Have you ever had one of those moments when you’ve been thinking about something but haven’t really given voice to it, but someone you’re talking to says EXACTLY what you’ve been thinking?
I’ve had a week full of those moments.
It was topped off by today (Friday) when someone I barely consider an acquaintance but who I respect tremendously, generously offered me some of her time to brainstorm the title to my next book.
Titles being critical to the success of a book, I eagerly took her up on it.
The book will be what’s referred to as a platform building book. It will explain the foundation of my philosophy and approach to the work I do with clients to strengthen their sales process.
At the core of the book is a model for explaining how buyers buy.
When you’re creating something like a process, model, or system it’s common to try to brand it and come up with clever language that makes it memorable to your audience.
I approach selling anything from the buyer’s perspective. It’s what lets me crawl inside their head and identify the pieces that are missing or that need to be enhanced in the seller’s process.
I wanted to call this model, the Buying Path, because it really is a route people travel…sometimes fast, sometimes slow…and sometimes they go off onto a side path, sometimes the get lost in the weeds.
I showed a drawing I had of it to someone and explained the whole thing.
He liked it and instantly saw how it definitely applies to buying (and selling) but he said “you’ve got to lose that ‘Path’ thing.”
He went on to explain how the concept of a path was too boring and slow when people want to sell quickly.
Of course, that’s part of my point about why sales is difficult – because the seller wants the sale to happen fast…often before the buyer is ready to buy. And there are more steps in the buying process than sellers want to acknowledge.
I also thought the whole concept of a “path” fit with my own personality.
I love to garden. My garden was once on the local garden tour and it was written up twice in our local paper. And I thought there were natural metaphors between gardening, growing, and the path people take to buy.
But I listened to him and started using HIS name for the model.
And it’s always bothered me.
I mean…it wasn’t ME.
And now that I’ve been an independent consultant for 7 or so years now I understand my Prime Suspects and best clients are a lot like me.
We’re Ambiverts and Introverts.
We’re not pushy people.
We care about our clients making the decision that’s right for THEM.
We believe that selling is not about taking, it’s about giving. It’s about helping.
We know that in not pressuring, pestering, or pushing a client, and by giving them the information, tools, and resources to make a decision they’ll take more steps but they’ll actually decide faster.
The point of all this is to demonstrate that, while we all need advice and we all need to work with an advisor, coach, mentor or someone to help us think through our issues and decisions as we grow our business, we can’t be something we’re not.
So here are 5 tips when looking for advice. And this is hard because sometimes you really do need to hear and accept that your idea isn’t really very good. So like all advice…take mine with a grain of salt.
- Why are you asking this particular person? Are they an expert in this subject? Have they achieved something you want to achieve and have they done it in a way you feel good about?
- What is that you want from them? Do you want them to tell you what to do, help you talk through options, play Devil’s Advocate, or what?
- Are you invested in this relationship and are they invested in it? Yes, that means are you paying them. If you’re paying them, then it’s likely they’re going to take the time to fully understand you, the situation, and the implications of what needs to be decided. If you’re just talking over coffee then don’t expect a very deep analysis.
- Have others told you the same or similar things? If every single person you ask is telling you you’re making a mistake then maybe you need to start wondering what’s making them say that and could they possibly be on to something? Now of course we all know there are legendary people in every area of life who people said would never succeed who then did. From writers like Stephen King and JK Rowlings to Abe Lincoln, Mark Cuban, and the Beatles. Part of being an entrepreneur is believing in your dreams, knowing you’re on your purpose, and doing whatever it takes to make it happen. (I’m writing this at 10:51pm on a Friday night while my husband is in bed because I’m committed to finishing a writing challenge I read about online. I’m committed to building a strong web presence as a way to grow my business. #YourTurnChallenge)
- Be your own guru. Getting advice and even training from others doesn’t mean that you just blindly follow their direction (like I did). I’ve come to understand that what it means is to continue to develop yourself as you work on that dream. Listen to and watch for what your heart – and the Universe – is telling you. The greatest ability you can develop is the power to trust yourself.
And I’m changing the name of my model to the Buying Path.