You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. . .
Try salting the oats!

~ Anonymous

Selling is often more than convincing someone to buy your product or service, but to also change what they already have or what they are doing now. Some customers are already interested in changing to something new and they know they need to buy something—perhaps your product or service. Others need to be made aware that what they have or are doing isn’t working and that something new is available and that they should upgrade as soon as possible.

As you know, most people are afraid of change. But where does this fear come from and why? Most of us developed a fear of change during childhood. Changes were not necessarily improvements in our situation, rather they were dictated and initiated by others (usually parents) for their convenience. (“We’re moving to a new city...” “You’re going to a new school...” Yikes!) Perhaps the changes were not ones that we would have made. As a child, things were not in our control. Likewise, a customer’s real resistance to buying may be because they feel out of control about making a change in their life. Being sold feels like complying with mommy or daddy and they object.

Some customers avoid change because they aren’t sure how they got as far as they have. If they think they were just lucky, then they won’t want to rock the boat. Any change at all could upset everything! Without getting much further involved in the psychological details of the fear of change, consider it as a possibility behind your customer’s resistance to buying.

Customers have to change what they have been using or doing
Out of your customers’ mouths come all of the classic sales objections and excuses: “I can’t afford it. I don’t have enough time. I need to think about it. Blah, blah, blah. . .” These objections often “knee-jerk” and mask the real fear of taking (or accepting) action. A strong enough emotional desire and a clear path to fulfillment will overcome these common objections. The customer wouldn’t be there if they didn’t suspect the possibility of an improvement forthcoming.
You don’t need to be a psychologist to see that some mental association with change is negative. Perhaps you had a similar experience. Fortunately for some of us, our reaction later in life was to take control and make the changes that suited us. Some people, however; still resist change because they’re afraid that the change is out of control and could actually make things worse. These people require a little more guidance from you.

Selling is offering someone the opportunity to improve their situation
Position your offer in such a way that the change (i.e., improvement) it will make in your customer’s life is obvious to them. Work with your customers to make them feel in control of the change so they will improve their lives. This is more than selling benefits, because you could pitch benefits all day long only to have your customers still be afraid to go forward. I like bluntness, “Will this make the improvement that you’re looking for?” or “Do you feel like you’re in control of the change you’re making?” The answers may reveal a few more simple things you can do to complete your transaction. There won’t be many more sales objections. Remember that this is an attitude adjustment on your part.

Of course, I’m suggesting a change to your own selling technique. You’ll need to practice, but you may be amazed at what you learn about your customers and Add these tools to your selling repertoire and see what happens.

Author's Bio: 

Burke Franklin is the originator of the popular BizPlanBuilder® business planning software and the founder of JIAN (jee’on --, the company behind a suite of successful business development software tools for Windows & Macintosh.
Burke was elected to the White House Conference on Small Business and nominated for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Burke is also an instrument-rated pilot, and a second-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo.

Burke’s highly praised book, Business Black Belt draws parallels from the martial arts and is rich in hard-won advice for building and running a business today.