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[SDS] Change management & sales

[SDS] Change management & sales

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
2 min read

[Reading time: 2m 1s]

It’s time for me to lose some weight.

One thing you might not know about me is that I’m bigger than average. Like, linebacker-big.

In fact, when I meet people in person the first time they usually comment on my size. “You’re taller than I imagined,” they say.

Being tall also means I can carry a lot of weight. I like to eat, too, which makes weight gain a fun hobby. Add 5 days a week of weightlifting and here I am, weighing in at 265 pounds (or about 19 stone, or about 120 kilos).

How to lose weight is easy, but actually doing it is something else.

It’s a classic study in habits, but it’s also a study in change management. In fact, Kathleen Dannemiller’s formula for change is quite useful to show what’s so hard about losing weight:

C = D x V x F > R


  • C = change
  • D = dissatisfaction with how things are now
  • V = vision of what is possible
  • F = first concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision
  • R = resistance

The reason I haven’t lost the weight is that R is too great, and D is too small. I’m resistant to making changes – I really like beer, whiskey, and dessert – and I’m not dissatisfied enough with how things are.

Which is to say I’m not in enough pain.

Without enough pain, no change will occur. Whether it’s just me wanting to drop 30 pounds, or a company wanting to improve some aspect of their business, the pain has to be there. I’ll make it pithier for you:

No pain, no change.

I send out thought-provoking pieces to you every day, and you read them, but you haven’t acted yet. Clearly you’re interested in what I have to say. Why haven’t you taken action, or contacted me for help? Just refer to the model and make your self-assessment.

Let’s look back at the Dannemiller’s model for change, and use “0” as our input for D, dissatisfaction with the way things are. Multiply it across, and no matter how low the resistance to change, how strong the vision, or how concrete the first steps, there’s still no way to make a change:

This is a core axiom of sales and marketing. Now, you can’t really input numbers into the model to quantify the likelihood of change. This isn’t really a math problem so much as it’s a useful model to understand what’s causing clients to buy an engagement from you (or not).


You can make an estimate of the likelihood of change by asking great questions.

You can increase the likelihood of change by exposing your client’s pain, creating a stronger vision, and laying out a plan or framework for how the vision is achievable.

So my question for you today:

What are you doing to lead change during your sales process?