You might have heard the maxim “people like to buy, but they don’t like being sold”. Nobody, of course, likes to be manipulated or pressured into buying anything.
But even without pushy sales people, there are plenty of reasons not to enjoy the buying process – especially when shopping for something you need rather than want.
The buying process takes us on a deep dive into the world of uncertainty. Are we evaluating things properly? Are we considering all the possible options? And once we make a choice and pull the trigger, will we actually get the satisfaction we’re hoping to find?
It is dissatisfaction – with costs, products, or services – that motivates buyers to buy. But switching suppliers can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming and sometimes the pain of making a change can feel a lot worse than the pain of staying with what we already have.
How can we as Sales Professionals help buyers cut through their hesitancy and inertia? What does science tell us about reducing buyers’ reluctance to engage with change?
A number of psychological experiments have shown that buyers who felt empowered were more willing to change brands or switch vendors.
In one study, participants’ sense of power was artificially heightened, after which researchers measured how engaged they were with the idea of switching brands. When the subjects were give the opportunity to change internet vendors or choose a different flavor of ice cream, the empowered group showed significantly more likelihood to change.
The more people feel a sense of self-efficacy and power, the more likely they’ll be willing to make changes. If we can elevate prospects’ feelings of power it may well prime them to welcome change rather than resist it. How might you do that?
You might simply tell a prospect: “We know you have the power to change agents. That’s why we want to offer three good reasons for switching to our agency.”
You can also be alert to different kinds of situational triggers that might make your prospects feel more (versus less) powerful.
Suppose you read that a local manufacturer has just received their ISO 9001 certification. No doubt that’s an empowering event for their company which may put their CFO in a confidently receptive state, and make it an especially good time to invite them to get a second opinion on their business insurance.
What other kinds of situations might have your sales prospects feeling empowered and therefore more receptive to change? We’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the comments section below.