One of the biggest obstacles you need to understand and overcome in sales is, the Change Curve. I know what you’re thinking. “What the hell does the Change Curve have to do with sales? And, how does this relate to Chick-fil-A? More importantly, why will any of this make me a better salesperson?” Here’s how the Change Curve and Chick-fil-A will help you hatch—sorry for the chicken pun—into a better salesperson.
What is the Change Curve?
OK, let’s start with the basics. According to Mind Tools, the Change Curve is a model designed to help you understand the stages of personal transition and organizational change. Here are the four stages and how people react at each one:
- Status Quo: People react with shock or denial. Essentially, they want everything to remain how it is.
- Disruption: Unfortunately, the next stage isn’t any easier. Here, they are angry and fearful. People worry how any change will affect them.
- Exploration: Next, people become accepting. They know change is inevitable.
- Rebuilding: Finally, people become engaged. They are excited to rebuild and see how this new change can improve their professional lives.
Now, you need to understand there is no level of employee immune from this. Resistance to change can come from entry-level employees to the C-Suite.
How to Address the Stages
So, how can you prepare yourself as a salesperson for these varying emotions? You need to empathize and re-evaluate the four stages from your prospect’s perspective:
- How will your service affect my job? Will I be good at it? Will it make me succeed or fail?
- Who is this person to come in here and tell us what we’re doing is wrong?
- OK, so maybe we can do things better, but I don’t have the time to learn this brand new way of doing things.
- Actually, this will make my job so much easier. But, how much will it cost?
So, if you can prepare your objection-handling for all these stages, emotions, and thoughts, you’re ready to use the Change Curve in your sales technique. But, how does this relate to Chick-fil-A?
Establish a Baseline
First, you need to identify what your prospect’s current process/method is. After you’ve established the baseline of what they use, have tried, and what they know, you can then use this information to expand their worldview.
Recently, I was treating my daughter to lunch at Chick-fil-A. We sat at our table, when a woman walked by and said, “Isn’t this the best chicken you’ve ever had?” Now, here’s where the Change Curve becomes effective. I asked, “What makes it so great?” She talked to me about the texture, taste, mouth feel—I guess she was a foodie who loved fast food!—and the seasoning. (She’s in the status quo phase.)
Introduce a Point of Reference
Next, you need to introduce a point of reference. Ultimately, in sales it’s your product. In this case, I asked, “Have you ever had Daisy Mae’s in New Orleans?” If they say yes, your life just got a whole lot easier. If they say no, you explain how it’s the best fried chicken they’ll ever experience. You use your silver tongue to paint an idyllic picture of everything about this chicken, from the ambiance to the taste to even the napkins. Then, you question, “Is this something you’d be interested in trying?” Expect to hear a lot of excuses. (This is the disruption phase.) “I can’t afford to go to New Orleans.” “We never travel outside of the state.”
But, your goal is to get them the best fried chicken ever. So, objection handle politely and point out how they can have the best fried chicken ever if they really want to.
A Bigger World
So, you’ve now established there is a bigger world out there besides Chick-fil-A. (Personally, I love Chick-fil-A, so no disrespect to them.) For sales, you’re showing your prospect that a solution exists to their problem, and they can get it if they want. (This is the exploration stage.) With the woman, I made her contemplate what it was about Chick-fil-A she loved so much. Was it the taste? Is it the convenience? Or, is it the fear of having a bad experience somewhere else?
Then, it’s a matter of giving your prospect clear paths on how they can reach this solution. For her, I gave her directions to the poultry paradise in case she ever was in New Orleans. The key is, you want to make it user-friendly for them to get what they need. So, keep the lift as light as possible.
Use Your Worldview
Again, your unique experiences as a person will help you become a master salesperson. Who would have thought being a jazz musician would prepare me for a career in sales? But, it did, and your life has too. Do your research and find ways you can enlighten your prospect. Use analogies and metaphors—like I’ve been doing this whole time—to get people to understand. If you become a trusted resource to your prospect, you can create desire with or without scarcity.
I went into Chick-fil-A a week after I took my daughter there, and I saw the same woman. So, I told her about this other place I tried nearby. I explained how it’s good, but it doesn’t compare to Daisy Mae’s. She said she tried it as well, and thought it was good. And, she was intrigued how if she held the new place in high regards, then how good must Daisy Mae’s be?
A month later, I was back in Chick-fil-A, and my friend was there. She loves Daisy Mae’s.