21 August 2005

Why is it so hard to sell new ideas?

Selling is the only way to quickly move people from indecision to action. It’s also one of the hardest things in the world to do well.

Why is selling so hard? Because at its heart, selling is about change, and most people don’t want to change. Change is difficult. It requires them to think, pulls them out of their routine, and forces them to learn new ways of doing things. Change is also a big risk. If you start doing things differently, how do you know it will work? What if it doesn’t?

People have lots of strategies for avoiding new ideas. They can be skeptical, dismissive, impatient, rude, inattentive, apathetic or disinterested. You might find it impossible to get an appointment, and even if you do, the most obvious and rational arguments may fail to convince them to act.

Deep down, people also know that change can be necessary, even inevitable. But because it makes them uncomfortable, most of them will put it off as long as possible.

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Anonymous said...

Selling new ideas is hard not only because people are afraid of change but also because people are afraid of failure. A new idea can be exciting but if you fail, the toll to your career or to you personally can be great. The workplace needs to provide real support for experimentation & failure.

Unknown said...

I fully agree. In addition, suppliers and vendors (anyone selling something truly innovative) need to provide ways for their prospects to step in gradually.

People need to have the ability to "try before they buy."

Known said...

I think people appreciate incremental rather than discrete changes.