Water Well Journal

November 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/740475

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Page 62 of 90

A conversation or meeting with a prospect goes well. He is impressed by the power and versatility of your product. He likes the idea of low or no maintenance. He doesn't have any major objections about the price or the terms. You call back—and to your surprise—you lose the deal. But not to another vendor. To a different type of competitor! In fact, it's likely one of the biggest competitors you face today: the "do nothing" option. Face it, people and organizations are becoming more risk adverse, choices more plentiful, and solutions more complex. Not taking any action or staying with the status quo—no mat- ter how flawed that may be—is a choice that more and more people are making. In some industries, the percentage of customers who choose the "do nothing" option account for more than 80% of lost sales. Salespeople who don't recognize the powerful draw the status quo exerts and don't develop a plan for addressing it are often caught off guard. That's because they've built their entire presentation around the question of "Why buy from us?" instead of the more accurate "Why change?" Change is difficult for many people. In fact, Amazon lists 205,000 books just on the topic of change. Change can bring up fear, risk, uncertainty, time, effort, and money. It's enough to make you want to close your eyes and think of something else—which as a matter of fact is what many prospects end up doing. As a salesperson, if you're not first and foremost address- ing what's really keeping your prospective customer from making a change, you too may as well have your eyes closed. Pointing out your solution's superiority and parading out all your fantastic features won't make a lick of difference unless you address the elephant in the room. The fear of change. Here are some tips for identifying that fear and addressing it in a way that will help your prospect confidently cross the bridge from where they are today to where they can be tomor- row. These are three powerful ways to sell against the idea of keeping things the way they are—the status quo. 1. Identify the fear behind change. Digging into what may be keeping your customer from changing is critical to prepare for this challenge. It may be they dread the added effort required to make a change. Maybe it's the investment in time, money, or resources the customer fears they will need to make. Could it be the fear of the unknown or even the belief their current solution is "not really all that bad"? Identifying what the true underlying belief or fear is for your prospect is a necessary first step to avoid building your presentation on a faulty foundation that wastes every- one's time—including yours. 2. Address the impact of doing nothing. The cost of doing nothing is rarely "nothing." Once you add in maintenance and repairs, time and opportunity costs, additional personnel and expensive work-arounds, the cost of the status quo can quickly start to add up. For example, what is the impact of an equipment failure in the field or waiting two weeks for a part? Explore the real and potential impact of the status quo before your sales call or meeting. Research proves people are much more willing to take a risk to avoid pain than to embrace an opportunity. If you can, ask your customer to help you identify and put some numbers around their hesitation or discomfort. If that's not possible, use industry standards or studies. Quantifying the costs of doing nothing can be an effective means of demonstrating the true cost of staying the course. 3. Engage the emotional center of the brain. If someone has a fear of heights, showing them graph after graph of the low percentage rate of height-related accidents is likely to have little impact on their behavior. That's because fears are ruled by the emotional center of the brain, not the logical. If fear is at the basis of your prospect's decision, you need to take this emotional component into account. One of the most powerful tools you can use to appeal to emo- tions is an illustration, an example, a story. Not just any story, but a story highlighting the pain of putting off a JULIE HANSEN ACT LIKE A SALES PRO SELLING AGAINST THE "DO NOTHING" OPTION You have to be prepared for the question: "Why change?" A story driving home the emotional component of change is often more effective at shifting someone's perspective than the most solid, fact-driven argument. waterwelljournal.com 58 November 2016 WWJ

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