We live in unprecedented times and if you are a student of history, or perhaps eschatology, the human narrative is accelerating at a mind-boggling rate. We need wisdom as we navigate change and the unintended consequences of embracing technologies and dismantling borders. Every profession, including sales, is subject to disruption and many will lose careers they once thought to be safe.
Design thinking is an essential prerequisite in entrepreneurship and for creating 'Customer eXperience' (CX) that makes the buyer's life easier and the sales person essential. Clarity in the role we play and the value we deliver has never been more important for creating a prosperous future and a better world.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" Leonardo da Vinci (1492)
The enemy of simplicity is not big data. The Information Age is now being usurped by The Machine Age with Artificial Intelligence (AI) upon us – yes, the scary science fiction kind. The ‘web of things’ is linking cars, appliances, machines, assets and people. Wearable Bluetooth and mobility tracking are combining with beacons to create geo-context and proximity alerts via wireless networks and satellite communications that are ubiquitous. Big data is being leveraged for micro predictive analytics. Social media has already democratized the internet and cloud computing is enabling the most complex of capabilities for the smallest of enterprises. Meta-algorithms are creating their own priorities and financial systems have a level of interdependency that no-one truly understands.
It all seems to be creating an ever-consuming life of it’s own with real human interaction being pushed into the back seat. We have never had more access to information yet we drown in the data and suffer from digital distraction , drinking from the proverbial fire-hose, incapable of digesting all that is overwhelming us. We seek clarity amidst all the voices clamouring for our attention – there are a thousand channels to watch yet nothing is on.
Everyone seeking to influence others, especially those in sales, strives for cut-through. Sadly, many attempts result in cliched sound bites or sensationalist claims that try to play to our fears. But how do we represent the value we offer in way that resonates with our audience?
John Singleton is legend in Australia. He pioneered advertising in this market. Think Crocodile Dundee meets Mad Men. John Singleton knew that the more information you give people, the more they need to think about; and the more benefits you throw at people, the more difficult it is for them to see the one compelling reason to take action.
"My job is to simplify the complex and make the simple compelling" John Singleton (1980)
Every great musician, chef and designer knows a secret... Less is more. Entrepreneurs, marketers and sales people alike all need to adopt this ethos. What are the few compelling reasons to focus on? All the rest is mere support for the real message or conversation. We need to lead with why a conversation matters rather than with who we are, what we do and how we do it. No-one cares enough to take action until they have a compelling reason ('why?').
"Logic makes people think; emotion makes them act." Zig Ziglar (1986)
One-third of sales opportunities are lost to 'Do Nothing' which manifests as the status-quo / current state prevailing, or other projects having higher priority for funds and resources, or an incumbent supplier seeming to be less risk and effort. Change requires motivation yet bombarding people with facts does little. We must avoid confusing 'supporting information' with the primary message. Features and not necessarily benefits and proof of out claims do not equate to reasons to go ahead.
People are best motivated by reasons they themselves discover
We must help our potential customers discover why they should change state and why we represent best value and lowest risk through our insights and expertise.
- How will you simplify your message to achieve cut-through in why a conversation matters?
- How will you simplify buyer experience to differentiate in the way you sell rather with what you sell?
- How will you take the vast array of data and myriad technology and tools to create elegant simplicity for your team, partners and customers?
Those who embrace technology and design thinking to drive simplicity will prosper. Never stop asking why things are currently done the way they are and reimagine engagement and processes to improve your customer's experience, and your own efficiency and market reach through automation and innovation.
If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website: www.TonyHughes.com.au.
Main Image Photo by Flickr: Michael Heiss