Posted on 06 Aug 08
Years ago I was given a booklet titled – The Tyranny of the Urgent written by Charles E. Hummel. Buy a copy and read it regularly. The premise is simple – we spend too much time distracted by the urgent and too little time on the important.
Stephen Covey created a matrix to help us understand and manage this dilemma. He charted the urgent and the important. I believe it was his book that also drew the analogy of the goose and the golden egg. We all want golden eggs but we all too often neglect the goose. Our fascination with the immediate and short terms blinds us to the real potential and success that are the long term.
These guys are successful, their ideas relevant, and they should be listened to and their gospels embraced. I would however like to add one more “Tyranny” that must be considered in a business with intense competition. This is the Tyranny of Maybe.
Here’s the reality of today’s marketplace. Everyone as a consumer has unlimited options in what, where, and when they can buy. They also have access to more information then they have ever had in the past. Each of us can learn more than we need to know to make any decision we need to make.
As a provider of products and services there is always someone out there that can do what you do better, cheaper, faster, or more efficiently. Our job as a “seller” is to find those prospective buyers that we have a reasonable chance to satisfy – to exceed their expectations. We then must focus our limited time and resources on them and their needs – to provide evidence that what we do is what they want.
The good news is that with the Internet we now can sell to anyone anywhere. The bad news is that anyone anywhere can sell to the people we consider to be our marketing territory. When our universe was limited to the people that lived in our neighborhood or our town or our county (parish) we could “mass market.” Those days are gone. Now we must target. Our first target must be real prospects (people with a reasonable expectation of buying what we’re offering) versus suspects (people nice enough to listen but without a need, the money, or the ability to decide or buy).
We need to find the decision maker or the “Radar O’Reilly” that tells the decision what to buy, when to buy it and how to make payments. Since we’re always selling and our universe is unlimited we must discern when they’re buying. Most importantly we need to know – IF they will buy or when they’ll buy.
Too many salespeople never make “the ask.” The great ones always do. If the prospect says YES, shake their hand, have them sign the app, and get the check. If they say NO, thank them and move on. If they say maybe – watch out. You may get caught in the Tyranny of the Maybe. Determine the reason for the uncertainty – address it directly, make the ask again and hopefully get a YES or thankfully get a NO – the MAYBES will waste your time, energy and future. Move on.
Mike Manes is the founder of Square One Consulting. Today he works with agents and agencies to facilitate mergers and acquisitions (issues of cultural compatibility), design and coordinate ventures between banks and agencies, develop niche market programs, build marketing networks, etc.
E-mail – email@example.com
Website - www.squareoneconsulting.com