms, your company would achieve higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and higher margins.

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Insight Selling- Challenger Sale or Fail?

Challenger Sale PlainHow do you deliver insight to your customers so that it challenges the status quo without challenging the customer?

Well, when you get sick, do you ever go onto WebMD before you visit the Doctor? So when you show up at the doctor’s office, all you want him to do is to write you a prescription for what you feel you need? And if the market for buying prescription medicine was truly competitive, wouldn’t you also be looking for a better price?

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CEO of SAP recruits a Chief Storyteller- why?

SAPWhen the world’s largest business software company hires a Chief Storyteller, its news, because it’s a first for the industry.

And when the decision was made by SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott, it becomes a great story.

  • Why, for instance, did Bill feel that the role of Chief Storyteller was so important that he personally recruited Julie Roehm 18-months ago for the role?
  • Why did he hire a B2C candidate for a B2B role?
  • And with all of Bill’s experience (Sales Xerox, President Gartner, Exec VP of WW Sales & Operations Siebel, and CEO SAP), what insights can we gain from his decision?

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Salesman conquers his fear of rejection with the latest tools

No FearJoel needed new customers. But he found that he wasn’t 100% committed when he picked-up the phone, because his fear of rejection made him apprehensive. It felt like he had one foot on gas, and the other on the brake. And because customers sensed that Joel wasn’t completely sold, they weren’t interested in what he was selling, because no one wants to be rescued by a drowning man.

So Joel’s turned to his VP of Sales for advice, but he didn’t find being told to ‘just suck it up and make the calls’ particularly helpful.

Fortunately Joel loved to read, and he was shocked to discover that his fear of calling new clients was due to an overactive instinct of survival.

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Pipeline up 3X largely due to StorySelling.

MicrosoftOne of Microsoft’s largest partners “…increased their pipeline by exactly 3-times in under 18-months largely due to StorySelling.

Two years ago Gord Smith, a Partner at Ideaca (one of Microsoft’s largest partner in Canada), hired a bunch of new salespeople to hunt for new business, because he knew the partners were too busy servicing clients (click for video).

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“You’re in sales, you’re too stupid to understand.”

ArrogantWhen I asked for more details on how a customer could use our product, Tim, our Managing Director, joked: “Michael, you’re in sales, you’re too stupid to understand.” But the sad thing was that this was what he, and his delivery team really believed. And when I wanted customer stories, I only got the watered down versions from marketing. Because marketing didn’t trust sales to properly share these stories with customers, they had the executive team sand off the rough corners that made the stories interesting- to the point that they were useless. So there I was standing outside the walls of customer knowledge, trying to prepare for a potential customer meeting with the few scraps of information management decided to throw down to sales.

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Selling blind- turn the lights on with customer knowledge story coaching

Salespeople are selling blind, because they are not being coached on customer knowledge. Without an accurate customer map, they can’t link their capabilities to their customer’s pain points. This results in lost sales, because customers are left to try to figure out why it makes sense for them to buy, or even worse, why they should care.

We’ll show you how simple it is to find, and then fill customer knowledge gaps. And your sales team will do it in as little as 10-minutes a week.

Simply have one of your salespeople share a relevant customer 2-min. story each week, and then have their peers provide feed-back.

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One customer story sells, and another doesn’t. Why?

By recognizing the difference between a customer story that “Sells” vs. a story that “Doesn’t Sell,” you can see for yourself how your own customer stories can be changed so that they inspire prospective customers to buy, instead of providing them with no reason to change.

The mistakes made in the story that “Doesn’t Sell” are common. Because the effects of not having the Seller’s capabilities are abstract, the story doesn’t make the Buyer want to change, because the risks don’t feel real.

Without making the risks of not having the Sellers capabilities feel more real than the risk of change, the Buyer will stick with the status quo.

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Do poor sales figures alone tell the whole story about who to fire?

The results are in, and it’s time to fire 15% of your sales team. But do the numbers tell the whole story?
You know, for example, that a rep’s sales can also be negatively influenced by: a) a competitor in the rep’s territory who is a star salesperson; b) a string of bad luck that may turn around, and; c) some salespeople take a little longer to turn around.

You also know that buyers today buy differently, so instead of just letting go of the poor performers, wouldn’t it be better to go through your sales team to see who is capable of prospering in this new sales environment, and who isn’t?

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32% of salespeople won’t achieve quota in 2012, but will a new sales methodology really help?

32% of salespeople won’t achieve quota in 2012, according to a survey of 197-B2B technology companies in 2012 (source: The Bridge Group).

But will another sales process or sales methodology really help?

Most companies have tried 2-3 of them, but have they helped salespeople sell more? A sales methodology or process may provide better reports to management, and improve the sale team’s efficiency; but right now, do you really need to better forecast poor sales, or does your sales team really need to be more efficient at doing the wrong things?

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Provocative stories kill the status quo, and inspire customers to buy.

Inspired to buy with stories that sell: Through the power of story, your salespeople will not only bypass the wall that protects customers from change, but also inspire them to buy.

The sales challenge: You may be surprised to hear that your biggest competitor isn’t another company, it’s the customer deciding to do nothing. Customers will not act, as long as the status quo is supported by:

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How to sell without being a jerk so that you can take your foot off the brake and hit quota.

According to Sales Benchmark Index, only 57% of salespeople achieved quota in 2011.

Why? Did they lack motivation or a sense of urgency? Well, according to a recent study, only 1 in 7 seriously at risk heart patients were able to follow through and make the “change or die” lifestyle changes- diet, exercise, and no-smoking. That’s right, only 1 in 7.

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McKinsey Study: Solution Selling… is the pain worth the gain?

Solutions selling has been all the rage over the last 5 to 10 years, yet 75 percent of the companies that attempt to offer solutions fail to return the cost of their investment.” (Source: ‘Solution Selling: Is the pain worth the gain’ McKinsey Study).

Even the author and founder of Solution Selling & CustomerCentric Selling, Mike Bosworth, agrees.

“The number one complaint I heard from sales managers was that the bottom 80 percent of their salespeople quit trying to use the methodology within 10 days of the workshop.” (‘Mike’s Ah-Ha moment’ Sept. 2011).

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“Has Sales Training or Marketing helped your Salespeople Sell Value and Differentiate your offering?”

Why hasn’t Sales Training or Marketing helped your company tell a better story and then trained your Salespeople how to deliver it?

Because it’s too customized for the big Sales Training companies and it’s too tactical for Marketing. For example, up to 90% of marketing material created for sales support goes unused by the field” (source: American Marketing Association).

Isn’t it time for a new approach?

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Stories help overwhelmed Buyers to overthrow the status quo, and buy.

With 150 e-mails a day, 30 voice-mails and 60-80-hour work weeks thanks to corporate reorganizations, buyers are so busy today that in order to survive they have learned that they can’t do it all. Consequently, buyers now often stick with the status quo—even when it hurts the company.

Logic Doesn’t Help

Product Pitches, Value Propositions and Logical Arguments do not convince a buyer in denial to change.

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VP of Sales Story: Board wants sales quick fix or else.

Spray & Pray

Here’s a story about Paul, a VP of Sales at Software Inc., who has unfortunately inherited a sale cycle that drags on forever. That’s when deals happen. But most of the time, his team loses to their biggest competitor, the customer sticking with the status quo.

The Board at the Software Inc. hopes that he’ll fix things fast, but if he doesn’t, he’s toast.

But Sales Training and Marketing wasn’t going to save him. Continue reading…

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