Clients, Customers, Patrons and Followers.
Business Partners, Colleagues, Execs and Bosses.
Your Parents, Your Spouse, and especially your Kids.
All the people you interact with, each one is orbiting a set of ideas: their own.
That set of ideas? That’s their home base, their comfort zone, their star system. It has a strong attraction, a strong pull. It’s a gravity well that makes sure they stay within reach. It’s what they know, it’s what they’ve known, and it’s what they’ll continue to know.
Selling to them? Well, you’re competing with that gravity well. For them to accept your idea, they have to want to change to another orbit.
The best way to help change orbit?
Help Them Make Some Progress
It won’t work. Trying to sell an idea won’t work. Trying to change a perception or a point of view, it won’t work. That is, unless they want to make some kind of progress.
Only when a struggle is felt will there be a need for progress. A difficulty, an annoyance, a tight spot, a wall they’ve hit, a crisis they’ve plunged into. Whether it’s a situation that happened for the first time, or whether it’s a situation that’s come up too many times, the struggle is the thing that gets people off their chair.
The Struggle is One of Four Forces
Selling an idea is like selling a product. An idea is purchased like a product is purchased. Products are bought, ideas are bought into.
In the process of discerning a purchase, there are four forces at play in the mind of the person. We call them the Four Forces of Progress.
- ⚬→ The Struggle of the Moment pushes you off your chair toward action.
- →⚬ The Attraction to the Solution pulls you toward the product or solution or idea.
- ←⚬ The Anxieties of the Solution push you away from the product or solution or idea.
- ⚬← The Habits of the Present pull you back to your current current situation, back to your gravity well.
If the first two forces are greater than the last two forces, you’ve got a sale. If not, the user goes back to their gravity well. No sale. No change. No changing orbits.
Eventually, the Forces Will Check Out
When you’re thinking that someone you work with is missing out by not being open to your idea, don’t sweat, it’s not time yet.
When your client is set in their ways and they won’t take your advice, that’s because it’s not time yet for them to change orbit.
Your teenage kid is asserting her independence and not taking your ideas? It’s not yet the right moment.
But the time will eventually come. One day, there will be a struggle that will push the person forward ⚬→ , give them momentum. That’s when your idea might become attractive →⚬ , create fewer anxieties ←⚬ , and truly be better than not changing anything at all.
Mapping Out the Forces
While you’re waiting for that person to be ready, map out the forces:
Struggle of the moment:
Right now, what is the person struggling with?
Attraction to the solution:
What’s attractive about what you’re proposing?
Anxieties about the solution:
What is causing some form of anxiety or hesitation about what you’re proposing?
Habits of the present:
What will the person revert back to instead of going with what you’re proposing?
Continue doing that exercise until you get a clear sense of what’s happening. At some point, the forces are going to check out, and it’ll be time to make a strong proposal.
You’ll be ready to sell your idea. They’ll be ready to change orbit. Lift off! 🚀
Unless your idea ain’t that good.