Why Change Is so Hard — I Finally Figured It Out

Joanne Black

Change your strategy and knock out your competition.

Why do so many salespeople refuse to learn new prospecting strategies or to change tactics that aren’t working? It seems so obvious to me that change is good. In fact, it’s the only way to grow and excel. And why wouldn’t salespeople follow the path to the highest commissions, the fastest closes, the best meetings, and the most powerful relationships?

Beats me.

It’s Not Comfortable…

Then I heard Sam Allred, director of Upstream Academy, speak about change. My biggest “aha”: The reward and pleasure are in the future, but disruption, discomfort, and discipline are immediate.

Using a boating analogy, Allred explained how people react to proposed change initiatives:  30 percent are rowers, 50 percent are sitters, and 20 percent are anchor throwers who want to stop any change.

Allred says that change only happens if people want to change. While companies love discussing transformation and innovation, few have the discipline to really do it. And that’s a shame, because the greatest competitive advantage (for companies and people) is the ability to embrace change and improve.

It’s Not Easy…

Yes, change is hard and uncomfortable, but growth is always worthwhile. You don’t have to start with a complete overhaul. Often slower is better.

Here are a few enlightening tips from Allred about how to embrace change in baby steps:

  • Limit the number of endeavors and focus on what you will do differently.
  • If you’re the leader, set the direction and then allow your team to develop their own goals.
  • Tie goals to an improvement initiative. Make this a priority. Don’t “fit it in.”
  • Create monthly accountability.

It’s Not Purposeful…

For people to embrace change, there must be a good reason. It must be tied to improvement and moving the dials. And everyone involved must take individual responsibility for getting new results.

One change that’s definitely worthwhile is to make referral selling a priority. People will probably resist at first—even though they know referral selling works. So to put Allred’s advice into practice, start by implementing a proven referral-selling system with coaching and reinforcement. Set metrics and reasonable, short-term goals to ensure individual accountability. And know that the proof is in the pudding. Once your team starts to see the phenomenal results they can get by simply tapping into their networks, they won’t just accept the change. They’ll celebrate it.

That’s what it takes. Are you ready?

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