Resourcefulness is a belief system. It is a state of mind. It is the ability to look at a problem, regardless of how difficult, and believe that it can be solved. When people talk about problem-solving skills, they are talking about resourcefulness.
Resourcefulness is the abandoning of limiting belief systems in exchange for more empowering ones.
When you are faced with a particular challenge, it is sometimes hard to believe that there is a solution, but there is. To adopt this belief system you have to know that more difficult challenges than the challenge that you are facing have been solved before, and that people who had far fewer resources available to them solved them.
Resourcefulness starts with eliminating the belief that you cannot achieve the outcome you desire and the abandonment of limiting language like “I can’t.” It requires replacing this language with better language and a better set of questions.
Ask yourself these questions and complete these statements:
What have others done to achieve the outcome I am trying to achieve?
What have they done that I haven’t done?
What allowed them to be effective?
I can accomplish this if I . . . (fill in the blank).
There is one question above all others with the power to unlock your creativity, your imagination, and your resourcefulness. That question is “What hasn’t been tried?” This question reveals the possibilities because, regardless of what your particular challenge is, there are countless ideas that haven’t been tried. Making a list of all of ideas you haven’t yet tried is a great starting point.
2. Don’t Focus on the Activity, Focus on the Outcome
It is too easy to focus on activity instead of the outcome. Resourcefulness is the ability to achieve the outcome; it isn’t necessarily the ability to achieve the outcome using the conventional methods, tools, tactics, or ideas. Here is a quick example.
Let’s say you need to acquire appointments with 10 new prospects. Maybe you struggle with cold calling, and you are having trouble using that particular method. The outcome is scheduling appointments, not cold calling. Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, ask yourself the key question from above: “What haven’t I tried?”
The same thing applies when advancing a sale with a prospect. If the deal stalls, ask yourself the same question: “What haven’t I tried?” Focus on advancing the sale, not on the conventional activity that you feel comfortable with.
Make sure you are working on the outcome and not the activity.
3. Identify the Outcomes and the Necessary Components
Resourcefulness is the ability to find a way to achieve some outcome or to make a new way. Sometimes finding a way is easier if you start by identifying the outcome you need to achieve, and then breaking that outcome down into the smaller, necessary components that make up the bigger outcome.
Sometimes the outcome seems too far away, too difficult. Break the outcome down into its smaller necessary components and to work on solving the smaller components. Ask yourself these questions:
What are the smaller outcomes that make up the bigger outcome I am trying to achieve?
How can I achieve these smaller outcomes?
4. Identify Alternatives That Might Accomplish the Same Outcome
Resourcefulness is about achieving the outcome, not about the method for doing so. This is why it requires creativity and imagination; it requires the hard work of thinking.
It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to achieve a difficult outcome using the conventional methods because we often have constraints that limit our ability to achieve the outcome. Most of the time, the constraints are the mental constraints that limit our thinking to the conventional, to what is known.
Instead of trying to achieve the outcome using conventional methods, brainstorm all of the ways that the outcome could be achieved using alternatives.
What other ways might this outcome be achieved?
How can I get the same result, without being constrained by the conventional methods and ideas?
5. Identify Other People Who Can Help
Too often we see obstacles as insurmountable because of our limited experience or our beliefs. Much of the time (always), there are other people with resources, including experience, ideas, creativity, and imagination, that can help achieve the outcome you desire.
Being resourceful doesn’t end with what you alone can accomplish. Being resourceful means using whatever tools, tactics, tricks, ideas, and methods are available to you—especially including other people.
Ask yourself these questions:
Who do I know who could help me with this?
Who do they know?
To succeed in sales today requires the ability to be resourceful. Advancing the sale with prospects and achieving the outcomes that you sell requires the imagination and the creativity to find a way or to make one.
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