Often times, before making a call or a visit, it is helpful for team members to imagine themselves attempting to guide prospective clients over a bridge, closing the gap between their current solutions (which is normally the status quo or worse…) to what we, and our products, can offer. This process is seldom a “one on one” event, and can involve multiple stakeholders, each coming to the beginning of this journey with individual needs and concerns, and each requiring various types of motivation used to gain their trust for the crossing.
It is important to understand that each of these stakeholders are dealing with different fears as the beginning of the crossing nears. If we look at the same groups of people examined in our look at The Value Pyramid, the fears each group has related to the bridge crossing are strikingly different. For the moment, let’s imagine that this pyramid exists in a factory setting, and you’re there to convince all parties that you can be trusted as their guide across the bridge, moving them to a more productive and rewarding place. Staff tend to be fearful of change, which means that they must be guided carefully across and given constant reassurance and encouragement with every step that is taken.
If a staff member is a part of the selection committee involved with your product, it may not be their job that is potentially impacted, but, in their minds it could be the job or jobs of colleagues. You must be able to understand this fear, and then equally able to communicate to them the truth- you aren’t there to put friends or colleagues out of a job, but rather to increase productivity so that the company doesn’t close, retrain workers in a way that equips them with more advanced skills, and to make their jobs more valuable. Once you have reassured staff that you are there to improve, rather than destroy, their crossing should be simple for you all. It simply becomes easier from there.
When you’ve made the staff happy and secure, managers are more likely to cross. In general, managers are a bit more flexible, and less frightened of workplace change. For them, you need to appeal to their motivations: What improves productivity? What reduces risk? If you can answer those questions for management with a clear and concise vision, they’ll bring their team along.
In the end, it isn’t about the number or types of initiatives that you can present, as there are only so many a company can afford or manage. Moreover, it is about putting forth your best proposition, and doing so in a way that shows you understand their value pyramid, as well as how your proposition can best serve the entire team. If you can do that, you’ll all be smiling on the other side!