And in the beginning, there was “stuff”. Folks made “stuff”. Other folks used that “stuff”. And it was pretty direct. Then the world evolved and the people that made “stuff” wanted more income so they hired a new breed of a person called a “salesperson” whose job was to go out and find additional people to buy the “stuff” they were selling. For the most part, it appears that this all started with the barter system as early as 6000 BC. Trading goods for goods or service worked pretty directly but did not scale well. Somewhere around 3000 BC, basic product selling started to take a foothold. That seems to have stayed pretty stable for a LONG time…
In the mid-1800’s we morphed into an influential way of talking folks into what we wanted them to believe, and buy…. Some have called this the “snake oil” era. In the 1900’s we worked our way through fundamentals driven by brilliance by Dale Carnegie and onto offerings like PSS, Solution selling, LAMP, Value selling, etc, etc, etc, and on to Challenger. And every one of those had value and taught us a great deal. Social media now seems to drive the world for good and bad and now we need to figure out what that looks like in the brand new B2B world. Considering the events of 2020 I can say that we do not really have an idea of how this will all unfold, AND it will be different than what we view today in many respects.
I do also believe that the guiding client elements that we need to stay focused on, going forward, are the same BIG3 client elements that have always been key.
We define the BIG3 as helping the client…
- Grow THEIR revenue
- Reduce THEIR total costs (not product pricing)
- Mitigate THEIR risks.
We know from serving 120,000 clients around the world that regardless of role, country, or business model, the BIG3 is critical to every person we serve.
If you can put what you DO into one of those 3 elements you can have great 2-way conversations with people that make a difference to them and that matters to us both. Products, technologies, hardware, and software, are all vital, and if you don’t have world-class in those, you should consider your options. However, all of them are now table stakes, the price of entry into the game, the starting point for the race. They are absolutely critical and we had all better know our “stuff” very well.
And yet that is not enough. Not really. The real battle is in the mind of the client and what we each DO to help them make a difference in their world and with their clients. Stuff is great. Stuff is needed. Stuff is not enough. YOU are the differentiator!
There are a great number of new things that dealing with COVID-19 has taught us, or more accurately, reminded us of the importance of. To me, the ONE thing that will stick out and that I will work to make sure we all keep is the value of PLANNING. Preparation before every call, planning before every conversation, every email, every video. The time that we have with people is precious. We have been way too casual about wasting other's time and that has been reflected to us over the years as we study what clients value, or don’t when we work with them. Making sure that we value other's time and ensure that every interaction we have makes a difference is what we owe those that we serve. It takes serious planning to accomplish that. Where I work we use the thinking of….
Prepare well for everything. Execute according to plan, which seldom gets to happen. Review and learn from every action. The after-action review is not a new concept. We just need to live it!
Be well, stay safe, make a difference!