Last Monday I posted about the overlooked opportunity in that segment of buyers know as Status Quo, pundits and sellers alike commiserating each other about the difficulty of selling to a ready group of buyers, vs. taking orders from self-declared buyers.
I’ll be the first to admit change is hard, especially for business buyers who have their handful, trying to make headway in a competitive market. Change is time consuming, a drain on resources, creates upheaval, usually expensive, and fraught with risk, for the organization and the individual at the centre of the decision. Moving the dial with these types of buyers requires more than a bit of effort, which is why change is also hard for sellers; it is much easier and safer to rationalize, and wait for a referral.
This is why there is a healthy and growing industry of sages ready to sell indisposed sellers every mean of just waiting at the edge of the forest, encouraging them to wait for something to come out to them, rather than entering the fray and winning business most sellers seem reluctant to peruse.
How much effort does it take? Well take a minute, step back and look around you and study what it takes for people to make critical changes in key their lives. Frighteningly, you discover that people don’t often make big changes, right changes, preferring to avoid and live with the consequences of the Status Quo. Even when they know that the new state is preferable to their existing one. The naive notion which many buy into that people will move to a better mouse trap has cost both sellers and buyers much time and money. You can build the better mouse trap, Trap 2.0, and people will rodent infestation will maybe look your way, then rationalize why they shouldn’t beat a path to your door.
Don’t believe me, how many people do you know who continue to smoke, even after their father expired due to lung cancer; how many people do you know who continue to biggie size it, despite the fact that they have to buy a new wardrobe every six months? People can change these with a effort if they wanted to, but it takes effort. How many times have you watched companies go to the brink or beyond because the devil they knew was a better alternative to the one they didn’t know?
The answer is not offering the “right” or “better” solution, or in becoming their friend. It is about penetrating the barriers the buyers have erected to protect their current state. Your only choice is to shock them, shock your way past their fortress of hope. Hope it will work out, hope it will last, and hope no one will notice. For the “be found crowd”, this is not an issue, the buyer has dismantled the barriers, and are ready to change, but for the Status Quo, intervention time.
Now I am not talking about clamping a couple of electrodes to your buyer’s temples (or elsewhere); but I am talking about asking hard and very direct questions, which at best could be called provocative, at worst a punch below their reality belt. One does not have to be rude, but one does have to shake things up, which means the ultimate relationship you have starts out a bit rough, but ends up being a solid one, built on being a reliable resource, not a cuddly friend.
There is plenty of writing and thinking out there about how to succeed with the Status Quo, mine, others who provide means and questions you can use. But the first step is for you as a seller to recognize and decide how you want to deliver value to your buyer. Once you decide that you can do more than just take orders from ready buyers, and win more business who may not think they need you or your offering, there are plenty of resources to help you, but as with other changes, you need to first admit that you are a card carrying member of the Status Quo.
What’s in Your Pipeline?