How To Convince Your Customer That Change Is Good
I am sure you would agree that one of the biggest challenges facing bankers (or sales people) is convincing prospects to change banks (or suppliers) or convincing customers to change the way they transact with you.
Many bankers boast about great meetings with prospects and customers where they expertly highlighted the benefits of change, to then be faced with the heart-breaking common objection that “change is too hard”.
Accordingly, these bankers concede defeat in the face of such a monumental objection and simply wait on the side-line until their prospect’s current banker “makes a mistake” or their prospect experiences a problem.
If I did that 25 years ago when I entered a new market that was dominated by 4 major banks I would still be waiting – rather than growing my portfolio to $200MM over 3 short years.
If I did that when I moved to Canada in 2010 we would still be the smallest player in the market – rather than a market leader.
Unless a prospect has a specific need that cannot be satisfied by their current bank, the only way to grow your bank is to convince that prospect that they are making a huge mistake, or missing out on significant benefits, if they do not change banks .
Easier said than done, right? Wrong.
The first step to convincing customers that change is good is to strongly BELIEVE it yourself. Do you believe you have far more compelling solutions and an easy process for change?
It has been well documented that humans dislike change. Why?
In order to convince a customer to change you must help them overcome these fears. And this can be done by better understanding the Four Stages of Change:
1. Concern with Status Quo
Many prospects and customers will tell you that they are happy with their current banker (or supplier) or they are happy with the way they do things.
That may be true but it also may be a fear-aversion tactic.
If they tell you this it is more than likely that you have not built trust and convinced them of the benefits of change or rather, you have not convinced them about the problems they face if they don’t change.
If the customer maintained their status quo what challenges will they face in achieving their personal/business goals?
Accordingly it is important to first understand their goals – their real goals – their “what will make them super happy” goals.
Then you need to understand what they like about their current banker and what their current banker could do better to help them become more happy (achieve their goals).
Never ask what they don’t like about their current banker or the way they currently leverage your banking services. No one wants to admit there is something wrong. But they will consider/discuss things that could be better.
Now you are triggering concern about their current situation. Continue to deliberately build trust and, even if a customer is still overwhelmingly “happy” with their current provider, they will increasingly recognize there may be a better way to achieve greater happiness.
2. Aware of Better Option
Once you understand their goals and concerns, you can enthusiastically highlight your amazingly better options to help them achieve greater happiness.
Your goal is not to simply highlight features and benefits, but to redirect their fears. Your solutions for attaining greater happiness and helping them avoid future problems should be so compelling that they now fear NOT changing.
I’m not suggesting you scare them into change, but you create discomfort if they don’t change. What do they miss out on, or what problems could they face, if they don’t change?
Consider providing evidence/testimonials to help them overcome their fear of the unknown.
3. Enthusiastic about Change
I know what you are thinking ….. how can anyone be enthusiastic about change?!?
The answer is simple: Make the process EASY!!
By having a clear and collaborative on-boarding process and/or coaching process, you will be able to start demonstrating the benefits they will receive (or the problems you solve) DURING the change process.
This is a critical stage that when done right will spark greater enthusiasm about the change.
This is also the stage when your customer’s fears of discomfort and pain could be realized. It is YOUR job to avoid or offset those fears.
How comprehensive are your on-boarding, change, coaching and problem resolution processes? This is an essential area for training and development.
We all know that things can go wrong, but it is important that during this critical stage you and your team maintain a positive mindset and recognize that this is a GREAT way to demonstrate your value add.
Interesting Fact: New customers will more readily refer you to other prospects based on their great on-boarding experience rather than the valuable solutions you provide.
4. Loving the New Benefits
Once the customer has changed banks or changed the way they transact, it is important that they achieve the happiness you promised.
Any fear of consequences should be subverted by an overwhelming positive affirmation about their decision to change.
It is YOUR responsibility to proactively and diligently follow up to ensure that they are loving the benefits your bank and your new solutions offer.
This is the beginning of a brand new, or better, relationship with the customer and the honeymoon period should last longer than a week, a month or even a year.
By learning how to effectively help customers overcome their fear of change and fall in love with you, your processes and your bank – you will not only win new customers but you will gain many many more referrals.
Remember it is your job to clearly demonstrate that the recommended change will lead to greater happiness NOT a realization of fears.
I want to be clear that there are NO TRICKS here. This is not about “tricking” someone into change.
Start by truly believing that you can help your customer achieve greater happiness and then understand BOTH the rational AND emotional concerns the customer has during the four stages of change.
Your aim is to continue building TRUST through each stage of change.
Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For advice on how to improve your capacity and willingness to change please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com
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