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Why do we get pushback – and can it be avoided?

Submitted by on Friday, 18 March 2011

People in our organizations don’t object to change because they don’t like those of us who introduce it, or the solutions we propose, or because they don’t trust us. They object—push back—because they are protecting themselves from the fallout that would happen if something new entered their environment before they made the necessary systemic shifts to adopt it effectively.

And the reasons buyers don’t buy is the same reason change is so difficult.

IT’S A SYSTEMS PROBLEM

When we notice a problem we believe we’ve got a solution for, and go barreling forth to get others to adopt it, we’re forgetting that a problem sits within a system. In other words, there are ‘things’ around it holding it in place – people, policies, history, beliefs, feelings, relationships – and it does not exist in a vacuum.

Systems follow the laws of science, in that they maintain homeostasis—balance—at all costs. And no change can happen until the system figures out how to change in a way that maintains the normal equilibrium of the status quo. As a result, resolving a problem, or need, or pain, is a change management issue.

Unfortunately, like the sales model, change management approaches treat an Identified Problem as if it were an isolated event and leave the people in the system to figure out how to handle the policies, relationships, and initiatives that will end up being disrupted if a new solution were to enter. So buyers and employees go about making this shift behind the scenes while we outsiders wait helplessly and have no capability to enter this end of the journey.

Sellers and change managers tend to focus on just the Identified Problem that they are seeking to shift and have no traditional means to manage the surrounding factors that maintain the status quo (the people and policies who will be affected by the new solution).

BUY-IN FIRST

Yet prospects and employees (like anyone considering change) must not only buy in before they alter how they work, but must also figure out how to shift congruently to accommodate the change in a way that won’t cause major disruption.

Ignoring these factors, we continue to push our way in, trying to place a solution, assuming that because there appears to be a need, people will welcome the initiative with open arms…

Where, might I ask, are those needing to adopt the new solutions in all this? I’ll tell you where. They are:

  • attempting to understand how the change affects their work, process, and team;
  • reacting to the proposed change individually and within their teams;
  • figuring out what areas of their company are going to be affected by the solution and therefore be discombobulated;
  • deciding what to do with the old systems.

And you’re pushing/nurturing/sending and attempting to ‘understand need’, assuming that with the right data sent at the right time, having the right people help with the implementation, you’ll be able to achieve a successful outcome. But you don’t. You get pushback, objections, and resistance—all of which you are actually creating yourself because you are pushing change from the outside, rather than enabling change from the inside.

Instead of pushing or trying to sell or learning objection-handling techniques, why not help employees and buyers navigate through their internal decision process? And then, only then, can you gather data to understand people’s true needs and offer your solution.

Actually, Buying Facilitation™ offers a new skill set that will help you lead the buyer or client through all of the change issues they must manage to get the buy-in to make the change, or purchase. It’s not about the need – you know how to get to that – or about understanding anything at all: it’s about the journey to buy-in that buyers have to do anyway (usually without us). Think about adding a new skill set to what you’re doing now, and avoid pushback.

SD

Read: Buying Facilitaition: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions and Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

Or listen to Sharon Drew’s audio learning that shows you how to facilitate prospecting, problem solving, change management, and fund raising conversations.

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