Just a few weeks ago, organizations were in the middle of rolling out their highly strategic annual operating plans and the really BIG things that their corporations and their sales teams were going to diligently focus on for the wonderful year of 2020. Revenue assumptions were made. Marketing plans were created to “gain share” during the times then. Sales plans with quotas, budgets, and all sorts of crazy commission schemes were ready to launch. Events were on the calendar for gatherings and trade shows around the globe. This was the most “global” business environment we had ever witnessed in our lifetimes. WOW! 2020 started off well, mostly. Some early signs about another virus coming from China were starting to appear, but no one guessed where it was headed… at least I did not! However, it became clear shortly that “things” were not headed in a good direction. Then, pretty suddenly, the world stopped, and reality set in. We were frozen in our tracks. Now what….
As my friend Hendre Coetzee says… we all went into PAUSE mode. And for the most part that is where we are today. Annual plans are out the window. Trade shows don’t exist. Even travel to a client is not happening. Revenue objectives of almost every company on the planet are in “revision”. Forecast… what forecast. How do you do that now? Sales commission… based on what plan? (I will write about our Non-commissioned sales team later and the GREAT value that has always had).
Well, we must shift. We must shift into preparing to move into the next phase of what this all means to us. I don’t believe we will go BACK to where we have come from. While challenged, too many good things are happening in our newly learned client engagement process, and we should not be willing to give those up. At the same time, I don’t believe that we need to give up the good from where we have come. There is room for BOTH in the new client engagement process.
While there is tremendous fear around us everywhere, our choice in response is still ours. With respect to business, we all have many choices. Choices of attitude, choices of direction, and choices of actions. Choices, fundamentally of failure or success in a ‘new world”. In our little world where I work we CHOOSE success…regardless of the size or nature of whatever challenge we face, we CHOOSE to overcome every obstacle and create SUCCESS, even in this battle for survival. This requires that we create a system that stays close to our clients, quickly understands what they are seeing change, and rapidly shifting our focus to match their new needs. The heart of SHIFTABLILITY!
We do that by understanding the NEW fears that our clients face. By having tremendous empathy for THEIR battles and concerns. Only after we truly understand and acknowledge our client’s own truths do we open up the conversation about the possibility that there might ALSO be an alternative truth that may be of great value to them.
This way of empathically engaging with a client is known as a PIVOT.
The PIVOT concept in its simplest form is the art of listening closely to a person. Acknowledging what they say and believe, as certainly true… because it IS to them. AND then, after acknowledging their perspective…. offering a complementary idea or concept that opens up another possible outcome or direction of thinking. Listen closely, understand, and acknowledge their view of what they are explaining. Once you openly and clearly accept what they say as true… to them… only then do you pose another concept that may provide an alternate truth. Listen, acknowledge, ask for permission to explore another idea…. Then share.
The PIVOT starts with a very clear understanding that the biggest battlefront that exists today is in the MIND of the client. Fear has gripped our clients with a stranglehold and won’t let go. They have hit the PAUSE button and are frozen in place. We must clearly understand what they are facing, how they are frozen, what their NEW fears are now that we face an invisible enemy… TOGETHER! These times of monumental change create serious reluctance to go down a new path or count on a new resource for help. These times also open up the possibility to connect with a person at levels that you may not have been able to do, up until now. From now on… that openness, based on truly understanding another person is your chance to reach out and serve without reserve!!! Serve endlessly… Serve freely….SERVE… without expectation!!!
The BIG PIVOT that we need now… is a monster… Once we understand what has them in PAUSE mode… we must do the work that moves them from PAUSE …to Planning …to PROGRESS (again from my friend Hendre Coetzee)
From Pause…. To Planning… to Progress….
As we look at today, we must realize that all of what we face right now, will again… SHIFT. And that SHIFT has started. Those that are prepared to guide this next part of the journey will THRIVE!