Most people in business fill the demand side that already exists. We know we want medical checkups, maid services and cable TV. They are packaged to meet the demand and the competition gets fierce quickly as a result. And then it’s a race to the bottom. Pricing drops and people insist on something that they take for granted because their minds and habits can easily get around a known concept.
The reward for someone doing such business is that they have a concept everyone understands. You can get a piece of the action and work on being better. Whether that is around service or quality, money flows based on the ability to work with what is known.
But, there’s also other types of deals, which I find more fun and creative. It is the type of deal making I work on all the time. You have to see the invisible and bring the pieces together between you, another person and your ideas. You have to make those ideas articulate and real.
This is harder, but the rewards are much higher. This kind of deal making is about being different. You are not getting into the blood bath of competition by being compared and beat down. You are creating, innovating and risking.
It starts with conversations and connections. As you are talking with someone who is opportunistic in their thinking, you can envision possibilities, hopefully. And then the magic starts. You create value from the invisible.
And from years of working with people in business, I have found that a few key focal points make creative deal making a reality.
- Ask the “What if”. Possibilities start with asking this of yourself. What if we could build this into a sellable concept? What if we talked to the right people? What if we took a little bit of risk and invested?
- Work your idea muscle. You have to practice and continue to practice coming up with ideas when you see or hear something that triggers you. If you don’t practice, you don’t create. Share those ideas. It puts your thoughts out into the world.
- Find a testing point. Most of your ideas won’t be entertained seriously. But those that have a shot, it’s important to move to action quickly. It starts something. And you have to translate this into a way to test the idea easily and quickly.
- Get a real customer. If you can get a person to spend money on your idea, then you have a good starting place to expand your idea and refine it. No money, no real idea that works.
- Make it work. It might be obvious, but a lot of ideas die because of a lack of commitment. You have to put a lot of emotion and buy-in right into the endeavor, or the busyness of life and distractions that surround us will simply suffocate the concept.
In my experience, there are so many deals that can be made. But very few people train themselves to see them. And it starts with the people you connect with and conversations you intentionally drive. Otherwise, it’s just an exercise in being social and you lose opportunities.
Here’s a challenge. Turn something invisible into something real. See if you can make a conversation with someone in your network trigger five ideas. Then see if you can move forward on those as something to sell. Tell me how you did.