Trick question! Although most salespeople generally don't conceive themselves as such, the reality is that they are change agents.
Take a few minutes to read our most recent topic page on managing change in the workplace, which cites a few situations commonly associated with change management, whether it be introducing a new work process, communication protocol or work environment. These are the types of purposes that people generally ascribe to a change agent, and because of that, it's easy to have a paradigm in which they're now viewed as the only purposes of a change agent. As such, we often fail to acknowledge other roles in which professional success relies just as much on bringing about change.
In considering how salespeople are change agents, look no further than the primary theme of our articles on change management and creating value for customers. In the former, we emphasise throughout that in order to implement change successfully, managers and leaders must understand their people and the psyche of how they react to and embrace change. And in the article on creating value, above all else we stress that in order to create value, salespeople must first solidify their relationship with the customer so that they can understand their current business situation and their goals and aspirations for the future.
Another example of salespeople as change agents is in the communication of change and value. When introducing change, we recommend that managers and leaders communicate what the change is, why it's happening and how it's going to affect people – both professionally and personally. The same exact structure holds true for salespeople when they communicate value: what the product/service proposition will do for the customer, why that will help them and how it will solve their problems – both professionally and personally.
Salespeople: Do you view yourself as a change agent for your customers? If not, the next time you're working on creating value for a prospect, make a conscious effort to think of yourself as one. And leaders and managers, do you ever think of how you can create value for your people when *selling* change? In the end, it's all one in the same, but a different perspective may yield surprising results.