In the Customer's Reality
Perception is Reality
A change-agent is always butting heads with the predominant law of first knowledge. Customers like everyone are conditioned to believe the first thing they have learned. And when shown opposing evidence they will tend to get very busy defending their own views. The job of the change-agent is to professionally and in a very nurturing way self-direct the customer thru thought provoking questions to assess and analyze that if they don't like change they may be forced to like irrelevance even more so.
It's the natural inclination of customers to do little preparation before launching an improvement initiative or a major change in their company. They too often leave it to chance.
The change-agent's job is to facilitate change and attempt to preempt these inevitable roadblocks. Also, you have to help customers unlearn more beliefs than you have to generate new ideas. It's a deconstruction process. Keep in mind unlearning is more difficult for most customers than learning something new.
The success of your solution, depending on your industry, so often has more to do with the receptivity of the customer than it does with the effectiveness of your solution. "When the student is ready the master will appear. Help (change) is available when we're willing to help ourselves," says Paul Ferrini. Make sure the timing and receptivity is right for your customer to embark on a change initiative.
In respect to change, reality is typically irrelevant and inconsequential. Perception is reality. So don't focus on facts, focus on feelings and emotions. This is what drives change. This is reality.
A change-agent therefore helps facilitate change through managing the emotional components of the process. And nothing is more emotional than fear, insecurity, loss and problems. Customers will typically always do what they've always done until the problem of change is less than the problem of the status quo. The biggest change preventers are; no problems, no interest, no dough, no authority, no time, no trust, poor timing and other more important competing initiatives.
Any future change or goal is a decision to seek retribution from the past. The past is where you'll find all your customer's highly charged emotions (problems and risks). Yet sales people are so often too focused on the future (solution).
All goals for change by your customer is a response to a perception of lack or fear. Their desired changes are driven more fiercely by the problems and failures of the past than successes and riches of the future. Logical isn't it! NOT! But we all know that people don't buy logically. That's why it doesn't make sense to spend so much time with a logical sales appeal.
The trigger points for change are control, fear, guilt, unmanageable problems and self – glorification (ego). Even when a customer states that they're driven by future gain, it's actually more a condition of scarcity that is driving them to explore options. Be aware that customers who aren't rewarded for risks and are punished for failure often fight change. Change will be very static in this type of corporate environment.
Your customer's problem will be addressed painfully slow until you get to the root cause of their problems. "If change doesn't cost you anything, then it isn't real change," says John Maxwell. It's a fact of business life that customers are more interested in seeking to get rid of discomfort than achieving what they are seeking to bring them comfort and peace of mind. Illogical isn't it! What do you expect, emotions rule! Emotions are illogical. That's just the nature of the beast.