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Why Compelling Change in Sales Conversations is Crucial: Strategies for Success

Discover how mastering the art of answering "Why change" can transform your sales conversations and close more deals.

The sales conversation should be organized around what your contacts believe is most important. When salespeople get the order wrong, they ask about how to compel their contact to change at the end of the sales conversation. Ignoring the sequence of important topics may cause you to lose a deal you might have won had you reversed the order.

Winning is more difficult when you don’t establish at the beginning of your sales process why your client must change. There are many ways you can compel your client to recognize the need to change.

In this article, we explore how beginning the conversation with “why change” instead of “why us” can help you and your client succeed.

Optimize Your CRM for Strategic Insights

Your CRM can be more than a list of opportunities with closing dates. To turn your CRM into a strategic asset, you and your sales force would document why you replaced your client’s incumbent. Mining the reasons your existing clients changed provides strong evidence about the problems or challenges that will lead your prospects to choose you over your competitors.

The first strategy for compelling change is tracking these reasons in your CRM so you can build on them in the sales conversation. For extra credit, include the total number of companies that changed because of each reason. By listing the reasons from most to least common, you can clearly see what causes your clients to change providers. When you master this list of reasons, you improve your ability to compel change in the first meeting.

Conduct Industry Research on Your Contacts

I used to do this work by going to Google and searching for the top 10 headwinds in the client’s industry. Many people write lists of the challenges in their industry of focus. We call these people synthesizers. They read everything about their area of expertise and publish their findings online. By reading and studying their articles, you do the work to know the industry’s challenges.

By studying the industry, you will be able to tie your solution to the challenges your prospective client is likely to be experiencing. Your contact will be impressed that you did your homework, something that will make you a category of one because most salespeople won’t do this work. This effort will help you determine what problems compel change and what don’t tend to cause the client to change.

Between mining your CRM and your research, you will be doing the work that will enable you to master the reasons that answer the question: Why change?

Leveraging AI for Industry Insights

You need to be careful using AI to help you identify what will compel your contact to change. I have a very well-developed prompt that does the work of building a list of challenges that may compel change. This prompt also identifies the statistics you can share with your contacts in a first meeting.

If you decide to use AI to acquire insights in an industry, you still have to read the source to understand the challenge and the data. If your AI provided a data point that is missing a citation and the source, you may not want to use it unless you can find a publication to back it up. If your contact doesn’t see the source and citation, or if they can’t verify the data, they may find you lack credibility.

Executing the “Why Change” Strategy in B2B Sales

One of the easiest ways to start the “why change” conversation is by providing an executive briefing with a set of insights that prove you know about the contact’s company and their industry. For those of you who don’t know me, I sold enterprise-level deals in staffing. Winning a client meant removing a competitor and replacing them. Without a compelling reason to change, it would be close to impossible to win a deal.

There are other ways to introduce reasons for change. These include an internal survey with insights that can cause the contact and their stakeholders to recognize they need to change. You might also share that your company has helped many clients that have improved some important outcomes to succeed.

If you are still practicing what we call the legacy approach, there is no room for “why change.” With this approach, you start by talking up your company, your clients, and their successes, then you pitch your solutions or try to create rapport. None of this creates value for the client. Your first meeting is an audition. If you create no value in the first meeting, you are not likely to command a second meeting.

Key Takeaways for Sales Success

Establish why a client should change early in the sales conversation instead of waiting until the end.

You and your peers already know what causes your prospective clients to be compelled to change, but if you don’t feel certain, mine your CRM for insights.

You will need to practice the execution of the “why change” strategy. You can do this with a briefing or some other tool to establish change as early as possible.

You also need to know that the contact who agreed to a meeting isn’t doing so because they need a best friend. They took the meeting because they need help making a rare decision that they must get right on the first attempt. In your first meeting, offer them information they will value.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 2, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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