I heard it again several times this past week. As we start to wind down a bit from mask use in the U.S. the conversation is again quickly devolving into “getting back to where we were, and what we used to do”. While I understand the sentiment, that can never happen. Actually, it’s just a matter of physics and the fact that none of us own a time machine (at least that I know of). We can never go backward. We can only go forwards. So with that as a baseline, how are we going to act? What are we going to do? The new future is up to you. We have all learned a great deal about ourselves, our teams, and our clients. We have learned how to make the best out of many things that we did not understand before. For most of us our clients now clearly tell us that they PREFER our communication style, our preparation, and our succinctness, in our new operating method.
We should listen closely to what they have to say WITHOUT the filter of “getting back to what we used to do”.
Our old standards of measuring success, revenue $$ per salesperson, never did tell the story, and it most certainly does not even come close in today’s new world. In reality, the complex sale has gotten even more complex. Not too long ago the thinking was that there were something like 6-8 people involved in every client decision. Conversations with clients now tell us that is more than 10 in nearly every case. And those 10 are diverse in location, role, and decision-making capability. Corporate concern for all things litigious has driven the consensus-making process to the max. Everyone is concerned about covering their backsides. RISK avoidance has gone from a nice thing to understand to MUST have of every part of the situations we face, at all levels.
And helping our client mitigate risk is actually the singular most valuable role that we can jointly assume with them. In the realm of the Client BIG3 (helping them grow their revenue, helping them reduce their total costs, helping them manage their risks) the management of risk has quickly risen to the top of the heap of serving our clients. Products, technologies, and services are the WHAT of our actions.. the power exists in the WHY. Understanding the client's business challenges is the ONLY way to differentiate our efforts.
Face-to-face is NOT more powerful to help us understand our clients. In fact, our use of video has repeatedly shown us that a one-on-one video call is more likely to be MORE candid and open than any time in the past when we were across the conference room table from someone. The intimacy that is provided is VERY powerful if you care enough to make it so. The ability to quickly reach out and connect with someone at every level has become a new way of life. Going backward into time-bound meetings in conference rooms will not make us better. It might make some of us happier as we kill time in airport terminals waiting for the next canceled flight and grab that quick refresher to pick us up.
So, I ask you all, please don’t hurry to go backward. Take what we have all learned and deploy it to the maximum benefit of our CLIENTS. Ask them, how they would like to be served! Then take time to…
Serve endlessly, with
OK, LET’s ROLL!