change1_origThat was a question asked of me recently during one of my sessions of The Action Suite. “Maybe they shouldn’t.” was my reply.  Total silence was the reaction.

You cannot ‘get’ anyone to switch to your product or service. Studies have shown that once customers feel that they are being pushed, their emotions will take over, and they will resist with more vigor even if it means that if they did make the switch, they would be better off.

The reason that there are successful professionals that get customers to switch is that they have grasped the concept that in order to have the switch happen, they must be looked on as a trusted service provider and product adviser to the customer. Change is not easy, but more importantly, change for the sake of change can be very expensive to the customer.

Before you propose the notion of a switch to a customer that is working with another company/individual, as a professional and trusted adviser, you must have the answers to the questions that you know will be in the customers’ mind. They may not ask them, but that does not mean that you don’t answer them anyway. Questions such as:

•    Why should the customer even consider the change? This would answer the “what is in it for them”, and if the only factor is that you are cheaper, that is not enough. There has to be other tangible reasons for the change.

•    Why had the customer not changed as of yet? This would answer the scope of knowledge by the customer as to the alternatives that they were not aware of. There may also be a risk component that the customer is not prepared to take.

•    What is the investment if they switch? This is very important to the customer as they would like to understand and know if there are transition costs as in changing computer programs or tweaking some of their internal processes to name just two.

•    What level of training is involved in switching? This could be as simple as doing a little product knowledge training for an hour.  It could also be a full day, or longer, workshop. The customer has to have faith in you that the training is going to happen and more importantly that you are there for the ‘long time’ and that this is not just simply a ‘one time’ sale for you.

•    What are the customers end goals? Either speeding up the time frame for reaching it or, being able to show them how it will be easier to reach by switching will make the switch a foregone conclusion.

Knowing the answers to the above, as well as others and further, by bringing them up even when the customer does not do it, takes you from that pushy sales person to that of trusted professional advisor.

Remember how hard it was for you to make that last change yourself? Why would you think it would be any easier for the customer that you want to change?

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