Avoiding a Damaging Sales Mistake (Part 1)

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Feb 10, 2011 5:22:00 AM

In 2004, I wrote about the need to align your sales proposition with the value definition of your buyer.  Over the last seven years, I've become increasingly aware of another critical misalignment that occurs in sales efforts every day - timeframes.

Far, far too often, sellers are bringing superior value propositions and promises of better futures to people who do not worry about the future.  There are two types of people who work within companies:

    • Those who worry about the future
    • Those who worry about the present (and past)
As a seller, you must make a critical decision early in the sales cycle (and in many cases even before the sales cycle begins):  Are you making a "status quo" sale, or are you making a "change" sale?

A status quo sale requires very little change in behavior or approach on the part of the buyer.  While there are too many possibilities to describe all status quo sales, you are promising an improvement in an area of work where your customer/prospect is already paying for something - be it a key process, a resource or even people.  When your new customer makes a status quo purchase from you, they do the same basic things they did with their previous "solution."  The status quo sale is aimed at addressing the issues/problems/worries in the "now."

A change sale requires the prospect/customer to change their approach is some way to be able to fully take advantage of (and therefore, fully value and pay for) the value proposition.  A change sale can address key process or resources, just as a status quo sale can, but the issues/problems/worries it addresses occur in the future.

Tomorrow, I will share the implications of a status quo vs. change sale and how to tell what type of buyer you are dealing with.


Topics: B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation