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How Sales Reps Can Overcome 'Fear of Change' Objections

By Ken Diekemper on May 8, 2019 2:03:57 PM

Topics: Sales
ej4 Blog - How Sales Reps Can Overcome Fear of Change Objections

Why is your prospect hesitating to change?

They don’t trust you. They have other sellers ahead of you. They struggle with the price. They don’t have time to haggle or move forward. And one of the hardest to nail down, they are heavily resistant to change.

Let’s eliminate the other objections first: You have built strong rapport with the decision makers. You have shown that your solution will be effective and is better than the competition’s. They agree that your solution’s value matches the price well. The timing of implementation is perfect. They still fear your proposed change.

When prospects fear change, it’s for many reasons.

  • The current solution is adequate. With a little extra work here and some duct tape there, they can make it keep working. “If it ain’t broke……….”.
  • They question whether their peers will agree with their decision to change.
  • They had a negative experience with a similar change in the past and they don’t want to repeat.
  • It’s THEIR decision. THEY are solely responsible for this change. THEY, and THEY alone will be accountable if the change does not bring the positive effect THEY were promised (by you) will occur.
  • They have no real experience with your solution. Fear of the unknown.


ej4 Blog - Overcoming Fear of Change Objections


But these reasons don’t mean you can’t overcome the ‘fear of change’ response. It just takes time and patience to hit the right nerve. Here are some quick pointers to subdue your prospect’s urge to resist change.

Monetize Their Pain

If you have sufficiently identified their problems that need your solution, you need to find a way to put a dollar amount on those problems. For example, if the existing solution is costing them more than your solution, it’s easy to point out that the longer they wait to make a change, the more it is affecting their bottom-line. Another example: their current solution is causing frequent interruptions of service, you can show how those interruptions are costing their company significant loss of revenue. Again, the longer they wait to make a change, the more it is affecting their bottom line.

Eliminate Surprises with Support

If you know you’ve covered most of their true needs and their concerns are with implementation and the responsibility falling on their shoulders, you must assure them your training and support system will be top-notch in the beginning, middle, and end of the contract. And to prove that you’re not blowing smoke their way, you need to offer customer testimonials and multiple references to support your, well, support.

Clear the Air with Positive Change Examples

Unless this is the first client for your company, surely you’ve got customer success stories from using your product. If not, then it’s time to go research and build that credibility report. If some client saw their profit margins increase because your product helped upsell other items, or if the quality of your product created more loyal customers for client “X” - whatever case study points out how your ability to convince them to change to you caused substantially happy smiles on both sides.

Give Them Ammo to Help Them Battle the Nay-Sayers

Sympathize with the decision maker. Explain that you understand that they may be confronted by peers that won’t like their decision. Provide them with multiple reasons why their decision is the correct one. Provide them with explanations of how they could minimize any potential downsides to their decision. The loudest nay-sayer after all may be the one in the decision maker’s head, and you just silenced the voice.

Unlike many of the other objections that decision makers produce, the fear of change is not normally one they will openly admit to. If you’ve addressed all the other objections properly and a decision is still not forthcoming, assume the fear of change is present. 

Additional Reading

  • View a few of the selling skills training videos from ej4.
  • You can access our full series on handling objections along with our full Business Skills and Workplace Compliance libraries in a free trial of our Thinkzoom LMS.
  • Read our related blog on “The Definition of Sales Insanity.”
  • Do your sales people spend most of their time on the road? Read the case study about how we helped a client whose employees needed mobile training.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 27, 2014 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.


Ken Diekemper

Written by Ken Diekemper

With over 35 years of sales and sales management experience in retail, pharmaceutical, financial, data security, and learning and development industries, Ken has not only sold, but also hired, trained, and coached sales executives at all levels of experience.

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