Homeostasis is a process in which an organism (and a business is an organism) finds a way to control all variables and functions to create a steady state.
Your body is very good at homeostasis. It controls things like your core temperature and your blood chemistry. It doesn’t allow you to get too hot or too cold. It doesn’t allow your blood to be too alkaline or too acidic.
Your dream clients mostly exist in a state of homeostasis. They found a way to regulate and control all their systems and functions to make a comfortable existence for the business and the people who work in the business.
It’s only when some significant internal or external change occurs that an organism (in this case the business) becomes uncomfortable with the present state. These internal or external changes, when they are significant, can compel the organism to change.
Most of the time, we find a way to work through internal and external disruptions without having to change much. We find a workaround that allows us to live with the problem.
You’ve no doubt called on your dream client who has a serious problem for which your company has a solution that would eliminate their problem. But they’ve learned to live with that problem. They’ve learned to work around the problem. They found a way to live with the problem the way it is and created a state of homeostasis. They no longer feel a threat, and they don’t feel any real pressure to change. This state lasts until the problem grows large enough for the organism to reach “threshold,” the point at which they can take no more, and they simply must change.
Homeostasis is why it is so difficult to create new opportunities. Or at least it’s one of the reasons. Most of us can live with the steady state more easily than we can live with the idea of change and all that accompanies it.
Your change initiative may help your dream client solve what you perceive to be a major problem. But because they have found a state of homeostasis, they’re comfortable living with the problem the way it is. Your initiative would cause people to have to change what they’re doing now, something that always makes people uncomfortable.
The Devil You Know
Change almost always causes more fear than homeostasis. You may not like the devil you know, but he’s been around so long that you’ve learned to live with him.
The key to creating new opportunities is to focus on eliminating homeostasis. You need to work on developing the dormant dissatisfaction that exists in many—if not most—of your dream clients. You have to build the case for change long before you create the opportunity.
The question you have to answer for your dream client is “why must I change now?” Until you can effectively convince the key stakeholders in your dream client account that they “must” change, they can live with homeostasis for a long time, probably longer than you can live without the opportunity.
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