Your marketing and sales messages must answer a series of key questions to get attention and drive a decision forward. In fact, you should focus on answering the “why questions” that emerge as a decision comes to the fore.

Just remember: The question on which most decisions stall is, “Why should I change?”

Consider this simple equation: D x V x F > Resistance. In this equation, D represents discomfort or dissatisfaction with the status quo, V is the vision of what a new approach can deliver, and F stands for the first practical steps that must be taken to move in the new direction.

Since all of the factors are multiplicative, they all must be clearly and powerfully addressed — and all must be fully acknowledged by targeted stakeholders.

“Unless people are uncomfortable with the status quo, they’re not really motivated to change,” says change management expert Gary Cokins. “If they believe that the vision is overly theoretical, impractical or too expensive, they’re not going to pursue it. And with F, they have to have a place to start and show early results with successful pilots or rapid prototyping techniques. So you really need all three.”

You can overcome the resistance, but you’ll have to master this equation to do it.