Or are you answering today’s business questions with yesterday’s spiel?
That’s a sure-fire way for everyone to remain stuck in the attitudes, habits and processes of the past.
You have business time travel syndrome.
That means you and your customers aren’t in the same place in space and time. When that’s the case, you both will never be on the same page to do business.
What are the root causes for business time travel syndrome?
- Relying on the same stale marketing and sales spiel you used yesterday to respond to your customers’ questions today.
- Throwing out-of-the-box IT and engineering solutions at a problem that resembles a solution you provided for someone else – except your solution yields a completely different outcome.
- Responding to requests for proposal or quote instead of conducting sufficient due diligence to determine the buyer’s context.
I don’t know about you, but over the past four years transacting business feels like a daily, game time decision. It’s my growing awareness of business time traveler syndrome and my developing professional habits to auto-correct.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not winging it, or making it up as I go along. I’ve got my core capabilities and core personal values moving at warp speed, consistently. I do my primary and secondary research. I vet myself, my customers, my colleagues. I weigh the factors. That’s my basis of operations.
It’s just that business doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Stuff happens in between the last time I spoke with customers and right now. Have you noticed the same thing?
That’s why every customer requires my full attention, every time I communicate with them. So that I can make sure we are both “here” and “right now.”
My customers’ contexts change, relative to the economy, changes in regulations and finance, raw material availability, personnel coming and going and screwing things up in the process, personal events keeping them off their game. Stuff happens.
- If you are busy spieling your company’s latest marcom messaging or sales strategy at customers, you aren’t doing an effective job establishing their current context: are they “here” or are they “there”?
- If you are busy throwing the same old / same old construction, engineering or IT solution at a customer, you miss the opportunity to create an enduring outcome which impacts the sustainability of both your businesses.
My customers expect me to take their pulse, each and every time. They anticipate I will take all of their updated information into consideration before we collaborate, develop a strategy and identify various pathways for them to take.
That means I’ve taken the time to determine where they are: “here” or “there.”
That means my primary function is to pull everyone out of business time traveler syndrome.
Here are 4 tips for figuring out whether your customers are “here” or “there.” Then recalibrate and realign.
1) Determine where your own business head resides today. Are you dwelling on yesterday’s news (“there”) or are you in the moment (“here”)?
2) What factors will impact business, education, technology and entertainment today that wasn’t even written in the stars yesterday?
3) Where are your customers’ heads? Are they still stuck in processes and practices and data that got them to where they are today but won’t create a trajectory to where they need to go tomorrow?
4) Which customers will be most profoundly impacted by business time travel syndrome?
OK. I hear you. You feel as though you are trying to hit a constantly moving target each day. (Sounds a bit like Baysian inference applied to business context?)
You are on to something.
In order to produce today’s business, technical, engineering, entertainment and education outcomes, you must recalibrate daily. Align what worked yesterday (“there”) with new information that greets you each day and every day thereafter (“here”). Apply appropriate and relevant tools.
Move everyone towards the finish line, together.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn and is reproduced with this author’s permission.
Babette Ten Haken is Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. She catalyzes action for business transition, startup growth and professional development. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business, focuses on collaborative value creation strategies.