The number one enemy in sales prospecting: Buyer Inertia

by on April 21, 2010 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog

As salespeople, we’re always encountering prospects who have no intention of switching suppliers. “Thanks but no thanks,” the prospect tells you. “We have no plans to change vendors.”

In most cases, the incumbent supplier has a huge advantage: Inertia. Unless there’s a problem, customers don’t like to switch.

Conventional sales techniques don’t make much headway with these prospects. You may have tried identifying pain points, asking about service gaps or creating urgency.

When those approaches don’t work, you might try to differentiate your product from the status quo, showing the customer all the great stuff that he or she has been missing out on. “Our next-generation widget is faster, easier to use and 10 times more reliable than what you have now.”

Don’t be different … just better
The problem is, prospects may see all those “benefits” as threats to their peaceful happy world. The last thing they want is change. Because change means pain: “Who’s going to integrate the new widget with the current system? How long will it take to install? Who’s going to train the staff on how to use it?”

The key to unseating an entrenched competitor is to make the switch as painless as possible. When you’re selling to these buyers, you DON’T want to differentiate your product. You want to emphasize SIMILARITIES. And then you want to demonstrate one compelling reason to make the switch.

For example:

  • “If you buy our phone system, it will work exactly like the one you have now. Only you’ll be paying half as much.”
  • “Our new pump has the same specifications as the one you’re using now – except it’s maintenance free.”
  • “This car drives just like the one you have now – but it runs on batteries instead of gasoline.”

Active buyers are driven by dissatisfaction. They’re looking for a change. But prospects who say they’re satisfied are different, and they have to be sold differently. Help them see how they can switch to your product or service without pain and aggravation.

photo credit: doortoriver

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