Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 

Five sources of sales resistance (and how to overcome them)

The three best books about influence I've found thus far were written by Dale Carnegie, Robert Cialdini and Guy Kawasaki.

The latest, Enchantment by Kawasaki, isn't about sales. But its lessons can help both sales and marketing professionals improve their ability to create and leverage the kind of environments that increase attraction, engagement and conversion - for yourself, your team and your products & services.

In the midst of his treatise on enchantment, Kawasaki addresses several obstacles to enchanting your customers, including reasons why many may resist your advances. These five sources of resistance, outlined below, apply directly to many of the objections sales professionals face on a regular basis.

I've included Guy's five reasons below (his words in italics) as well as a quick translation that applies directly to sales.

Inertia. Existing relationships, satisfaction with the status quo, laziness and busyness hinder change. (Sales Translation: You can't sell something if the cost of changing is greater than the cost of staying the same. If your prospect doesn't feel a need to change, it's far easier to keep doing what they're doing.)

Hesitation to reduce options. Making a decision results in the reduction of options, and the prospect of this outcome can scare people. (Sales Translation: If you can't differentiate yourself from competitors, or make a clear case how you can drive value with low to no risk, the prospect risks failure or worse. Fear will kill your sale.)

Fear of making a mistake. People may think that as long as they haven't made a choice, they haven't made a mistake. (Sales Translation: Most sales are lost to no decision. Buyers at all levels want to avoid taking risks, which often means maintaining the status quo. Show them the path to success, give them tools to quantify that to their peers and superiors, and the risk is mitigated.)

Lack of role models. If there are no role models, people don't have behavior to copy, so they hesitate to give your cause a try. (Sales Translation: Nobody wants to be the first to buy. Take advantage of your existing success stories by publishing testimonials, best practice guides, how-to videos and more. Show your prospects that they can easily emulate your best customers on their path to success.)

Your cause sucks! You or your cause may suck. Then people are right to be reluctant. (Sales Translation: If your product doesn't work, if your customers aren't happy, if you can't demonstrate an advantage over the competition, you have bigger problems than improving the sales process.)

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