Contrast Drives Change

By Bob Apollo


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When you crunch the numbers, the most common outcome of even apparently well-qualified complex sales opportunities is a loss – not to an alternative solution, but to the status quo.

“Do nothing” is today’s most powerful competitor. It’s become the most common outcome because organisations often struggle to build a consensus for change and because the easiest and safest option appears to be to carry on as before.

But the real reason is often because nobody – internal champions and sales people alike – managed to create enough contrast between where the customer is today and where they need to be in the future.

It’s blindingly obvious, when we think about it – contrast drives change

It’s our responsibility as sales people to create this contrast. It’s our responsibility, if we judge that the contrast is currently insufficient, to either stretch the value gap between today’s situation and their future destination to level that will inevitably result in action or accept that the prospect is unlikely to act and politely qualify out before any more of our of their time is wasted.


Most competent sales people seek to articulate the benefits of the prospect changing to their solution – they sell the upside. But in my experience, it’s far less common that sales people do an adequate job of identifying and amplifying the downside of sticking with the status quo.

There’s profound buying psychology at play here, you see: following a series of widely-acclaimed experiments, Daniel Kahneman – the Nobel Prize winning behavioural economist – concluded that decision-makers are twice as likely to invest to avoid a loss as they are to achieve a gain.

So our mission to create contrast must start by breaking through the status quo bias and establishing the negative consequences of the customer’s current situation. We need to help our prospective customer to identify and acknowledge the costs and risks associated with sticking with the status quo.


We need to go beyond the obvious and amplify the pain by introducing the prospect to unconsidered or underestimated implications of their current trajectory. We need to help our prospect’s decision-making group to conclude that their situation is going to get increasingly, uncomfortably and unnecessarily expensive and risky.

In short, before we go ahead and help our prospective customer to model the positive Return on Investment they could generate by investing in a new solution, we need to help them calculate the full negative Cost of Inaction that they will suffer if they were to simply carry on as they are.

Assuming the buying decision is a significant one, someone in authority is bound to ask whether immediate action is really necessary, or whether the project could afford to wait until a future date. We need to equip and enable our champion to confidently explain why any delay will only make the company’s situation more precarious.


This “going beyond the obvious” applies to the benefits of investing in our solution as well. In order to establish this, Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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