Not long ago, on a sunny Sunday morning, my wife and I were sitting on the veranda of our new house, browsing through some interior design magazines. Well, it was not a new house; in fact, the foundations went back to 1972, but it had potential. Taking turns, we pointed to pictures of amazing renovations feeding us for inspiration of how our dated kitchen, floors and heating could look like. It would make an enormous difference, not only improving our quality of life but also the value of our home. I also remember that it took us countless trips to home interior shops to get inspiration and compare quality and price again. But every time we came back empty-handed, we could not make our final decisions. Not because we lacked the ideas, we just did not feel confident to make that first step towards achieving our vision. This changed only after we bumped into a tradesman, actually by coincidence, who provided us with the necessary information that was missing all along. He shared pictures of renovations he did at other homes. Although the examples did not exactly match how we had envisioned our dream home, what he showed us was realistic and feasible for our budget. So now, this became our new vision. This was when we agreed to decide to start because we had something and someone to guide us. So instead of dreaming, we took action. And we never looked back.
In business, it is not much different. People at all levels of an organization have ideas. Innovative programs are created to motivate staff to think with the company. Their motto is always: “We listen to your ideas”! Numerous senior management meetings and workshops are held to brainstorm about the next growth opportunities, the future profit enablers and cost initiatives that can positively impact the bottom line. Often though, many of the ideas are not coming to fruition. Plans are submitted to project leaders but end up on deaf ears. Not because the ideas are not good. They all contribute to the company’s vision. The hardest part for an organisation is to start taking action. They have their vision, but they feel not confident to define that vision into a strategy and action. What if they are wrong?
So they go back to their drawing boards and question themselves:
- What is actually the challenge amongst all challenges?
- Have they all the needed information at hand?
- What does their data say?
- What do their customers want?
- What do their competitors do?
- Do they know what is coming?
- How can they stay ahread of the curve?
Can you see more clearly now that in such a complex customer’s world, you can be that “tradesman” that coincidently helps the customer with information that was missing all along? You talk business and you can help them to shape a feasible vision. By sharing stories about how you have helped other customers in similar situations, you make visions tangible. You change the customer’s perception about their current situation and how their future can look like. You stand out from your competitor sales reps, who are only talking about their solutions. In this world, the salesperson who shapes their customer’s vision will definitely be the one who commands their time and their attention. You help them to decide to take action. Their new vision is no longer just a dream.
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