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Getting Comfortable ...

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

By Star Report 3 min read

By Oren Jacobson, Market Analyst - New Home Star

Recently, I was watching a highly respected civic leader discuss what she believes to be the key for driving improved results. Her answer stunned me. She said she identifies the areas that make people the most uncomfortable--the things most of us would rather not discuss--and then she forces those discussions to happen.


Though she wasn't talking about sales, per say, it resonated immediately as an applicable approach to our world. It reminded me of a common trait I've seen in great sales professionals across all industries: They aren't afraid to make people uncomfortable. 


Bear with me for a moment. I know this doesn't immediately feel right. We obviously want our customers to be comfortable. We don't associate the idea of 'discomfort' with the goal of a positive consumer experience that ends in a purchase and a happy buyer.


That being said, with almost every substantial purchase you make, and especially with something as critical as the purchase of a home, you naturally experience a high degree of discomfort. Fear is uncomfortable, anxiety is uncomfortable and being overwhelmed by information is uncomfortable. Making major decisions, spending large sums of money, and the pressure of getting things right for your family can be very uncomfortable too. 


If we are being honest with ourselves, we know that each of our customers experience some level of discomfort. More importantly, we know that their discomfort impacts the way they engage with us and go about their decision-making process. If we can all agree on that fact then let's consider an important question: When do people buy?


People buy when the value and benefits they expect to gain from the product or service outweigh the concerns (discomforts) that might hold them back. They buy when their gain exceeds their fear. We know this already, right? That's why we focus on a process that leads them to want our product and then to feel like it is okay to have it. 


A moment ago, we agreed that a buyer's process and engagement is impacted by discomfort. It makes sense, then, to uncover, address and reduce that discomfort directly, as quickly as possible. This requires us to ask tough questions and have intentional conversations. If you want to reduce stress (and thus discomfort) you have to start by making people uncomfortable. 


You have to talk about the hard stuff. Great sales professionals run head-first into their customer's discomfort, because they know they must in order to make them feel secure in their decision. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Oren Jacobson holds an MBA with an emphasis in strategic management and is currently working on receiving his master's degree in economics and policy analysis at DePaul University in Chicago. As the lead strategic marketing analyst for New Home Star, Jacobson specializes in helping builders maximize their asset positioning through market segmentation, consumer alignment and data analysis. He also leads the NHS team in the creation of training tools and resources to develop and enhance their expertise in sales.


Originally published Sep 21, 2016 under Explore the latest topics, updated March 15, 2024

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