Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is convincing another person to change their mind, decision or behavior. While it’s fashionable to down tread the act of selling or marketing as a form of manipulation, the reality is a lot of things get done when someone changes their mind. Don’t worry this will not be a soap box post preaching how the sales & marketing profession is unfairly treated, however I do want to shed light on why “Getting People to Change Course” is a superior and should be valued skill. I’ve spoken and written a lot lately on the subject of the “Customer” and how with the advances of technology and access to information changing their behavior is nearly impossible. This is why companies like APPLE, Starbucks and Google have to be admired on how they’ve been able to change how we look at technology….and coffee. However, it took APPLE years as it got its clock cleaned in the early 80’s by Microsoft before building a brand that has quite frankly changed culture globally. That’s the dilemma however that changing behavior takes time and stamina, both of which are sometimes challenged in today’s microwave results only expectation. HECK, Steve Jobs was kicked out of APPLE earlier on because he couldn’t turn the company around fast enough. In a given year sales & marketing professionals in corporate America are given budget forecast goals based on the expectation that customers will change their behaviors in their favor. Product sales goals and market share are measured by purchasing activity and customer behavioral changes in the marketplace. In other words “life” with respect to commerce would end if there was NO ONE competent enough to change someone’s mind, decision or behavior. This is why “Getting People to Change Course” is a superior and should be valued skill.
Integrity & Value
In any given grocery store in the fruits department you may find the most gorgeous apple you’ve ever seen just a beautiful red polished creation. You purchase this apple with the expectation that it’s going to be outrageously delicious and as you go to take that first bite you learn afterwards that it’s rotten inside. Yes, this beautiful masterpiece of a fruit is rotten to the core and inedible….you was sold a bill of goods. We’ve seen many cases where the act of changing someone’s behavior had the perception of a beautiful red apple but when peeled down the reality was rotten. Millions of people are convinced every day to change their behavior only to be taken advantage of and mistreated. There is a natural defense to accepting someone’s persuasion to do something, and that defense is valid based on the many negative examples where there was nefarious intent. We champion and pay money to see a movie based on an idiot who calls himself a salesperson cheat people out of their hard earned income (Wolf of Wall-Street). The act of changing someone’s behavior in many cases is seen as a lack of integrity or again nefarious intent. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility that should be respected when in the business of changing behaviors, and one of those responsibilities is INTEGRITY. Sure, honesty and truthfulness is bantered when there’s an expectation on how someone should sell or market a product/service but integrity drives those attributes. When I interviewed/hired any candidate back in my sales leadership days the questions always centered on integrity. Unfortunately, we’re in a winner takes all at all cost global society where “Integrity” is based on not getting caught. Along with integrity there should be a sense of VALUE that’s placed on the act of “Getting People to Change Course”. When I hear the statement “I don’t want to be sold”, I hear “I don’t want to be de-valued”. Companies are now promoting “We won’t sell you”….but they sneakingly try to convince you to purchase something (double speak that raises questions of integrity). Every customer or receiver of purchased goods/ services want to feel valued in the transaction and unfortunately often times they’re left feeling like they’ve been had. I talked about the responsibility of integrity and how it should be implemented in every act of changing someone’s behavior; I also maintain that value should be “sold” as tenaciously as the product itself. “Creating Customer Value” should be viewed as a verb when the objective is to change behavior and not a sales & marketing cliché. Remember change typically requires some new behavior, a new way of thinking and responding, or a new set of practices to follow. Change also often involves some loss, whether it is a loss of habit, loss of relationships, or temporary loss of predictability. All of these can generate resistance to change a behavior even when you or others encourage the change, and prove the benefits of the new behavior are valid.
Changing someone’s mind, decision or behavior is hard….but it can be soften when the approach comes from a place of “Integrity” & “Value”.
Ron Willingham’s “Statement of Integrity Selling Values and Ethics” still stand with me today:
- Selling is an exchange of value
- Selling isn’t something you do to someone, it’s something you do for and with someone
- Develop trust and rapport before any selling activity begins
- Selling techniques give way to selling principles
- Integrity and high ethics are accepted as the basis for long term selling success.
- Selling pressure is never exerted by the salesperson. It’s exerted only by prospects when they perceive they want or need the item being sold.
- Negotiation is never manipulation. It’s always a strategy to work out problems….when prospects want to work out problems.
Getting People to Change Course….!
Take a look at our whitepaper: “The Customer”….who is she/he?
AH2 & Beyond Consulting