The status quo is a warm bath; it’s soothing and comfortable. Change is a cold shower; it’s surprising, shocking, and uncomfortable.
Is it any wonder your dream clients aren’t excited to change? Even when they have good reason to change, they often seek the safety and comfort of the status quo. When things aren’t going well, at least they know the status quo. Change means venturing off into the scary unknown.
Do you ever wonder why your clients aren’t interested in change even when the reasons to change are crystal clear to you? Do you wonder why your ideas aren’t compelling?
People only seek change when they reach some threshold. Either there is so much dissatisfaction that change becomes the safest path forward, or there is an opportunity so great that it warrants abandoning the status quo (a positive form of dissatisfaction). But until that threshold is met, in one direction or the other, change is unlikely.
Building Towards Threshold
If you want to make the case for your change, you have to help your clients reach threshold.
If your client should be dissatisfied, you build to threshold by helping them understand what not changing is costing them now, what it will cost them in the future, and why they can’t afford to stay where they are. On the far end of this continuum is survival; there is nothing so motivating as your own impending doom. Survival is the most serious threshold of all. But losing your competitive advantage, falling behind your competitors, and losing market share can be threshold events, too.
You can build to threshold for positive changes, too. Even if things are going well, you can build towards the threshold that brings change by showing your client what is still possible, how change will better position them in the future, and what they are losing by not acting now. Faster growth now, the ability to capitalize on opportunities, or seizing a competitive advantage in the marketplace can all be threshold events. So can even greater profitability.
You don’t have to build towards threshold with bold, challenging statements. In fact, making the case this way can often lead to more resistance–it can seem self-serving. You can make the case more effectively with well designed and well placed questions.
If you want your product, service, or solution to be compelling, it has to help your clients get to threshold.
Look at the existing opportunities in your pipeline. Can you identify the threshold that is compelling your client to change?
How urgently does your client need to change? What do they lose by holding on to the status quo?
Which stakeholders haven’t yet (or won’t easily) reach threshold? How do you make a stronger case for them (or build a stronger case around them)?