In Change

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” – Unknown

We talk a lot in this space about change & how hard it is for us to change, both individually and organizationally. I had an interesting conversation recently about a different aspect of change – how do you get others to change?

More specifically, how do you convince a potential customer to choose you when they already have an existing relationship with a vendor/supplier/provider? If you’ve ever been involved in sales or marketing, even at a superficial level, you’ve learned that it can be incredibly difficult for people to make that change. They can agree that you provide more value, that your product is better, that your product is cheaper, whatever it is they care about – and yet they won’t switch.

Our conversation went a hundred different places, but here were our 2 conclusions:

First, regardless of product or service comparisons, the actual change itself requires work. If I switch to you, then I have to do something (or at least I perceive I do). So make it as easy as possible. Think about all the things new customers would have to do to switch to you – and then eliminate as many of them as possible. What can’t be eliminated, make it as simple and non-time consuming as you can. Sometimes the reasons people give for not selecting you are just easy excuses. Take the easy excuses away. They still may not switch, but at least they’ll have to give you an honest reason why.

Second, at some point, let it go. At any given time only 10% of the people are in buying mode. If you make it easy, and they still won’t do it, stop spending so much time on them. Keep them in your contact program – someday they’ll be in that 10% and then you have a chance. But quit beating your head against a wall. In the world we live in today the entire planet is your potential customer. Somewhere in the 7.3 billion people on earth are people who are ready for you right now. Go spend time with them.

Changing ourselves is hard. Changing others is just as hard. Spend your time wisely.

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