In Selling, Your Job Is To Make The Status Quo Unsafe!

In my post yesterday I said I’d expand on the ‘how’ of challenging a Prospect’s ‘status quo’. So here it is. But first things first…

The traditional perspective in sales & selling is to find out what your customer’s problem or challenge is, offer them the right solution, and keep them happy, all smiles and niceness.

For many, they see this as key to their core role as a sales person.

If you are one of these, as I was not that long ago, well, that’s understandable.

BUT STOP IT!!!

As a ‘sales person’ (I’m not sure that label is even appropriate any more…!), your job is to

MAKE THE STATUS QUO UNSAFE!!!

How do you do this?Now it’s time to blow some myths up here!

Myth Bust #1:

The conventional approach in marketing is to start by creating an avatar or persona, a representation of the kind of person you are marketing to. It is often said by traditional marketing professionals that “personas are the best tool for creating messages.” One of my favourite and successful marketing professionals, Bernadette Doyle of ‘Client Magnets’ fame, uses this approach in her training classes. She’s had a lot of success, and so have her clients.

It’s not wrong. It’s just not the full picture, and can actually get in the way when you are specifically seeking to challenge somebody’s status quo.

Just so we’re clear – not every client or prospect wants their status quo challenged, or needs it challenged. There are plenty of sales opportunities where clients know exactly what they want & need. But for those other situations, that can represent more than double the value of your current revenue, ‘marketing personas’ get in the way.

How do they get in the way?

Simple. When you build a clear picture of the way somebody is – their current situation – it becomes difficult to unseat them from their status quo – your entire picture is built around how they currently are – not how they could be if their situation changed.

When you create a message for where the client/Prospect currently is, you are giving them little context for making any decision about changing things.

And you run the real risk and chance of sounding like all the other competitors you have who are also trying to sell to this client/Prospect.

Part of your challenge with beating the competition and differentiating yourself is that the very approach you may be taking – the conventional one – is actually building up barriers against your success, not taking them down!

INSTEAD…

Create for what Tim Reisterer calls ‘Status Quo Clusters’ – a cluster of people who have the same Status Quo, though in marketing persona terms might look very different.

Identify what they do and use today, and how they do and use these things.

Discover why they think they are ‘safe’ by staying with their Status Quo.

You now have the beginnings of a story – one that contrasts their current view, their status quo, with an alternative – one that is filled with pain and/or with opportunity – compelling enough that they’ll take notice and at least will want to learn more by talking with you…

You do this by finding gaps in their ‘safe assumptions’ they hold about their status quo.

Oh, and you’ll also need evidence for these gaps, otherwise you probably won’t have enough credibility to tip them enough out of their sense of safety to want to come talk to you…

The upside, the beauty of this approach, is that the Status Quo cluster is more diverse than the standard and conventional marketing persona – through this higher diversity you will find more paths to more potential customers – ones you’d never have uncovered so easily & quickly the conventional way…

Now for Myth Bust #2:

… and I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow…!!

 

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