This Is No Time to Shrink

This is no time to shrink. It isn’t time for you to allow yourself to get small. Even though the world has been on fire for months and it’s been difficult to do meaningful and purposeful work, it’s time to get back to normal.

How could I forget the many voices who loudly and proudly proclaim that you are required to accept a “new normal,” one less than the old normal? These are the beliefs of the pessimist, and even though the pessimist serves the important role of reminding us what we value, we are always building a better world on top of a catastrophe. We have never accepted something less than what came before, and we will not fail all of those who have come before by allowing this to be the first time we quit on ourselves.

Throughout this period, one that will come to an end, you may have found yourself lacking a sense of direction. It can be difficult to decide what to do during a crisis, especially one of this magnitude. Your company may or may not have been open. You may have been forced to work from home, and many of the B2B sales clients you serve may not have been available or had any interest in speaking with you, making it difficult for you to produce the outcomes you would have ordinarily.

When additional effort doesn’t result in any better or different result, you may have reduced your effort and the time you spend working. Now your effort is more important than ever. It’s time to reawaken, reimagine, and reemerge.

The first part of this crisis required scientists and medical professionals, all of whom have—and are still—putting themselves in harm’s way to do what only they can do. The second part of this crisis isn’t something that politicians, scientists, and medical professions can address. It’s something that belongs to those of us who work in the many and various businesses that make up our economy.

The Chinese character for chaos means “danger” and “incipient moment,” sometimes interpreted as “opportunity,” although it might also suggest something like “inflection point.”

Start with Territory and Accounts

You need to take a look at your territory and accounts plan to determine where you need to spend time now. Some of your clients are going to be aggressively working to right their business by taking care of their clients or customers. They are going to need help recovering their business and reemerging from this crisis. Others are going to need more time before they can begin to rebuild, but that shouldn’t stop you from helping them imagine what that future is going to look like and what kind of help they might need.

You need to develop a plan to communicate with the contacts inside your client companies, as well as the prospects in your territory. Don’t worry if it’s too soon. Instead, act as if you are late, something that is more likely true, and a decision that won’t harm you or your clients.

Develop New Insights and Ideas

The insights that were useful for you in the past may no longer be adequate. The challenges you have helped your clients with in the past may have been replaced by new problems, ones that neither you or your clients have even been required to solve. You will have a very difficult time with an insight-based selling approach if you are not talking to your clients and prospects and if you are not reading widely and using your resourcefulness to come up with solutions.

You may need to start over with new trend analyses, a new set of primary challenges your clients need to address, and a new case for doing things differently. Getting a smart group of people together to share what you are learning from your clients and prospects can help you identify the common challenges and how you can help your clients.

Take Massive Action

One of the decisions we made was to turn off the United States economy to limit the loss of life. You may have a strong opinion about that decision one way or another, and you are entitled to your opinion. Your opinion, however, doesn’t change the reality of the situation, nor does it change what is necessary. The present moment demands massive action.

You are going to need to make more calls than you have been making. You need more meetings, even if they are by phone or video conference. You need to have more conversations with your contacts. Even if you are in front of them by weeks or months, sharing ideas, they will need more time to execute. You are going to have to create opportunities for your clients and prospects.

Restarting the economy is going to be a long, hard slog. It is going to be much harder and take much longer if we don’t get back to our normal, prospecting, scheduling meetings, sharing ideas and initiatives with our clients, creating new opportunities, and helping recover our clients’ businesses. The fastest—and only—way to recover your business is helping your clients reemerge.

A crisis is never time to shrink. When things go sideways, you cannot allow yourself to get smaller. If in the past, you called yourself a trusted advisor, or if you aspire to have your clients treat you like one, now is the time for you to step up and make a difference.

The only way to put this crisis behind us is to move it from the forefront and start putting it behind us by putting things right as fast is as humanly possible.

Filed under: Mindset

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