Once I realized that everything I do as a B2B Sales guy is to facilitate change, my sales success accelerated. If I didn’t master the art of change, I would have a difficult time becoming successful in the world of selling. Here is what you must understand as a sales person – Change is Everything.
When I have mentioned this topic to some of my sales clients, I get all kinds of responses – from agreeing openly to rolling their eyes in disbelief to getting a quizzical look on their face. It is not a topic that has been discussed often in sales training or by their sales managers. Yet, why not? Okay, for you doubting Thomas’ out there – read on and you will learn the everything you do in selling is linked to change.First, a new customer will become a new customer only after they change from the competitor to you. And how often are they willing to do this action step just because you walked in the door? Not very often. You had to take them though a sales process that created dissatisfaction with their current situation. Then you had to show them a new way of doing things – from placing an order, to making financial arrangements, to coordinating with receiving and possibly operations or manufacturing groups.
Second, in complex buying situations where the customer has never used what you are offering them – you have to get them to accept total change in THEIR processes. Believe me, selling something that has never been purchased by a company is the hardest or most difficult sale you will make. The customer has no track record or in some cases – no idea – how your solution will work. Therefore, you must change their mindset about its usability and functionality.
Third, in simpler arenas such as getting a customer to consolidate their purchasing to a single source – you – is getting change to happen. You are dealing with embedded habits and mindsets or beliefs as to how things should work. To break through to the other side takes skills in managing change.
Finally, one of the most difficult things for a sales person to master regarding change is yourself! That’s right, you my friend, have certain beliefs and habits that have been ingrained in your selling agenda for years. (Sorry to the newbies that are reading this – your issue is to keep learning and remain flexible in your approach) The biggest issue I have when working with a sales team is unlearning bad habits. A sales person has to remain open to continuous learning and build a huge bank of alternative methods to win in today’s environment. Remember, times have changed and you must be prepared to modify your approach to win more business.
The above items are just some of the bigger change issues you must deal with today. There are several additional areas of change – such as changing industry standards, new technology, changing customer requirements to working with suppliers, changing leaders and changing strategies with both your company and customers.
Become an agent of change and your sales results will soar.