Selling change – Part One
Understanding the process of change is vital in selling.
When a potential customer is considering a solution on offer from the sales person, it is almost inconceivable not to think that your contact is going through a change process. In business-to-business selling most new solutions require the acceptance of change.
With that in mind, it would be wise to consider the change process. Now the challenge is that the author may have a few decades experience as a salesman but zilch experience or qualifications as a psychologist. Thus this Post looks at a salesman’s understanding of what appears to take place.
A quick web search on the psychology of change will result in highly technical descriptions with many terms that defy common understanding. For example:
Change is a complex psychological process. Consider Frederick Perl’s Change Theory founded in Gestalt psychotherapy techniques. Arnold Beisser, M.D., author of “Paradoxical Theory of Change” explains. “The paradox of change is that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not.” Change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change him, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what he is—to be fully invested in his current positions. By rejecting the role of change agent, we make meaningful and orderly change possible.
Ouch! Enough to give one a headache!
For what it is worth, this rather more simple approach, taught by IBM during a basic sales course in 1970, seems sufficient for the purpose of this essay.
Who are you? Who am I?
A product of our genetics and our environmental exposure
(Genetics + Environment)
How we see ourselves built up from our fears & beliefs
(Fears – Beliefs = Self-model)
A range of behaviours covering the span of our daily experiences
Those behaviours protecting our self-interest
So change at a personal level is difficult because it entails constructing a different view of ourselves, a revised self-model.
Luckily, change in a business environment is not so challenging because the people involved do not, normally, have so much of their self-interest invested in keeping business processes unchanged.
Let’s compare the process of change at a personal level to a business level.
While there appear to be parallels, there is no comparison in how difficult the right hand process is to the left-hand one!
Part Two will be continued tomorrow. Comments always welcome.
By Paul Handover