“Advice is seldom welcomed; and those who want it the most always like it the least” Lord Chesterfield
This is no time for business owners and executives to rest on their laurels or close their eyes. Sure, business has never been stress-free, but it has rarely been harder than it is now. It’s important that business owners and executives understand both why this is true and what can be done to stay on top of your game in a dizzying new environment.
We’re Doing It All
Productivity continues to be high, but that’s because there are fewer people doing more jobs, working long hours and coming up with better ideas. If we don’t remain on the alert (or if we don’t hire back some of those people we’ve ushered to the sidelines) production will fall and our ability to respond to opportunities quickly will drop.
Prospects and Customers Say “Maybe” and “No” More Easily Than They Say “Yes”
We must stay on our toes to give them reasons to move forward with us. They’ll save money. They’ll save time (which is money). They’ll be more productive (which is money). Or they’ll feel happier (which is more important than money sometimes, eh?). Get to yes. Argue with the going wisdom of the day, with the “we have no budget” or “we have a supplier already.” or “we’re not planning to do that until 2014″. Invite your prospects to reconsider their situation with new eyes and a fresh perspective to improve results.
We’re Operating in a New Environment
Picture yourself trying to perform normal everyday tasks in a weightless environment. Your cereal floats away. You can’t maneuver from here to there the way you used to. Doing business today is very similar to being in that situation. People usually don’t answer their phones unless they’re expecting your call. They may make their decisions by doing research online rather than talking to sales people like you. They either make do without, or they do things themselves. (How many major corporations have created their own sales materials, for example, or simply have no current materials? Oh, there’s nothing more impressive than the sales rep drawing the new automation system on a frayed paper napkin at Burger King to show to a key prospect, I’ll tell you!) Take the time to dream up new ways to help your prospect, and to speak to his or her real concerns, which are probably very different than they were two years ago.
Since You’re Wide Awake Anyway, Walk Away From The Lagging Crowd
Think for yourself or find a fresh new adviser that you can share ideas with. Figure out how to develop, value, sell, and build market share for your service or products. Learn about all the new tools and techniques, motivations and buy signals that are working in a strange new world, even as your competition slumps in their seats and the pundits wring their hands.
By the way, coffee helps.