Predicting the Future Through What Endures

There are no changes in sales that happen so abruptly that you can predict that they will occur in any specific year. Nothing happens in a single year either.

The major trends in sales take years to develop, and it is easy to believe that the trend line allows you to predict the future easily. But forecasting future events isn’t so simple, and those trend lines can switch direction over time. No one beats the world champion until one day the underdog knocks him (or her) out.

  • Inside sales is going to replace outside sales, they say.
  • Social selling is going to replace the telephone and other traditional prospecting methods.

What’s more interesting than making guesses about the future is looking at what doesn’t change, what persists over time.

  • Trust: In human relationships, trust rules. This has been the case for tens of thousands of years, and it will persist deep into the future. Putting forth the effort to develop character and engender trust is as important now as ever. The value of human relationships based on trust endures.
  • Resourcefulness: As soon as we humans solve some problem or overcome some challenge, we discover that we have created another problem, usually one more challenging than the one we just solved. Fortunately, resourcefulness is limitless, and the need for people to solve problems isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Fear: Fear has been around a lot longer than Homo sapiens. It lives deep inside of us, doing its very best to ensure our survival. People will always fear making mistakes and hurting themselves. Fear moves us away from pain, and it will still drive human behavior.
  • Leadership: Leaders take responsibility for moving groups of people towards a better future. The need for someone to step up and take accountability for delivering that future is unchanged. This is as true for families as it is for businesses and governments. The belief that things can and should be better persists.
  • Alchemy: The idea that lead can be turned into gold through some magical process has been with us since forever. It is still with us now. People have a strong desire to believe that they can have what they want without paying the price necessary to have it. Con artists, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen will always prey on people’s desire to believe in alchemy.

In the future, these things–and things like them–will persist, regardless of the trends.

There is no reason not to explore the trends. This year’s fashion might help you produce the results that you want. But the persistent truths persist for a reason. You are better to build your foundation on what has been true for millennia. Character and value beat the “new” new thing over time.

Worry about becoming the best version of yourself. Nothing else provides as sustainable competitive advantage or happiness.

Filed under: Sales 3.0

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