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The Change-Agent:
An Impartial Facilitator

A change-agent is a sales person who takes the position that they have nothing to sell, nothing to promote until they have a thorough understanding of why a customer would want to change, buy or do anything differently. "You've arrived as a business resource (change-agent) when you leave your products at the door and you've trained your customers to also leave your products at the door," says Jerry Stapleton.

A change-agent takes the refreshing preliminary position that they don't know what is best for their potential customer. To be an effective change-agent, be open to everything and don't have a fixed attachment to anything. That includes results and outcomes.

"What you sell and what your customer has to go through to make a change, initially has very little to do with your offering, it's advantages and the requirements of your customer," says Sharon Drew Morgen. She goes on to state, "The buyer has to recognize and manage all the internal issues that create the status quo and actually keep it in place–issues that go far beyond anything your product can resolve. It's all about how your customer can manage their buying environment that really matters before you can begin to understand the process of change."

So selling is less about hammering home your selling points and more about peeling away the layers to promote change. Change is made easier when the salesperson lets the customer self-initiate the process by treating the customer with the power to create their own change at a comfortable pace for them.

So give your customer the personal responsibility to manage the change process, which by the way, takes the pressure off both parties at the selling event, and makes the process more open and transparent. Change truly happens more easily when it is self-directed by your customer.

From the perspective of change, things happen because other things happen. Nothing happens in a vacuum in a business. Nothing is separate, isolated or not connected. The change-agent looks always at the big picture and helps the customer see the consequences of action and inaction in a non-biased manner.

As you become an accomplished change-agent you will notice your customers so often want one result, and at the same time another part of them wants an entirely and sometimes conflicting result. Your challenge is to help put all their issues on the table and help them reconcile all their disparate goals and outcomes.

Be aware that it is difficult for customers to solve a problem on the level they perceive it. That is why the change-agent plays the role as an impartial facilitator and helps customers self-examine their issues from a different perspective and at a different level. Always let customers see the causes and the barriers before they take action to change.

An objective change-agent is always trying to enhance their value by asking themselves would the customer have paid a consulting fee for my last sales call? Would they receive enough value from my participation and insight that they would have paid a premium for my unbiased advice?

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com