I’m Steve Davis and I want to talk about who your biggest competitor is going to be. When I do my seminars and workshops, I always ask that question. I get startups always raising their hand and basically saying ‘my biggest competitor is fill-in-the-blank company’. That can’t be more further from the truth. Your biggest competitor is the status quo, the way they’re doing business today. Your job is to convince them that they need to change.

Challenge the Status Quo

We have this grand and glorious ideal about the human race. By U.S. standards, the pioneer spirit, conquering the West, overcoming adversity. In Star Trek terms, going where no one has gone before. The thing is, most people are fat, dumb, and happy, and don’t like change. And they protect the status quo. The reason is, why? You’ve got a better product, it saves a lot more money, it’s more efficient, it’s easier to use. Why won’t they change?

The thing is, life gets in the way. Think about your own life, professionally and personally. You know, you have this thing over here on the side that you’ve been using forever. You know it, it’s a known quantity, it’s cumbersome, but you know it and you don’t have to learn anything. Life throws you so much garbage on a daily basis – you’re putting out fires all the time.

Think about your own goals that you have for the week: how many did you actually get to because too many fires took up your time from getting to it? So you have to have a real compelling reason to get them to change.

Change Your Strategic Planning

This is not just from a business standpoint in sells, but it’s also from a company standpoint in the way you’re doing business internally and the way you look at the business. Most companies do strategic planning wrong. They never ask the key question ‘does our business model still make sense?’ And even if they do, they’re too engaged in protecting the status quo – this is the way we do business, this is the way we’ve always done business, these are who are customers are. The problem is, the market is passing you by.

Think about the big companies out there that are no longer around: Kodak, Polaroid, Digital Equipment Corporation, there are hundreds of them. And they all did strategic planning. But they never challenged the status quo, they were too busy in protecting the way they’re doing business today. People protect the status quo, internally to the company – whether it’s management, or people within the organization. So you are going to end up getting a lot of pushback. You’ve just got to plow ahead and make those changes.

When you’re selling, you’ve got to convince the buyer they need to change the status quo. So you have to have a compelling reason for them to do that, and it’s your job to figure out what that compelling reason is going to be.