By Fred Copestake
This photo was taken at the entrance to a hotel nightclub in Amman, Jordan. I was just passing (honest) but it caught my attention and did indeed make me think.
I have written previously about trying to take another person’s perspective (Please Don’t Force Christmas on Me) and maintain that this ability is especially important for sales people. Advice I often give is to be childlike and ask questions to try to make sense of things. This is NOT the same as being childish! Useful knowledge for the professional seller to avoid this is an understanding of Transactional Analysis or how the ego states of Parent/Adult/Child interact. More of this another time.
Thinking differently is also useful in problem solving. As modern selling moves towards an ever more collaborative approach it is useful to have creative thinking as a means to stimulate and assist in co-creation.
Creative thinking isn’t just for ‘arty types’, everyone is capable and should embrace the benefits its brings. Perhaps sales people more than others. Tools and techniques exist to help break out of our established thinking patterns – a common barrier to creativity.
Things like Mindmapping as promoted by Tony Buzan, Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats and the SCAMPER model are all excellent ways to help both individuals and teams ‘ideate’.
Much is spoken about sales people ‘adding value’ though this is normally a means of describing them as the conduit to how businesses can work together. From this come the concepts of generating insight, challenging, developing value propositions and the like. All important and areas a sales professional should understand and undertake.
But what about adding value on an individual level? At each and every interaction with the customer?
The ability to think differently and use this skill to help others do this is without doubt something that will help achieve this. Spinning a different angle or uncovering a different perspective is the type of behaviour that gets a sales person invited back. Though perhaps not fully consciously, customer will know that interaction are useful, that the help them. This is ‘adding value’.
So, if you are a professional sales person, or have responsibility for a team, think (differently) about whether you can do this. Think (differently) about the results this could help you achieve. Think (seriously) about getting in touch to explore how it can be achieved.