Ray Collis

How Well Are You Selling Change?

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The Customer’s Internal Tug-of-War’

Have you ever noticed that part of the customer may be systematically working against the very goal that they want to achieve?

There is often a tug of war between the old and new, as people wrestle with change. The customer may be saying one thing, but doing something else. He, or she appears unable to act on their commitments, or to deliver the change required.

Will your customer face a tug-of-war between the old and the new?

To the detached outside observer – such as the salesperson – this ‘tug-of-war’ between what the customer says he or she wants and how they behave is frustrating, even baffling.


Glued To Existing Attitudes & Beliefs

In exasperation the sales person may think the customer weak-willed, or even dumb. But there is a perfectly reasonable psychological basis for what is happening.

Although they run counter to the manager’s stated desires, or goals, the customer’s conflicting behavior and underlying beliefs serve a valuable purpose.

The customer’s existing attitudes and beliefs have served him, or her well, at least psychologically speaking. They serve to retain intact the customer’s ego, self-concept and identity. They may have an important role in protecting against unspoken risks, fears and vulnerabilities.

Do you get unnecessarily frustrated by the customers apparent indecision, or inability to act?

Scientists tell us that there is is an in-built desire to ensure consistency with our existing attitudes and beliefs.  As a result they can act as a powerful in-built change prevention mechanism.

Again, it is not that we don’t want to change. However we may be poised to systematically produce the opposing results. That explains why dieters typically end up 107% of their pre-diet weight (Kegan and Laskow-Lahey.

OK so change is not easy! However the seller is not helpless. Next we will examine a number of strategies the salesperson can employ to empower the customer to change and thereby advance the sale.

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