When we’re selling something that people already have, whether it’s insurance or anything else, we’re competing against their basic instinct to stick with the comfortable and familiar — the status quo.
The status quo is the domain of “The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know.” It’s the place of least resistance where we can relax and not have to think about change and any uncertainty that comes with it.
It’s right smack in the center of our personal comfort zone. It’s safe, and secure. And generally nothing unexpected happens there.
To magnetize buyers away from the unruffled comfort of the status quo – in this case, their current insurance agent — we have to inspire them to want to make a change. And there are basically two ways to do that:
Convince them that it’s going to be better after they make that change, and show them that it’s not as good right now as they think it is. If we can succeed on both fronts, we’ve won that battle.
In the first instance we can offer more value by way of better products, improved services, and reduced cost.
In the second, we can show them that they don’t have optimal coverage, they’re missing out on discount options, their agent isn’t delivering some useful services — basically they’re not getting the most value for their money.
The tricky thing about the status quo is that you’re not only challenging an incumbent and other competitors, you’re also competing against complacency.
This might bring to mind the famous TV ad from 1984 that launched the new Macintosh computer with images of drone like workers suddenly liberated from the oppressive monotony of the status quo by a young, sledgehammer-wielding heroine arriving at the dramatic climax to destroy Big Brother’s hypnotic video image.
The inertia of a complacent buyer is a formidable opponent, one you can’t beat with facts and well-reasoned arguments alone. You first have to evoke the pain of discontentment with open-ended questions that disrupt their feeling of security and illuminate the advantages of your value proposition.
On a prospecting call or in a face-to-face sales meeting those questions are most effective when you ask them in a flat, matter-of-fact manner that doesn’t make the buyer feel like you’re “working” them.
Once you’ve established some pain around a prospect’s status quo situation, you can make your point as dramatically as you’d like. But leave the sledgehammer behind.
What’s your approach to overcoming the complacency of the status quo and prying sales prospects away from their comfort zone?