Status Quo – the sales obstacle, not the band..

When we sell to a new client (often in B2B sales) we are trying to change their minds. And the mind is a fascinating thing.

The tendency for most humans is to choose the familiar option. To dumb this down a bit I’ll give myself as an example – when I go for an Indian meal I choose the same dish each time (don’t judge, I don’t get out much and want to be sure I’ll enjoy it!).

When I want to buy an outfit, I’ll go to the same few stores to look around. I know their sizing, I know their quality etc. But the best meals I’ve had haven’t been my normal choice. And the best outfits I’ve worn have been from different stores. And I’ve felt great – maybe part of overcoming the status quo bias is a sense of success and achievement that we went out on a limb and came out smiling?

What exactly is Status Quo Bias?

There have been many studies into Status Quo bias, and they show that people tend towards the familiar, the ‘go-to’ rather than challenge what has become the norm.

“Status quo bias can often mean we fall prey to lazy decision-making, by considering only the option we thought of at the time, or the solution we used before. The more tired, time pressed or stressed we are, the more likely it is we will fall back on the status quo, rather than thinking laterally about a more creative solution., “

Who isn’t tired, time pressed or stressed?

So what does this mean for sales?

If the human tendency is active inertia, and we know we have a great service for them if only they would buy, we need to disrupt their thought and the status quo. Tough gig.

Another example based on my experience would be when we talk about No Fluff to potential clients. Some, in fact most, of those we speak to start working with us as they’re open to change and improvement. They’re happy to look at ways to increase sales as that makes simple business sense.

However, some are rather fearful of disrupting the status quo. We have heard that they’re too busy to think about their sales growth right now, or they don’t want to upset the team by changing processes or introducing a strategy/activity plan/sales plan, or they’re worried that the existing setup was their idea and they don’t want to lose face by changing it.

I understand these objections but when I know we can help them, and we guarantee it (literally), it’s frustrating.

So what can we salesfolk do?

Take a look at your approach. Be aware of your conversions, what objections are you getting?

Here are a few tips to help:

  1. check your messaging.
    are you addressing their fear of change? Showing them the benefits (both emotional and practical) rather than just listing your advantages?
  2. keep messaging concise
    simplicity is key to make decision making easier for them. Skip the superlatives
  3. establish trust
    key to any sale is a sense of trust! This could be via your calls, emails and other touchpoints but also via your marketing messaging.
  4. gain consensus
    decisions are usually made by several stakeholders, involve them to gain consensus, don’t just focus on one person
  5. try presenting as a loss aversion rather than a gain – if they stay as they are what will happen, or what won’t happen?
  6. avoid overwhelm – don’t give too many options! Status quo bias is a fear of change, make it simple and easy for them, guide them through
  7. momentum
    it’s up to you to drive the deal forward without pressuring them too much. Given that they naturally don’t want to change the status quo, it’s up to you to maintain momentum in the sale, reassuring throughout
  8. focus on facts and emotion.
    clients will justify inertia with facts, but often it’s emotion holding them back (fear, insecurity etc). Make sure you are aware of both of these drivers in your conversations

If you’re ready to embrace a bit of change, get your sales rocking and empower your team, get in touch! Book a free No Fluff chat on
Or, if you want to take it slowly, check out our website on and then get in touch..

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