That’s Just How It Is (Issue 1003)

In which we are reminded that ‘status quo’ is a challenging sales obstacle.

I think it was January 2015 or, at least, late Fall 2014. One of my friends purchased his smart phone just after its September 2014 release date. I recall that, at the time he purchased it, he said, “I like the size.” He carried the phone to countries on three continents in planes, trains, ferries, rental cars, sailboats, and rafts. He carried it up mountains, down rivers, and across streams. He replaced the phone screen several times after dropping the phone and replaced the battery at least once. He and the phone were inseparable…until a week ago.

After an initially promising screen replacement about a month ago, he said, “At work, today, I was receiving calls I couldn’t answer because the screen wouldn’t respond when I touched it. I could receive text messages but not send them. I love this phone… and I can’t do this anymore.”

So, last Saturday, he purchased a new phone.

A few days later, I asked him, “How do you like the new phone?”

“It’s AMAZING,” he said. “And, it’s amazing to me how much I adapted to my old phone. When I’d read the paper in the morning, it would take me an hour because every time I would forward an article it would shut down. There were times that I would swipe and I couldn’t answer the phone. Or it wouldn’t respond to my touch.”

“What stopped you from getting a new phone, sooner?”, I asked

“I don’t know… I guess I thought ‘that’s just how it is.’”

[I like that ending: “That’s just how it is.” Period. End of story. However, if it would be helpful for me to draw a lesson from this (and there are many possible lessons!), I’m going with “status quo is a challenging obstacle.”]

Many clients get comfortable with “that’s how we do it” (which made sense at the time they started doing it that way) and adapt to the limitations, giving up significant potential benefits of updating things whether we’re talking about their back-office processes or the cars they drive.

A good question to ask: “What would tell you it might be the right time to….” buy a new phone, implement digital processing, switch to a new bank, buy a new car, whatever.

And, whatever their answer, the follow up question could be, “ And have you reached that point?”

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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