Status Quo: Your Biggest Competitor

To overcome client objections, salespeople need to understand what makes us resistant to change.

Every sales professional will face a wide variety of objections and obstacles during the sales process. But whether you’re trying to close a deal, or simply set up an initial meeting, there’s one fundamental obstacle that you’ll come up against time and again: The status quo.

Never underestimate the power of the status quo. As a salesperson, it will always be your biggest competitor. Humans don’t like to change—even if we’re unhappy! 

People will make any excuse to maintain the status quo and avoid change. From a prospect, these excuses look like these:

“I prefer working with my current rep.”
“We just changed providers last year.”
“I don’t want to go through the trouble of switching.”
“We’re happy with what we’re paying for our current solution.”

To many salespeople, these objections sound like an outright “no.” But they’re all rooted in a desire to keep the status quo. How can we overcome this resistance to change and get a deal signed? If you’re fighting the status quo, you need to:

  • Put yourself in your client’s shoes
  • Provide a powerful solution
  • Make change easy

Put Yourself In Your Client’s Shoes

The first step in overcoming the status quo is understanding the pain of change.

Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you changed your entire banking system?

If you’re like most people, the answer is somewhere between “ten years ago” and “never!” Why? Because it’s a huge pain to transition all your automatic deposits, account numbers, log-ins, checks, and debit cards. And what if something transfers incorrectly or gets held up during the process? Even if you’re pretty unhappy with your bank, you’ll keep banking there to avoid the hassle of switching to a new bank.

We all understand wanting to keep the status quo in our personal lives. But many sales professionals forget that clients feel the same about their business. Maybe your solution is better, faster, and cheaper on paper—but your client still has to go through the immense hassle of disturbing the status quo.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes! Whether you’re selling a new prescription provider plan, an enterprise software solution, or a fleet of new equipment, you have to be realistic about how disruptive it will be for your client’s business.

Provide A Powerful Solution

Once you appreciate how painful the transition or implementation process is for your client (without actually telling them how painful the transition will be), you can understand how much value you need to bring to the table. 

Consider this example: A client of mine changed providers for their company’s benefits program, resulting in savings of $200,000 a year. Great! But a year later, my client says they wish they never did it. Between the costs of rolling out an entirely new program and the headaches of dealing with unhappy employees, it simply wasn’t worth the savings.

Change isn’t just inconvenient. It results in real business costs—from retraining technicians to rolling out employee initiatives. Your product or service has to outweigh these costs. Is your solution more robust, more functional, or more cost-effective? Do you have better service and support? If you understand your product and your customers’ pain, you can make a case for why switching is worth it.

(And remember—when you sell on price, you lose on price!)

Make Change Easy

The best way to eliminate the option of status quo is to help with your client’s transition process. It’s crucial that you understand all the obstacles your customer will face in implementing your solution and have ways to assist them.

Change is a lot of work—and extra work is the last thing any of us need in our lives! As you’re telling your client about your company’s fantastic cost savings or superior functionality, they’re thinking, “Great, this sounds like a lot of extra work.”

Think back to the banking example. What if the new bank had a salesperson, or team, who seamlessly handled the transition for you? 

Can you do the heavy lifting for your client? Are there extra steps you (or a team member) can perform that will take some of the burden off their shoulders? Do you have a strategic plan to help clients implement your product or service? Can you offer a framework to support and guide them through the process?

Any of these will give you a considerable edge over the status quo.

Fight The Status Quo!

No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, the status quo will always be your biggest competitor. Knowing this is half the battle. When you anticipate your client’s needs and understand their resistance to change, you’ll be able to develop solutions that make significant changes feel a little less daunting.

If you’re a sales professional looking for fresh ideas and new strategies to overcome objections, a professional coaching or consulting solution can make a huge difference. Reach out—I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time—go sell some stuff!


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