Remember when you were a kid and took road trips with your parents? You set out on your journey, full of excitement. After what seemed like days (and actually was about half an hour) you asked for the first time: “Are we There yet?”
And so on and so forth for the duration of the trip, at half hour intervals, only to be interrupted by various forms of “car trip games:” find the alphabet in the license plate, find the state in the license plate, I’m thinking of a color, a number…You remember.
Eventually you got to your tactical Destination. You got “There.”
Then it was up to you, and your family, to make “There” worth your journey to that particular destination. “There” wasn’t going to entertain you all by itself. “There” required your full engagement, attention, participation.
Are you “There” yet in your business? Are you at your destination? Is your destination strategic or tactical?
For some folks, achieving their quarterly tactical business destination, their business “There,” is an end in itself. Except that each year has four quarters. There is another “There” after the preceding one.
We all are in the process of seeking continuous, strategic achievements. We are engaged in business for the long haul. Your tactical objectives add up to your strategic accomplishments, during the course of at least one calendar year. Your customers aren’t there to entertain you; rather, they require your full participation in their achieving own “There.”
Strategic vision isn’t as short-sighted as a calendar year. If you are prospecting and selling with a 12-month perspective, you may be offering what your customers consider to be tactical solutions.
- Consider whether the majority of your customers work on projects with 18-month or longer timelines.
- Consider whether the majority of your customers output is delivered to other suppliers whose own design, development, manufacturing and assembly will carry out that project another eighteen months into the future.
- Consider whether your strategic vision considers your customers’ length of order-to-cash cycle.
Business usually has a far longer runway than annual selling campaigns plan for. When you reach the end of this year’s campaign, your customers and prospects may not be anywhere near their own “There.”
If you wind down at the end of each calendar year’s sales campaign, you shortchange your account base. While you perceive the start of each new calendar year as a “fresh start”, your customers may perceive the start of the New Year as part of a process continuum that leads to an endpoint 15 months down that business runway.
- This week, think about how you are collaborating with your customers to get them to their “There.”
- Are there aspects of your solutions that might be more optimally aligned with your customers’ own project timelines?
By focusing on getting your customers’ “There”, everyone gets to the finish line together. Start by determining what “There” looks like, to them instead of you.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She is resolved to creating revenue-producing collaboration strategies with and for non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups.
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