by AlexAnndra Ontra
If I had a dollar for every time I heard a client say, “But this is how we do it!” I could retire quite comfortably.
Unfortunately, I don’t.
So instead, I try to help our clients embrace change by demonstrating how Shufflrr and good presentation management strategy makes their jobs easier and helps them become more effective in their roles.
It’s not an easy task, to say the least, thanks to human nature.
People are afraid of the unknown. The familiar is our security blanket. Knowing where we will be and what we will be doing tomorrow makes us feel safe and secure. So any effort to change what we perceive as safe and secure—especially in our jobs, i.e., our livelihoods—will be resisted.
Even changes for the better are met with resistance for the same reason. But whether we like it or not, the world is always changing and those who refuse to change with it will be left behind.
Technology is always changing. New versions and upgrades are always being released. Sooner or later, there will always be a newer, better, faster way to do something. And for a company to survive in spite of these changes, it must stay current and competitive in the market.
In business, clinging to the that’s just the way we do it mantra just because it feels safe is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, an open mind and a willingness to learn can go a long way in helping to improve and grow your business. As I mentioned above, good presentation management strategy is one thing you can implement to drastically improve your business. To learn how, download our definitive guide:
As it relates to presentation management solutions and Shufflrr in particular, most of our end users are very excited about Shufflrr’s visualization of content, ease of use, and an array of features.
But there are always a few holdouts who feel as though this new solution is being “forced” on them. They’re unfamiliar with Shufflrr and therefore it’s out of their comfort zone. We call these folks the “Resisters”—and this is how we help them, specifically. But I think these tactics can work in a lot of different situations.
First, we try to understand how the change is perceived. Oftentimes, employees feel like change has been thrust upon them:
In all three scenarios, the employee—the important and valued member of the team—is losing something.
Loss, even in business, is emotional. When someone loses something, they need empathy and compassion to help them return to better spirits. Now, I know that sounds a little “New Agey” for a blog written for enterprise-level sales and marketing teams. (Don’t worry: I’m not going to recommend healing crystals.) But seriously, the best way to convince anyone to do anything is to put yourself in their shoes and try to see the situation from their point of view.
In our business, that means starting with analyzing and understanding the current system—which includes the human habits of the job and existing workflows as well as the software features and functions they’ve grown comfortable with over the last several months or years.
Once we’ve figured it out, it’s time to follow this four-step plan that helps convince even the most stubborn folks to at least try something new:
- Compare and contrast the old way with the new way. Acknowledge and appreciate the positives of the old system. There was a reason the client used the old platform to begin with, after all. Listen and hear what the Resisters have to say about the old system. Not only will it give you a better understanding of your client’s overall business, it will also help you find similarities between the old system and the new one. Remember, we all like what’s familiar. Sell them on what they already know and encourage them to take baby steps to get them moving in the right direction. Starting with what’s familiar will allay their fears and encourage them to give the new way a try.
- Highlight the differences. Don’t try to hide them—you won’t fool anyone. Instead, explain how the new and different features will help and improve their situation and make their jobs easier—which you now understand because you completed Step 1.
- Look at things from your client’s perspective. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to ask yourself the same questions that they might be thinking. Once you’ve come up with several questions that are likely on their minds, discuss them with the client. Some concerns may include:
- How long will it take to learn this new system? Shufflrr’s training sessions take about 30–45 minutes. It’s pretty intuitive. But, if you have a more complicated system, break the training down into manageable chunks. Again, take baby steps.
- Will this be more work for me? No one wants more work.
- Will this make my job irrelevant? Nobody wants to replace themselves with robots.
- Will my sales team actually use this or will they complain about it? Make sure the solution is the right tool for the job.
- Will this have a positive impact on my job performance and on my career? Anything that helps folks develop new skills and grow as professionals is worthwhile.
- Plan for a phased approach. All of the above are pretty big issues. That being the case, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to solve all of them in a single 30-minute meeting. People need time to digest new ideas, think about what they mean and then adapt accordingly. A phased approach will make it easier for new users to learn about the benefits of the new system, except that they’re going to use it and then, once they’re comfortable with it and realize how it makes their job easier, advocate for it.
It’s hard for most of us to make any kind of change—let alone a big one.
No one wants to be forced into doing something. While a phased approach for implementing new technology and new workflows—or selling SaaS products—may take longer and feel tedious over the near term, it’ll give you better results over the long term.
Listen to what your customers are saying and incorporate their feedback into your pitches and onboarding efforts. That way, you’ll get the buy-in needed to yield the results both you and your clients are aiming for. Not only will this encourage clients to purchase your services in the first place, it will also delight them and build a long-term trusted partnership.
With the right approach, it’ll only be a matter of time before your customers’ but this is just how we do it evolves into I can’t believe we used to do it that way.
AlexAnndra Ontra, co-founder of Shufflrr, is a leading advocate for presentation management. She has been providing presentation technology and consulting services to global enterprises for over 15 years.
At Shufflrr, she oversees all client services and is a leading expert in presentation management strategy, implementation, and adaptation.
This article originally appeared on the Shufflrr site.