“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A. Edison
If you were trying to figure out how to create a light bulb, how would you have gone about it? Would you have never gotten started because no one had ever created a light bulb before? Would you have stopped after trying twenty materials? Or would you have done a thousand experiments as Edison did to find the life changing invention of the tungsten filament?
Someone asked him if he felt like a failure for his thousand failed experiments. He looked at the person funny and told him that he now new 999 ways not to do it.
Creating something unique is nothing more than work. If each of Edison’s experiments took five hours, then you can consider the modern day light bulb took 5,000 man hours. Would you work 5,000 man hours to create General Electric or change the world? What price would you pay for the materials? What if it cost ten dollars an experiment. Would you pay $10,000 to make billions of dollars?
The typical business wants to get a sale without earning a sale. If what you offer sells for an average of $1,000, would you spend $100 to make the sale? What if it took you 100 hours to put the system together to make the $1,000 sale? Would you work the 100 hours to build the system? Or is it about “working” 100 people with a handshake, smile and hope? Hope is a poor strategy.
Nothing has changed since Edison’s time. Opportunity is there in the midst of an inattentive economy for those who are willing to pay a price in sweat, equity, and cash. To think you can merely be likable and get something for nothing puts you in the commodity game. You are invisible and irrelevant. It’s not what the customer wants.
Selling in today’s economy means having a system for selling. Systems allow the customer to have a predictable result, which is what a business delivers. A system requires the following:
- Technology: The right technology which scales with your business and changes when the rules change.
- Process: An understanding and mapping of the steps to deliver a predictable experience.
- People: Talented professionals who execute their role within the process using the technology.
- Leadership: The team never executes perfectly. There are always problems in the technology. Leadership guides the resources of a system to the goal.
To build a robust system requires the following talents:
- Systems Thinking: An understanding of how the sum of the parts drives the whole.
- Process Thinking: Linear and orderly documentation of the right steps for execution.
- Talent Scouting: Can quantitatively and qualitatively map people to roles.
- Technology Mastery: All the technology to drive a world-class sales process and create a customer experience. Picking the wrong ones have large consequences.
- Leadership: Making decisions and moving everyone to a goal.
Businesses fail because of the blind spots of leaders. They are not candid with their strengths and weaknesses. To attract, engage and win customers requires gaining attention and trust. It requires a system which will produce this result. Take this test to assess yourself based on a scale of 1-5 points per question. 1=Do not possess, 2=Struggle with this area, 3=Some success in this area, 4=Have had consistent success in this area, 5=Mastery and teaching of this area. Be as honest as possible:
__ I have thought about and implemented systems.
__ I have designed and built processes for people to follow.
__ I know software products inside out.
__ I have set direction and helped people follow.
__ I am always thinking of ways to enhance the customer experience.
Take a look at your total score and compare with these assessments:
21-25: You are qualified and capable of delivering a business system for creating a customer experience.
16-20: You will be learning in areas, but delivering a business system is doable.
5-15: You will cost yourself and your business much more by seeking to design and implement a selling system. Hire an expert.
The army has a saying, “Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!” It is simple leadership decision making. You must lead your customer with a selling system and approach which wows them. However, if you are not the best person to build the system, the best business decision is to get the help you need.
Selling should be by design. How to attract a customer should be by design. How to engage that customer thereafter should be well scripted. How to win them and service them must be an airtight execution.
The heavy lifting of selling will be in the cost of time, money and failure to get a selling system creating a predictable result. When you have such a system, customers find you. They buy from you. They tell others about you. Don’t miss the opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls.