How to ‘Sell’ Change Effectively

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( — June 14, 2020) — Managers may not think of themselves as salespeople (unless they are actively involved in sales!) but in order to effectively implement change via a change management program – this is exactly what they need to be! Selling change to those expected to implement it can be tricky. Here, we offer some assistance.

The natural human condition is to become comfortable with the status quo and so will be reluctant to move away from existing company procedures that have been repeated for perhaps thousands of times; literally becoming condition behaviour and a “habit”. In order to break a habit; the reward for doing so must be greater or at least feel greater than staying the same – this is the impetus for change, and this is what needs to be sold to company employees.

Knowing how to implement and manage change is something that is second nature to an organisational change management expert and it is becoming more and more apparent in the workforce (in the face of economic and legal changes) that this will soon become part of every employee’s job description. The changing face of the workplace will ultimately require everyone to be accountable and responsible for effecting change whether it’s within their own role or leading other employers down the pathway of change but not everyone is trained to do so and this is where change management courses can help.

*Forbes contributor John Kotter; writer of the blog Change Management Versus Change Leadership – What’s the Difference? defines change leadership as “the engine on the whole change process, and making it go faster, smarter, more efficiently” but this is dependent on selling change effectively to those you are leading.

So how do you sell change effectively?

You do this by acknowledging the following:


The first step is accepting the need for change and being aware and interested enough to know where it needs to take place. Company directors and managers need to change their vision from a linear to a circular approach by thinking creatively, expecting the unexpected and anticipating (and listening to) the needs of both their employees, customers and stakeholders in order to fulfill their needs.


You can’t sell change by creating more chaos whilst doing so. It is imperative to take “counter-resistance” to even the most brilliant of proposals and ensure you have the right amount of knowledge and patience to win people over. Momentum is everything; so communicating the right information at the right time and slowly building passion rather than bulldozing over everything in your path is the way to people’s hearts and minds and the right actions will follow.


Firstly, you will need to have mental toughness and competency to last the distance and inspire enough confidence within your team to do the same. This will require you to pitch in and get your hands dirty because not only are you leading your team, but you are in it together. This sense of unity will help to build respect and gratitude and a positive attitude to get the job done.