Fighting Inertia: How to cause change

I recently switched my credit card processor from Paypal to PowerPay.  This was a result of Paypal freezing my account and sitting on thousands of my dollars for ten full days.  I was trying to upgrade my account with them to add a few features we are needing here at Out:think headquarters.  The result was Paypal locking down my account so I could not withdrawal or use my money in any way.  It took a week and a half, several emails, four phone calls and losing my temper with a “customer service” agent to get them to release my funds.  The ripple effects of this caused huge problems internally.

So I switched.

The problem is that several people had been telling me for a long time to switch away from Paypal.  I had heard plenty of horror stories similar to mine, yet I didn’t switch.  Why not?  One word: inertia.

My company cards, bank account and invoicing were all tied into Paypal.  Switching involved paperwork, phone calls and lots of internal changes.  Every time I thought about it I would put it off because of the work it required.  It took a huge amount of pain to finally break that inertia and get me to switch to a better option.

This is what you are fighting when you are spreading your idea and growing your tribe.  If you are asking people to change you are fighting inertia on some level.  So what can you do to break this?  Here’s a few tips:

  1. Focus on the pain points – The truth is there were a lot of reasons I should have left Paypal long before they froze my account.  The problem was I kept ignoring them and assuming it wasn’t that big of a deal.  When you are asking people to make a change, focus on the points of pain they are living with and how life will be better by coming over to your side.  Force them out of ignoring the problems.
  2. Offer a better option – While many people suggested switching away from Paypal, the question had to be answered of what was the better option.  If you are asking people to change, you have to clearly show what you are asking them to change to.  Make it easy and focus on the benefits.
  3. Never say “I told you so” – Obviously, a part of me felt like an idiot for waiting until a disaster hit before I made a change.  When I told my story to a friend that had recently encouraged me to ditch Paypal, he just laughed and said “We’ve all been there.”  You have to base everything in love and caring.  Your motives have to be grounded in wanting to help people, even after they’ve been burned by not taking your advice.

Causing changing is often a long, hard process but it can be done.  Focus on the pain points, point out the better option and always base it in love and you will continue to make an impact.

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