Change is a natural part of all life and, consequently, a natural part of our sales lives. Nothing is static; not our products, not our prospects, not our clients, and certainly not our competitors. Change is the only constant. But surprisingly enough, change as a central theme of selling has seldom been addressed head-on. Brett Clay in Selling Change: 101 Secrets for Growing Sales by Leading Change (ARIVA Publishing; 2010) changes that. As you can tell by the title of the book, change is the central theme of his sales philosophy.
Clay argues that our job as a seller isn’t to sell a product or service as a solution to a problem or issue but rather to understand the change forces taking place within the organization or individual and then show how our solution changes the organization or individual for the better, that is, how we not only solve a problem but at the same time advance the goals of the organization or individual.
Although not a new idea, Clay’s format for relaying the idea makes it easy to understand the steps in turning selling from a simple solution orientation to a change management orientation. Rather than lengthy chapters of detail and endless discussion, Clay has divided the book into 107 “secrets” which are themselves divided into 5 sections which together make up what he calls the Change Leadership Framework?:
Force Field Analysis: Which asks what change force is the customer feeling?
Change Response Analysis: Understanding how the customer is responding to this change force.
Power Analysis: What effort will the customer have to undertake to make the necessary change?
Value Creation: What value will the customer experience from the change?
Change Actuation: How will the change be made?
Each “secret” then has its own short, two-page chapter broken into three parts:
- What I Need To Know: a brief description of the secret
- What I Need To Do: an action that must be taken based on what you now know
- Action Summary: a couple of bullet points about what you just learned
The 107 secrets range from the obvious such as “No One Needs Your Product,” to the obscure such as “Stay Away from Turtles,” to the critical such as “Where There Is Change, There Is Conflict.” Each new secret builds upon the previously explored secrets.
If you’re looking for a change primer, Selling Change is an excellent starting point. If you’re more advanced, I’d recommend Sharon Drew Morgen’s Dirty Little Secrets instead as it is currently the definitive book on change management within the purchasing process.
Selling Change’s great asset is its simple to read basic content laid out in such a manner as to make both reading and implementation easy. In fact, the only drawbacks to the book are that it is too basic in some areas where I’d like to see the secret explored in more detail (difficult to do when each is relegated to only two pages) and–as a purely personal issue with the book–Clay quotes himself several times, a practice I find very irritating and in poor taste.
The book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other fine booksellers.