Most people hate risk. A select few really do love it, but willy-nilly risk-taking is not a formula for success. Some say they love it, but not-so-secretly hedge their bets. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s wise.
When you’re asking someone to do something new with their business, you’re asking them to take a risk. First, understand that it may not seem as risky to you as it does to them.
You’re thinking, “I’ve seen this work many times before” or “It’s a relatively small investment”, or “Why would I recommend something that I didn’t think would work?” And they’re thinking, “It’s my money, it’s my business, and at the end of the day, I’m left holding the bag.”
Your job here is to minimize the risk. And one of the best ways to do that is to offer to test. Test the concept in a small region, or for a short period of time, or with a select sampling of customers. In online world, we love A/B testing. You don’t always get what seem like dramatic results, but even a half-percent difference, especially if it holds, can make a huge impact at scale.
Offer to test the current scenario vs. a new one, or Option A vs. Option B — in the case of decision paralysis.
Testing in focus groups or with online evaluation services is useful, especially for real-life ‘debugging’ and idea generation, but it isn’t the best option for business decision-making. The best way to do that is to put new concepts out there IRL — and see what happens.
You may run across an individual who doesn’t believe testing is necessary, because they know best. This can be hard to overcome, but if you can explain the process, include their concept in the test, and make it into a competition, you’re more likely to get the okay for testing. (People who think they know best also often like a friendly competition.)
But remember, be prepared for unexpected results. Even if your concept doesn’t win, at some point it’s hard to argue with the data.
Just keep on testing!